Chapter 19: Worthy of Trust
“He’s gone,” is Sandy’s first thought upon awakening. Dwayne kissed her this morning, sweetly and softly, and then simply said good-bye and walked away. The soul she had loved in another lifetime, she thought, as she watched him walk away. Maybe, in this lifetime, we just needed one last farewell kiss. This soulmate, now that she has met him, is gone from her sleeping hours as well. There will be no more poems or songs. She feels an emptiness unlike any she has felt before. She is profoundly sad. She almost wishes she had never met him so he could continue to come to her in his sleep, but that is so selfish. She thinks about what a kind and caring man he is. She hopes he finds some love in this lifetime. As for her…well, she has never needed romantic love, has she?
Then, why is she so sad? She thinks about seeing him on stage tonight. She thinks about canceling her date before realizing that she has never heard him sing. She should, at least, hear him sing. She doesn’t feel like getting out of bed. She just wants to roll over and cover her head with a blanket.
Sandy hears Isadora and Juanita’s voices. She looks at the clock. 11:30 am already. She realizes that the voices coming from the living room are raised in disagreement and she drags herself out of bed to investigate.
Juanita: Our fifteen year old daughters are dating adult men.
Sandy: The boys from yesterday?
Juanita: They have been on the phone texting and tweeting all night and again this morning. Do you know those boys are following some country band around?
Sandy: The Lonely Players?
Juanita: How do you know?
Sandy: I have a date to go see them tonight.
Juanita (raising her eyebrows): Well that’s a discussion for another time. These boys have been hired temporarily to help with the set-up tonight because it’s a bigger concert than usual. They want the girls to come watch rehearsals.
Isadora: It’s right here just a few blocks away and it’s sold out for tonight so we can’t go to the show. We just want to go see the band rehearse.
Juanita: Sandy, the one Carmen has been talking to is twenty years old. I cannot let her go without a chaperone, but I don’t have a sitter for the younger kids.
Sandy: What time is rehearsal?
Sandy: I can take them. I’m off today. Bring Carmen over here and we can walk from here and the girls can hang out the rest of the afternoon and evening. Carmen can spend the night here. Don’t worry – they will be ok. I met these boys. It’s ok.
After Juanita leaves, Sandy tells Isadora they have to talk. She sits across from her daughter. Sandy looks at Isadora’s hair which reminds her so much of Isadora’s father. She grabs her own long hair in a tail by the right hand and tries to tame it with her left. Isadora is in jeans and a plain white shirt. She is not wearing make-up. She looks much younger than she did the day before. Sandy thinks about how some times she can look and act so old and other times so young.
Sandy: How interested is Carmen in this 20 year old man?
Isadora: Fred? Not so much. I really like Frank. He’s only 18.
Sandy: We will talk about you in a minute.
Isadora: She isn’t into Fred very much at all. She has a huge crush on the singer in the band, but he is way old. Really good looking, though, but you know how you sometimes just get a crush on a singer or movie star. He is movie star handsome. She has watched his online video like a zillion times. She just wants to meet him.
Sandy: Of course, she has a crush on the singer.
Isadora: He sings this really romantic song about the first time…well, you know, and we’ve talked about how we should wait until it’s with someone that special, but if you saw him, you would know why she wants to meet him.
Sandy: She’s not going to flash him her breasts?
Isadora: Mom…why would you even say that?
Sandy: Let’s talk about you and Frank.
Isadora (Interrupting Sandy attempting to reassure her) I know he is eighteen and I’m fifteen and he could get into all kinds of trouble. We talked about it on the phone last night and he is willing to wait until I’m older, but I want to spend as much time together as I can. He leaves tomorrow.
Sandy: (Alarmed instead of reassured) You’ve known him 24 hours. You already had a conversation about sex?
Isadora: Just because of his age. I know we haven’t known each other long and we’re young, but how do I know he’s not the one? Wouldn’t it be sad if I met my soul mate and let him go because I was too young? You know when I’m eighteen, he will be 21. Then the age won’t matter. How do I know if he’s the one if I don’t at least try to get to know him better?
Isadora: I know it sounds crazy, but it seems so right. Just like that song- it feels comfortable, as if we’ve lived before. Besides, isn’t it better for me to be with him when we can’t do anything, then a guy my age when we could?
Sandy: I need to make sure you understand some things. It is always ok for a girl to say no-even if there has been some heavy petting, even if she has been drinking, or the guy is really aroused or she said yes and is changing her mind- a girl can always say no.
Isadora nods. Her eyes are wide. She appears at this moment much younger to Sandy than fifteen. Isadora knows it is her mom’s honest, straight forward approach that has given her knowledge and self-confidence beyond her years. She is so lucky to have the Mom she has. This is one of those talks. Isadora tells herself that, if her mother is willing to treat her as a mature young woman, she had better listen and take her advice seriously.
