Leticia loves looking at Lenny while they lunch in the library lounge over little bowls of lettuce. She thinks starting with the Iceberg lettuce will help break the ice. Her friend, Rose, recommends she follow up with a robust salad laden with Romaine lettuce to get the romance rolling. Alternatively, she could offer a plate of spicy arugula as Lenny is anything but a “regulah” guy. To match Lenny’s Boston accent, Leticia finds she has to offer a bolder fare. Let us hope that endive makes the perfect ending to their growing love for each other.
(3rd of a mini-series of taking poetic license)
At first it was the land and the sea
That separated you and me
Before we could be just us.
Then your hours got shorter,
And Skype made it a little better
Before we could be just us.
Hard to believe you are here with me,
But can you turn off the TV?
Before we can be just us.
So we can be full frontal
And finally we can be just us.
Their chemistry was right
At least at first sight,
For months they were tight
Then came the big fight.
Both their hearts took a bite
From each other they took flight,
Then after nearly a fortnight
They agreed to reunite.
But things don’t always crystallize
They soon realize,
When there’s no more to analyze,
Or a desire to compromise.
Part 3 of 3, see Part 2
Ron surveyed the unit, satisfied his studio apartment looked tidy. He ran to the daybed to make sure he put in new sheets. This might just be the night. A light tap on the front door prompted him to straighten his shirt and greet his guest.
“You look great.” Ron swallowed, as he noticed the top two buttons of Ronnie’s blouse were undone, allowing a glimpse of cleavage.
He took her hand and led her inside. “I thought we could have our dinner first and then relax over there on the couch.” He gestured for her to sit. “Here, please.” He pulled out a folding chair from the makeshift table, made up of two TV trays facing each other.
“Pretty candles.” Ronnie commented on the centerpiece.
Ron thanked her, glad he decided to buy the two red votive candles instead of settling for his little electric lantern, seeing that the dancing flames looked more romantic than a LED.
He took out the meatloaf and mashed potatoes from the oven, relieved he had gotten to the grocery store on time before they ran out of dinner entrées. “I hope you like it.” He placed the food on the table and sat across from her.
“Thank you for making dinner. You’re quite the cook.” She beamed at him.
“I admit I’m a man of a few hidden talents.” Ron hemmed and hawed, as he bit into the meatloaf and found it to be dry. “Oops, forgot the music.” He got up and turned on the radio to a station that played instrumental music.
They ate mostly in silence, smiling at each other between bites. After they finished, Ron served cupcakes, which they quickly consumed. Almost bounding out of his chair, he guided her to the sofa.
“I’d like to read to you a poem I’ve been working on all week.” He took out an index card from his shirt pocket. Clearing his throat, he read:
“Roses are red, violets are blue,
Every day and every night, I think of you.
You opened the door to my heart,
Which I gladly give to you in a cart.
One slam is all it takes to make me say bye.
Then I cry because I’m a sensitive guy.”
Ronnie sighed and wiped an eye. “That is the most beautiful poem anyone has ever written for me.” Ronnie cupped his face and kissed him on the lips. “I adore your face, Ron.” They both held each other’s eyes. She started unbuttoning her blouse.
He placed his hand on her arm, interrupting her reveal. “Ronnie, I have something to tell you about me.”
She looked at him expectantly.
“I . . . I . . . ahem . . . I’ve never done it. I’ve never met anyone who liked me enough to . . . “
Ron felt Ronnie take his chin so he was forced to look her in the eyes. She smiled at him and said:
“Daisies are yellow, carnations are pink,
Let me tell you what I think,
You bring out the poetry in me
Flowing so naturally.
I see it as a sign
For you and me to entwine. “
Though they fumbled at first, Ron finally had his cherry burst.
With a flourish, Cupid bows after recounting his latest accomplishment to his rapt audience. “Thank you, all, for your loving attention. I’m overjoyed to see yet another match come together so well.”
[To read the beginning: see Part 1]
Part 2 of 3; see Part 1
Ron couldn’t believe how long he’d been seeing Ronnie. Three weeks, two days, one hour, and 45 seconds, as he looked at the time change on his smartphone, the screen looking good as new. He had never had a real girlfriend to speak of so he wasn’t sure what stage he’s in now that it appears to be continuing.
After pondering this a bit, he determined he’s in the “door phase,” which means to him he has yet to get past the door after taking her back to her place. At least he’s not getting it slammed in his face. That’s progress. Another forward move is that she seems to have gotten over her ex, although he wasn’t quite sure in what way he was an ex. He thought about their date last night.
“I’m so happy we ran into each other,” said Ronnie as she looked deeply into Ron’s eyes. Then they both burst out laughing because that was exactly how they met.
Now settled down and seated with Ronnie at his favorite Italian restaurant, Ron said, “I don’t know if this is too soon to ask, but I often wonder if you’re still thinking about your ex-boyfriend.”
