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Some Dance to Remember, Some Dance to Forget by Dan Rickhart
SUMMARY: A story that is true in the present, the past and future. Humanity has always struggled with love, self-loathing and emotional numbness. And those who struggle, so often cannot admit or discuss their problems.
Sometimes it's hard to talk. War does that to even the hardest men.
Or at least that's what Dr Flynn told me. But those are simply empty words. Comfort words.
Therapy – a refuge of the weak, the broken and the mad. What isn't there to be ashamed of?
I did try to talk about it. But it's not what I know. Since I could talk, I was ordered to listen.
Dr Flynn says not being able to talk is nothing to be ashamed of. But I'm paying her – of course her would say that.
Since I wouldn't talk, she suggested I write about what happened. I did try to write about the war – when the Kriegorites attacked our planet. But even on paper the words were hard.
So she suggested I write about what I did last night – and what that made me think about. Other than a detailed description of my dinner (a very nice Martian-style curry) – there wasn't much on the paper.
Then she suggested that I should write about what happened on Saturday night, and add anything that comes to my mind. And that's what this is: this is the story about my Saturday night.
It feels rather pathetic really. Writing about Saturday night. They are all very similar. None of them are particularly significant. I survived laser blasts and neutrino weapons and Kriegorite warbirds – yet I'm reduced to this.
After a brief meal at home I got ready for the night out. I didn't spend too long getting ready. I put on a clean white shirt, a pair of leather jeans and my favourite denim jacket. I combed my hair, but no matter what I tried – it remained a scruffy mess.
I go to the same place most Saturday nights. It's a jazz bar on top floor of the New Excalibur Casino. I suppose it's not new now. It's been 4 years since the war. Still – I think everyone remembers the history of the old building fondly. Federation Chancellor Eleanor White took so many dignitaries from other worlds to that casino. The photographs lined the entrance – that's all gone now. The price of victory, I suppose.
Anyway, back to the jazz bar. Jazz might seem a bit old hat these days. I still remember when jazz came back in. Back in the 80s – the 2180s that is - jazz seemed to take over the world. I'm not old mind you. I suppose you would call me middle aged. I was young enough to go to war – but old enough that everyone else looked like a kid.
I took my seat across from Veronica. She smiled and passed me a drink she had already ordered. A glass of red wine. I took a sip of the wine. Typically cheap – but drinkable. Veronica was holding a cocktail of one sort or another. Some type of Zelkasadian cocktail, I think. It was blue – made me think of kerosene.
Veronica put down her glass. I remember her exact words, "Shall we dance."
I probably need to clarify – Veronica is not my wife. That sounds wrong. Veronica and I are just friends. Does that sound like a hollow denial? Well it isn't. We are just friends – and dance partners. I am a married man – a widower – but still a married man.
"Let's," I responded, putting down my wine glass. Yes, the conversation was very brief – but what else was there to say.
We went over to the floor as the band hammered out the faster jazz tunes.