Sandy: It’s also true that when a guy gets aroused, it can be difficult for him to cool it down. You mentioned feeling “It” when you and Frank danced, so if you were kissing or petting, imagine how aroused he can become, if he can become that aroused by dancing. Girls can turn it off easier. A girl can always say no- doesn’t matter how aroused a boy is, but it is sometimes up to the girl to slow it down before it goes too far. Especially, if she really cares about the guy. Even if he says he will wait, in the moment, you both could get carried away and, in his case, it’s a crime, so even kissing becomes a risk because, baby, sometimes it’s hard to stop in the moment. You will need to be really careful it just doesn’t go anywhere close to that far.
Isadora reaches out and hugs her mother. Sandy holds onto Isadora tightly. Isadora is so young and, yet, in a blink of an eye, she will be 18. Sandy wishes she could slow down time. Instead as they break their embrace, Isadora’s expression is serious and mature.
Isadora: Mom, I asked Juanita to tell me what she knew about my father.
I know you didn’t want to talk to me about it. The thing is, there’s a girl in my school, and her father is just a sperm donor. Her mother never met him. It was, you know, done in a doctor’s office. There’s this other guy whose mothers are lesbians and he says he knows the sperm donor. He’s a friend, but not a dad. I think it’s different in my day than yours. It can sometimes be more complicated biologically, but in some ways the emotional part is easier because it’s about who is in your life. My father never wanted to know me so, whatever he was to you, to me he is just a sperm donor. You had options, too, but you chose to have me and love me. You didn’t have to. Do you know how special I feel because you decided to have me even though it was going to be so hard for you? I promise I will be careful, Mom, and I know I have a lot of time.
Sandy thinks that she has raised a beautiful, wise and mature young woman. In an instant and, in a way so typical of Isadora, her expression becomes vulnerable and Sandy sees her little girl still before her. Sandy realizes Isadora might always have a hint of the vulnerable little girl even after she is grown. Isadora takes her right hand, holds her long, dark hair in a tail and strokes the tail for a few minutes with her left hand. Then she let her hair drops against her face.
Isadora: The only thing is that it would have been nice, somewhere along the way, to have had a man around; even if he wasn’t my biological father. Someone to see you happy with and, maybe, to be there for me. I would have liked a male presence.
Sandy: (Knowing that her daughter is owed an explanation and, perhaps recognizing the truth for herself for the first time) I think I was afraid that, if I would bring a guy into our lives, that he might not love you as much as you deserved and that you would feel rejected somehow. I never felt like I was good enough for my parents or that they loved me. I guess I thought I could give you enough love so you would never feel rejected and I didn’t want to take a chance with anyone else.
Isadora: You have given me so much love. That’s why I feel so confident in love. I will be in love with Frank or someone else because you have prepared me to receive love. Mom, I’m old enough now for you to not worry so much about me. I would like to see you in love. (Isadora not add her final thought…and I would still like a father).
11:30 a.m. Dwayne sits straight up in bed. For the first time in weeks, he has not had a blue dream. He did dream of her…the woman from last night, but not in a world of blue. The blue dreams are gone. He hasn’t slept much at all- just a couple of hours. Yet he feels a lightness he has not had in some time. He is fifty. There are no more blue dreams and, most importantly, he wrote a song. He had been wanting to write a rockabilly tune. He walked home thinking about Sandy and how cynical she was about life in general and love in particular. The phrase she had used “sentimental hogwash crap” was one he liked and thought he could do something with. What if he reversed it and made the man the one who doesn’t believe? As he walked through the lobby of the hotel and saw the pictures again of him and the band, he thought of the word: Player. This guy could be a player who doesn’t believe and had a lot of gals, but then he meets the one who makes him believe. The song came to him just that quickly and, within a couple of hours, he had the lyrics and music written. He had the same feeling he had when he wrote “The First Time.” This was a fun song, but it was good! Finally, he wrote a song! Then, he fell asleep and had a real dream.
He dreamt he was back with Sandy in the bar. Her eyes said, “kiss me, handsome” and, instead of stopping, he had kissed her and pulled her down on the floor on top of him and…it was a nice dream. Probably what he should have done if he had a brain, but, Hell, how would she had felt tonight when she came to the concert, if he hadn’t told her? Can you imagine? He would have made love to her and then she would have come to the concert and would really think he was a lowlife. Not that he needs to worry about what she thinks, but you don’t want to hurt a woman. She was all over the place last night as it was. Angry because he was handsome and then all tears at the end. He really thought she got him early in the evening. This cowboy as a myth thing-where did that come from? Then, claiming she didn’t want to fuck him, but all upset because he hadn’t kissed her. Still, she was beautiful; stubborn and independent, but with a vulnerability- as if a little girl inside of her had never grown up. He could definitely see a softness and vulnerability, but she hides it. Probably has had to be tough for her daughter. She wasn’t easy to read. He really liked that poem. Almost as if she had looked into his very soul. Well, he hopes she enjoys the show. The important thing isn’t that he dreamt of her, but that he hadn’t dreamt in blue!