“Oh, he’s just an ex, but I don’t know if I would call him my boyfriend. We dated only a couple of times and then he would text me. But, he never asked me out again. He just kept texting almost every day, letting me know about his day and saying we should get together again. And then, that day the two of us met in the park, he simply said he wasn’t interested in me anymore. I don’t know now why I cried so hard. I guess I was afraid I’d never meet anyone again.”
“I was thinking the very same thing, actually. It was fate that brought us together. To be honest with you, I’ve never been with a woman this long.” Ron’s revelation made him think about his secret.
Ronnie gasped and replied, “First of all, I always thought that since we have almost the same nicknames, I felt we were meant to meet and . . . I also have never been with anyone this long.”
Suddenly overcome with emotion, Ron said, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m so glad I got to know you.”
“How sweet . . .”
“I’ve never felt moved to write a poem before until I met you . . . my moose, you inspire me.”
“Uh, I think it’s pronounced muse,” she whispered.
“Oh, all this time I thought it . . . no wonder it seemed kind of odd. Anyway, this is so new to me, writing poems and all that’s involved with it.” Ronnie smiled.
As they both held hands and savored the moment, their server suddenly appeared and presented the check. The distraction ruined the mood and Ron soon took her home shortly after paying for a dinner that set him back nearly half a paycheck. But he felt it was about time to spring for a good meal. Going out to coffee shops didn’t give them enough time to talk as much as they did during dinner. He almost confided in her, but perhaps he can wait until Valentine’s Day that’s coming up soon.
Part 1 of 3
“. . . damn . . .” Ronald “Ron” Vermont stroked his nose and walked away from the unwelcome response to what he thought was a romantic overture.
Ron felt like he would never find anyone again. For the last year, he’d been facing closed doors when it came to finding someone to date. Now, it had become literal. What was wrong with him? Sure, he was no Brad Pitt, but he was neither over or underweight. He brushed his teeth and bathed regularly. He still had his hair and his car didn’t spew black smoke. WTF.
With the afternoon sun still shining, he decided to walk through the Commons to people watch if nothing else. As he strolled the winding path, his smartphone buzzed. “Sounds like the text tone,” he thought, so he looked down to see if maybe the dating app he had signed up for had generated interest. He looked to see who texted him.
“Crap!” Suddenly Ron had run into another person. Both dropped their smartphones simultaneously, and as both bent down to pick them up, they hit their heads together.
“I’m seeing stars now,” Ron said as he tried to adjust his vision to see who he butted heads with.
“I’m so sorry, I was looking down at my phone . . .” The woman then realized that he must have been too.
Ron noticed the cracked screen on his $600 iPhone, and heard cursing from the woman, who must also have experienced some damage.
“The hazards of not paying attention when walking in public, right?” The woman said, as she showed him the cracked screen on her device.
“This is the first time this has ever happened to me. I’m usually good at avoiding phone crashes. I just had a lot on my mind.” Ron apologized.
“The funny thing is I hate it when people text and walk at the same time. I got caught up with the message because I just got dumped.” She started crying.
Ron looked around, unsure what to do, but seeing that she was attractive even with mucus bubbling under her nose, he tried to comfort her. “Hey, listen, why don’t we get our screens fixed and go get a cup of coffee or tea. My friend had his screen busted and he told me where it can be fixed right. It’s not too far from here.”
“I don’t even know you. What if you’re a serial killer?” She started crying again.
Ron introduced himself and told her where he worked and lived. He even shared his distaste for horror movies and violent video games. “I couldn’t kill a spider even if you put it in front of me,” he concluded.
“We have almost the same names. My friends call me Ronnie, short for Veronica.” Ronnie’s crying subsided, replaced with hiccups. “I guess we can walk together to get our phones fixed. . . Thanks for assuring me you’re not a slasher.” They both laughed and started to walk toward the shop to get their repairs.
After they dropped off their phones, they walked to a coffee shop to wait. As each ordered tea, they found they had quite a lot in common. Ron found he liked her enough to worry about his secret. . .
A Series of Ludicrously Bad Hair Days, Day 3; see Day 2
[Poetry mashed with a short story]
Rebecca, who is known in their circle as Thin Hair, and Harry, who we know is False Hairy, find a coffee shop near the place of group therapy. They eye each other hungrily, as they feel the heat emanate from their respective chemistries.
“False Hairy, I hope you won’t think me forward, but as an older woman, I tend to get straight to the point. You make my heart beat as I gaze at your face so sweet.”
[Story told with Song Titles from the ’70s top hits]
Freddy adjusts his hospital bed so he can recline. Seventy years old and ailing with sarcoma, his only comfort are the memories of when he first met the love of his life. He closes his eyes to recall those times . . .
Over 40 years ago . . .
“Ooh, Candy Man.” Freddy stares at the muscle man centerfold.
