"Sunny, are you going to the dance tonight?" The voice was a little louder than it needed to be. The caller often spoke that way during telephone conversations, because she wore hearing aids and turned them off, or removed them, for her telephone calls.
"Oh Polly, I don't know." Sunny took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. "It has not been a good day for me. I spent half the afternoon at the Social Security office. Mandatory retirement stinks."
"You need to go to the dance tonight," Polly announced, almost as if it was a command, and then lowered her voice before adding, "I talked to Jim earlier, he said Bob is back in town." Polly's pride at knowing, and passing on, a juicy tidbit of gossip did not escape her friend's attention.
Instead of showing elation, as she knew Polly expected, Sunny did not seem interested. "Well, then I think I'll stay home."
"What? Sunny! Jim said Bob was specific about asking if he thought you would be there." Suddenly recalling Jim told her not to say anything, Polly adds, "Actually, he asked Jim how many of the women he used to see at the dances were still coming regularly."
"Polly, I hate to say this, but Bob is not the kind of man I want in my life. In fact, I'm not sure I need a man at all." Sunny clamped her mouth shut, and said a silent prayer that her remark escaped Polly's immediate attention. Despite how much she enjoyed her conversations with Polly, Sunny knew her friend was a gossip who often called another friend to pass along information she believed was too delicious not to share.
"Oh darn," Polly exclaimed, "I've got call waiting on this phone. Someone's trying to call. I need to go. I'll call you later."
Happy to escape the conversation with Polly, Sunny returned to the cooling dishwater to finish her early supper dishes only to have the phone ring for the second time.
Polly immediately started speaking without waiting for a greeting, "Jim's on his way to pick me up. We're coming to get you in twenty minutes. Wear that new silk dress. Gotta go, bye."
Sunny grumbled to herself, but it was only half-hearted, because she was soon smiling. She really would like a reason to get out more often. Her date of mandatory retirement was swiftly approaching. Other than regular housework and a few outside chores she would like something to occupy her time. Perhaps she could find some volunteer opportunities. Being sixty-five does not mean you have to stop being active.
She stripped off the t-shirt and sweat pants she changed into when she got home, pulled the new silk dress on, and started buttoning it. Looking in the mirror, she realized the top of her bra showed and so pulled the dress off. After removing her bra, she donned the dress back on, closing the buttons from top to hem. She then slipped her feet into comfortable low heel shoes without bothering to wear stockings. The community room where the senior's dances were held didn't have good lighting and it wouldn't matter that her legs were bare.
Finally, she combed her hair and applied a fresh coat of lipstick, but didn't refresh her makeup. Many of the women, who attended the regular Tuesday evening senior's dance, wore very little makeup. However, she sprayed a little cologne into the air and walked through the falling mist on her way to front door. She just barely had time to grab a little cash, a credit card, her driver's license, and house key, stuffing them in her pocket as she walked out the front door when Polly's boyfriend, Jim Preston, tooted his car horn.
Meanwhile, in the same minutes Polly Jacobs was commanding that Sunny go to the regular Tuesday evening senior's dance, Gerald Burris was doing much the same to his younger brother, Hale. However Gerald's visit was done in person. Gerald complained that Hale should not have retired and then gone back to work half-days. Yes, he was earning more as a consultant than he did as an employee and he did get to keep his retirement pay, too. Unfortunately, Hale's half days at work interfered with Gerald's need for a fishing partner.
"Dammit, Hale. Come on. I figured the only way I'd get you off your ass was to come get you. Put your coat on and let's go."
"Okay, I'll go," Hale agreed, although he had initially declined. "But let me change shoes. These rubber soles aren't very good for dancing."
Gerald turned to walk out the door of his brother's house. "I'll meet you there. I'm taking my car. I might get lucky tonight."
Hale chuckled as he walked toward his bedroom, knowing his brother's luck. Gerald said he usually found a woman to take home halfway into the night of the dance. He occasionally made it all the way inside her house. A few of those times, he bragged, he spent the night in her bed.