Sandy has a good talk with Carmen before they go to the theater. Fred is twenty. Carmen confirms what Isadora had told Sandy. She could barely be bothered with anyone except the lead singer. She knows he is way old – like obviously it would never happen anyway, but he is so handsome. He has such strong arm muscles, his eyes and his lower lip! Sandy has to agree. Maybe there is some destiny in the fact that Sandy’s daughter met Frank. Sandy wants to see Dwayne again! She thinks that she shouldn’t see him, but she wants to. What would it hurt to talk to him one more time?
Isadora texts Frank while walking up to the theater. He comes out and greets them. He is shy around Sandy and Sandy finds herself wondering how to keep him just a little afraid of her. He tells them the band has been practicing a new song and it is great! Something you can really dance to- a little different- not so much country. Carmen actually jumps up and down a little and Sandy is relieved to see there is still childlike innocence with these kids. They walk in and Frank’s brother, Fred, comes to say hello. In fact, Carmen does not seem interested. Her eyes are on the stage. Dwayne’s back is turned to them and he is shaking that fifty year old ass. Sandy laughs at Carmen and the group moves closer to the stage. Without turning around, Dwayne says into the microphone “We are going to do it one more time. Now, boys, I need some beat. I can’t move Alex for any additional percussion because he needs to play the guitar because really I have to move my ass for this one, but we need some beat. It’s a dance song. Ok. Let’s go.” He sings the entire song with his back to what he thinks is an empty theater and moves from band member to band member encouraging them to get with the rhythm. Sandy finds herself enjoying it as much as the kids. His singing voice is unique. It is as deep as his speaking voice with a gravelly and slight nasal sound. When the song is over, the five “audience” members clap and make whooping noises. Dwayne turns around and his eyes are immediately drawn to Sandy. He opens his arms wide. He has a sense of overwhelming relief at seeing her again.
Dwayne: Sandy, I wrote a song. I used your phrase “sentimental hogwash crap”. What do you think?
Sandy is happy to see him and pleased he seems happy to see her. Isadora and Carmen are looking at her in stunned admiration. Sandy feels 15 herself. She knows the handsome band leader and, seeing him again, she once again is reminded how handsome he is.
Sandy: I love it.
Dwayne: Pshaw. No you don’t and you will probably make it a point to tell me so later if you get the chance. Why are you here? (He hands the microphone to Alex and jumps off the stage. He walks over to the group.)
Sandy: Seems my daughter and her friend are fans of yours.
Dwayne takes Isadora’s hand and asks Sandy, “your daughter?” Sandy nods. Dwayne looks at Frank. “This is the young woman you told me about?” Frank nods.
“I am very good friends with her mother. You behave yourself.” Frank mutters, “yes, sir” and Frank and Isadora walk away holding hands. Dwayne says to Sandy, “I was married when I was his age.”
Dwayne turns to Carmen. Carmen closes her eyes and lets out a high pitched, but soft spoken hello. She opens her eyes when Dwayne takes her hand and kisses it. He asks her for the privilege of having a picture taken. Carmen is beaming when Sandy takes the picture on her phone. On a whim, Sandy asks him if she could take a picture with him as well. Dwayne laughs “if only I had my cowboy hat for this one.” He asks a passing intern to take a picture with Sandy’s phone and holds up his arm for Sandy to slide beside him. “What are the odds your daughter would fall for the President of my fan club?” Dwayne issues a stern warning to Fred and Fred and Carmen wanders off -not holding hands. Dwayne and Sandy are left alone to gaze at each other.
Dwayne: I dreamt about you this morning, Darlin’.
Sandy: I didn’t. (Sandy doesn’t think about how it sounds until she says it. She was sad that she had not woken with a song or poem. She blurted it out without meaning to hurt Dwayne.)
Dwayne: Ouch, put me right back in my place. Well, do you want to meet the band?
After a few minutes on stage talking, Dwayne suggests the band can take a break. He asks Tom and Henry if they would check on “the kids.” Alex stays. Dwayne gives Alex a get the hell out of here look which Alex ignores. Alex smiles at Sandy.
Dwayne: You don’t want to go?
Alex: Check my emails, send out a few tweets. No, I can hang with the grownups. You sure are pretty. (Alex looks at Sandy. Dwayne hits him playfully on the chest.)
Sandy: Oh, that’s pretty. Far prettier than the one I have. (Sandy walks over to a table off stage where some instruments are laying and picks up Dwayne’s dulcimer.)