No one is around the apartment courtyard to pay attention to him leafing through Billy’s Bi-Cycle World, an underground magazine his former partner used to bring home. Now no one is bringing home anything to him because He’s Alone Again (Naturally). He hasn’t had anyone stay long enough with him through the Seasons in the Sun. He suspects it’s because he dresses like a Rhinestone Cowboy. An eternal optimist, Freddy decides to Get Down Tonight and drop by the club Convoy, where he can be himself as a Dancing Queen.
Tucked in MacArthur Park, the bar looks unassuming from the outside. In contrast, the inside is Hot Stuff, with a strobe light dominating the ceiling and glittering the burgundy and black plush interior. Freddy glides over to the bar.
“Knock on Wood.” Freddy raps his knuckles on the oaken counter, as he hails his favorite bartender, Tony. Tony waves at Freddy from the end of the counter, calling out, “I’ll Be There.”
Freddy gives him a thumbs up and swivels his chair to the other side to check out the crowd. He sees the regulars and winks at one or two he’s had trysts with. He feels a tap on his shoulder. Someone whispers in his ear, “(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty.”
Recognizing the voice, Freddy laughs as he turns around. “If it ain’t the New Kid in Town. Hey, Daniel, what . . . .” His voice trails as he’s Blinded by the Light that appears to outline the Adonis that stands next to Dan, his friend.
“Freddy, meet Michel. He’s moving here from New York and looking for a place to stay. Since I still live with my parents who aren’t quite open to . . . you know . . .”
“For sure, I Can Help.” Freddy extends his hand to shake Michel’s. “With a Little Luck, we’ll find you a Hotel California.” Freddy squeezes Michel’s hand and adds, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.” Freddy turns to Dan and says, “You mind?”
“Go right ahead. I’m looking for my Brown Sugar.” Dan goes toward a large group that swallows him.
Just before Freddy and Michel head to the dance floor, Tony comes up to them from behind the counter, “Freddy, you want your usual?” Freddy looks questioningly at Michel, who says, “I’ll have a Manhattan.”
“Ooh, make that two.”
As Tony makes their drinks, Freddy and Michel sit at the bar, facing each other, knee-to-knee.
“I want to Make it with You,” Freddy says to Michel.
“Let’s Get it On.”
Soon after they get their drinks, they swig them and hurry over to Freddy’s place, where they do Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and pretend to do some Kung Fu Fighting. As they reach the peak of their high, Freddy starts to strip dance and says to Michel, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
“That’s the Way (I Like It).”
After that fateful evening, Freddy and Michel became inseparable. Although they had their fair share of War with each other, they always hopped back on the Love Train. Once, Michel left and took a Midnight Train to Georgia. It was a sad period of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover for Freddy. But, Michel came back The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia. On their 10th anniversary of being together, Michel found out he had AIDS. Freddy went through a Love Rollercoaster, but Michel said to him, “Don’t Leave Me this Way, When I Need You. Don’t Give Up on Us.” When he buried Michel, Freddy knew then that his heart would always have a void no one can fill. It felt like The Night Chicago Died.
His thought of Michel at peace brings him back to his present condition. He will soon be Reunited with him. It won’t be long now. He imagines Michel saying, “Too Much Heaven, but I’ll Take You There.” Freddy feels his eyes misting and thinks The Tears of a Clown. As his consciousness starts drifting, his last thought is being with Michel again and saying to him, “Looks Like We Made It.”
Song titles in the order they appear
Candy Man – Sammy Davis Jr.
Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan
Seasons in the Sun – Terry Jacks
Rhinestone Cowboy – Glen Campbell
Get Down Tonight – KC and the Sunshine Band
Convoy – C.W. McCall
Dancing Queen – Abba
MacArthur Park – Donna Summer
Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
Knock on Wood – Amii Stewart
I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty – KC and the Sunshine Band
New Kid in Town – Eagles
Daniel – Elton John
Blinded by the Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
I Can Help – Billy Swan
With a Little Luck – Wings
Hotel California – Eagles
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing – Leo Sayer
Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones
Make it with You – Bread
Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye
Sky with Diamonds – Elton John
Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet – Bachman-Turner Overdrive
That’s the Way (I Like It) – KC and the Sunshine Band
War – Edwin Starr
Love Train – The O’Jays
Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & the Pips
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – Vicki Lawrence
Love Rollercoaster – Ohio Players
Don’t Leave Me this Way – Thelma Houston
When I Need You – Leo Sayer
Don’t Give Up on Us – David Soul
The Night Chicago Died – Paper Lace
Reunited – Peaches & Herb
Too Much Heaven – Bee Gees
I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers
The Tears of a Clown – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Looks Like We Made It – Barry Manilow
Rose petals strewn on the ground
Candlelit wild love
Between love and lust
Like drifting on the ocean
He’s lost without her.