Friday, February 28, 2014

Knights in White Satin 

Four divorces later and one week sober I go on a first date.

Driving her down Memorial Drive along the Charles River in Boston with her car. 

It was an early romance, 48 hours only, I was naturally nervous 
with a nascent tingling (!) in my hands, right up my arms 
the full moon coming up yellow from behind the silver Prudential Building 
everything just right, so I turned on the radio hoping for romantic music.

Fanny turned it off and said let’s get better acquainted; ok, I said, let’s do.

She was beautiful; her freckles matched her hair and her skin and 
painted nails - all red-honey colored, creamy warm. 
I wanted to write this description on the spot, but there wasn't time, then. So, this is it. 

“What are your interests, or hobbies if that’s not too pedestrian a question,” she asked. 

“No, not at all, I’m trying to remember. Also I’m trying to get some new ones. Or find out what they could be.” 

Long silence. 

Fanny pointed into Boston, downtown, way below the shiny Pru. 

“I saw the President down there, after he’d just got elected. What an electric moment, wow, man - the first black president!”

“Who? You mean Jesse Jackson? Or was it Shirley Chisholm? Wow, yeah - the first black and first female president!” I said. “And high goddam time, on both counts!”

Fanny pointed out that we were across the center line and asked 
about my last divorce. 

“Well, it was a very applicable split really. She’s still out in Casper, Wyoming. Or Thunder Bay, Canada - one or the other. Or maybe Austria.” 

Fanny touched my arm.

“Roscoe, it doesn’t seem romantic to talk about recovery on the first date, but do you need to?” 

I kissed her hand.

“Don’t worry about meFanny, I am ready for romance!” 

“Well, alright then mister, pull over there by the river; I’ve been wanting to kiss you since Starbucks the other night!”

This was said so suddenly and romantically I did it, eager beaver-style, 

and almost drove into the river! 
Fanny turned the radio on, and there - that song - that puzzling 
yet ultra-romantic, highly comic song. By the Moody Blues. 
Fanny was getting ready for the kiss but the song stopped her. 

“Oh Roscoe, I love this one ... it’s so ethereal. I have a strong association with it. ”

“Yeah,” I laughed, “but knights? ... in white satin? What the hell?”

“What’s wrong with that? Don’t you have certain longings, memories ... loss?” 

“Well yes, but knights? I mean, are they at the Round Table in their white satin?”

Fanny looked at me. 

“And I have to say that I can’t see them mounted and charging into battle in ... white satin. I would imagine that satin tears easily in combat. I do like the Arthurian atmosphere of the piece but ...WHAT?” 

Fanny was still looking at me. Are you kidding?” she asked.

“Of course not. I mean, I admit I’ve never read the lyrics, it kind of goes on and on, but the tonal dynamic of the song reminds me of a Renaissance Festival I went to once in Bonner Springs, Kansas. That sort of ethereal majestic sweep ... you know, Fanny? Why are you looking at me like that? I mean it!” 

Fanny choked on her coffee and spat it out in a steamy stream across 
the dashboard. 

[They are both drinking hot lattes from Starbucks]

“How long did you drink?” she asked, still choking a little. 

“From junior high school to last Halloween. You?”

“From grad school to Thanksgiving; Thanksgiving, ten years ago. Do you, uh - live anywhere, Roscoe?”

“Sure. On the Common, the Long Wharf. I live in Boston; I'm sort of a man about town!” 

“Ok, well, you better come on home with me tonight, back to my place, in the North End. Stay the night tonight, we’ll talk tomorrow about what we’ll do tomorrow night. I like you, and you’re kind of cute, but I think you’ll need help. Like I did, and do.”

“Well, if I need help, and I think I do, and if you do too, the North End must be the perfect place to be,” I said. 

“Why do you say that?” asked Fanny.

“You know - one if by land, two if by sea!”

“I don’t know exactly what you mean by that, but it sounds optimistic. Drive on, Sir Roscoe!”

“I will, Faire Fanny!” 

I drove along the Charles and Fanny kissed me deeply 
as we crossed 
the Longfellow Bridge, almost driving me into the river again 
(that red-honey colored skin!)on our way to home in the North End. 

Fanny stopped the kissing for a moment. 

“Turn up the radio, Roscoe. Find us some romantic music.” 

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