Hale was a few minutes behind his brother as he walked into the community room of one of the local city parks, noticing that in one small corner of the room four older men were setting up guitars, keyboard, and a simple set of drums. He had forgotten that Gerald said the first Tuesday of the month often had a live band. For the remaining dances throughout the month, a local radio station DJ played music the seniors enjoyed dancing to, which included, mainly, country and western. Some of the music was quite old, but had a good beat.
Hale introduced himself to the two couples on the opposite side of the long table. Before he could sit down, Gerald returned with a beer in each hand, giving one to Hale. "Here, next round is on you."
As he removed his coat and put it on the back of his chair, Hale's attention was drawn to the entrance. Two women and a man, who was almost completely bald, walked in the door. He watched the shorter blonde woman, as she laughed at something the man said. Behind the couple was a taller woman, laughing as she caught her skirt when a gust of wind blew through the door, lifting the light material, showing half of her thighs. Hale's breath caught in his throat so suddenly he coughed.
"Damn." Hale muttered under his breath. He watched, almost spellbound, the soft material with the swirl of blue, green and gold colors, clung to her body as she walked into the large room. Her full, but not large, breasts were cupped by the detail of the dress. They rose as she raised her fingers to comb through her short salt and pepper hair, brushing the windblown strands away from her face. In a heart stopping moment, the woman looked across the room straight into Hale's eyes and smiled.
Hale heard one of the women across from him announce, "Oh my, there's Sunny. I'm glad Polly convinced her to come tonight. I'll bet Bob is the first man to dance with her."
The other woman at the table added her own comment. "Bob may get to dance with her, but I'll bet you, she still won't let him take her home and I wouldn't blame her."
"Be nice, Patsy," the first woman complained.
"Nice has nothing to do with it, Marie" the second speaker scoffed. "Bob's fickle for chasing after Janie and too dumb to know what's good for him. Sunny's twice the woman Janie will ever be. Janie filed for a divorce before their first anniversary."
"No she didn't. Bob filed," Marie seemed to know what she was talking about. "He told me he wasn't going to let her come back down here to live and leave him with that big house on the lake. So, he came back down here, too."
As the two women traded gossip, Hale looked at his brother and mouthed, "Sunny?"
Gerald nodded and leaned over to whisper, "Sunshine Benson; used to be Sunshine Thomas, Herb Thomas's widow. She married Bert Benson after his wife put him in a nursing home, and then took him to the cleaners, or so his son said. Sunny stayed with Bert until he died about a year ago. I heard they were cousins, in-laws, or something."
Hale knew there had to be more to the story than that, but he wasn't really interested right now. Rather, he was more interested in the woman. As he listened to his brother answer his questions about the two people with Sunny, he watched as the couple and Sunny moved to a table across the room where two other couples and another woman were sitting. They all got up and hugged Sunny, then hugged the blonde and shook hands with the man. All of them were chatting and being friendly. Another couple from the next table caught Sunny's attention before she could sit down and she moved to their table to give each of them a hug, or a handshake, too. She talked for a few minutes, throwing her head back to laugh at something one of them said.
Before taking his seat at the table, Jim Preston turned toward the concession stand but came back when Sunny called him. She had some paper money, which she was trying to put in his hand. At first he refused the money but finally took it and returned a few minutes with three beers. Polly tapped Sunny on the shoulder and pointed across the room. Sunny and Polly both waved at Patsy and her date, who returned their greetings with energetic waves of their own. Sunny looked at the other people around the table and lifted her chin slightly when Hale raised his beer and nodded at her. She blushed, and then smiled, nodding her head at him.
Slightly embarrassed from the attention of the good looking man across the room, Sunny turned to ask Polly, "Who is that man sitting beside Gerald Burris?"
A moment later Hale saw that the woman sitting beside Sunny was looking at him. Polly turned back to Sunny, obviously answering Sunny's question about everyone at Hale's table. For the entire time he was being examined, Hale did not look away from Sunny, nor did she take her eyes off him.
.... There is more of this story ...