Alex: Oh, you have a dulcimer do you? (He looks at Dwayne with a wry face.)
Sandy: I’ve been trying to teach myself to play it.
Alex: Why? (Dwayne slaps him again.)
Sandy: I’ve written a couple of songs and wanted a way to play them.
Dwayne: You’re a song writer as well as a poet?
Sandy: Not really. I’ve written two songs. Country songs. (She mumbles the last two words.)
Dwayne puts his hands on his hips: You write country songs and you play the dulcimer?
Sandy: I know. Everything I said to you last night, I was wrong. I wish I could go back and just not say any of it. I feel so embarrassed.
There is an awkward silence. Alex breaks it.
Alex: Did he tell you he wrote his doctorate dissertation on the dulcimer?
Sandy: No, but he did say he was a college professor.
Another long, awkward silence.
Alex: I would love to hear one of your songs.
Sandy is afraid to play “Blue”. It seems like it has so many details about what may be Dwayne’s life and she doesn’t want to explain. She decides to play “Bliss”. Alex whistles in appreciation as she finishes.
Alex: She is a song-writer. Might be as good as you, Dwayne.
Sandy: It should be sung lower. I can’t get my voice low enough.
Alex: Dwayne can. (Dwayne hits him in the chest again)
Dwayne: The myth of bliss? Sounds like this man whose voice you write in believes in true love even if you don’t.
Alex: Wouldn’t you like to hear Dwayne sing your song?
Sandy keeps her head down. She doesn’t want Dwayne to see tears in her eyes again. She thinks to herself that the song really belongs to him. He is the one who believes in Bliss. If she could hear him sing it…! The thought of it almost makes her heart stop. She doesn’t answer or raise her head. Alex hits the back of Dwayne’s head with his hand.
Dwayne: Of course, I will, if want me to. You can teach it to me now and the band can take lunch.
Alex: I will go tell them we’re adding yet another song for dulcimer.
An hour later, Dwayne knows the song and has played and sang it to his and Sandy’s satisfaction. They have spent this hour as if on egg shells with each other; as if they each think the other person is fragile. The hour goes by with them barely talking and talking in soft whispers when they did. There has been many moments of eye contact. There is a moment when Sandy is playing the dulcimer and Dwayne could tell the hair falling in her eyes is irritating her. He reaches out and brushes it back for her behind her ear. Such a simple gesture, but it seems so intimate as he does it. They both remember the poems they recited to each other just a few hours ago. Dwayne is amazed by the look in Sandy’s eyes as he sings the song she wrote. She seems so happy to hear his voice.
Dwayne: I will need to make arrangements to pay you for the use of this song.
Sandy: It’s a birthday gift.
Dwayne: I can’t do that.
Sandy: Please. It will make me so happy to hear it tonight. You can’t know how much.
Sandy looks away, but not before Dwayne sees the tears. He leans forward to whisper in her ear, pulling her hair away with his right hand and grabbing her leg with his left hand.
Dwayne: Who are you? The woman who hates cowboys or the dulcimer playing song writer? The woman with tears in her eyes at hearing my voice or the woman throwing me out of the bar for being too much of a knight? Who are you?
Sandy: Handsome and repulsive both.
Dwayne: I can live with that. I can understand that. I could fall in love with that. I swear I can.
Sandy: You leave tomorrow.
Dwayne: Let’s get together after the show.
Sandy: I’m coming with a date.
Dwayne: (He is so happy to see her again. He feels such a strong connection. There has to be a bit of fate involved, doesn’t there?). Not again. We are not going to just walk away from each other again. Can’t you feel what’s between us?
They look in each other’s eyes. What Dwayne sees reflected is everything he wants to see. Why is she so stubborn? Sandy is thinking the same thing. Why is she so stubborn? This close to him, she is overwhelmed with fear. Dwayne touches her cheek. She is trembling. What is she so afraid of?
Dwayne: I don’t know why you keep doing this to me. You draw me so close and then push me away. I want you so badly.
Dwayne leans his forehead against hers. Their lips are almost touching. Sandy says nothing. Dwayne can still feel her trembling. He moves away from her.
Dwayne (In a sad, resigned voice) Ok, then, at least leave me with another poem.
Sandy recites ’Trust”. Dwayne wonders how she writes these poems which are so much about what he has been thinking lately. It’s so surreal. It is as if she is inside of his mind or he has somehow given her all of his thoughts, hopes and fears.
Dwayne: You don’t think you can trust me? Is that it?
Dwayne likes the way Sandy is looking at him now. It has been so long since he felt this way. She looks so vulnerable and he reminds himself that she has never been in love before.
Dwayne: Sandy, you need to leave. I will only break your heart.