Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lighting the Darkness

My dearest friend from grade school made the effort to visit soon after my stroke. Living far apart, we don't often see each other. She brought her six-year-old son with her.

"Zachary," I told him, "Your mommy and I were your age when we became friends."

This did not interest him. Nor did our conversation, which we gorged on, sitting before the fireplace in my backyard. Taking pity at last on the bored child, I told my friend where to find leftover sparklers from the Fourth of July.

The two of them danced, sparklers crackling, my friend’s graceful arms waving overhead, her son spinning like a dervish. I began to weep. My friend took me in her arms and held me.

When Zachary's sparkler burned out, he came for another one.

"Why are you crying, Marcie?"

Because I can't dance anymore. Because this is my life now.

"Because you and your mommy's dancing is so beautiful." And that was true, too.

"Thank you," he said. And his mom lit more sparklers and they danced some more, throwing pieces of light into the darkness.

If I had been well, I would have been dancing with them, and I wouldn't have this memory that moves me more than dancing ever did.


  1. Wow!! Love it!!

    Because I had a stroke, I know how many friends I have - and who they are. And I have my sweet little Turbo. And I'm on the road to being what I truly am: a writer with an interdependent life. None of that would be true had I remained whole. I'm not saying it was an even swap, but it has had an up-side.

  2. I danced with the New York City Ballet as a child so I can relate to your heartbreak. One of my regrets is that I didn't take a swing dancing class before my stroke. I also agree with Barb. I think we all have more skills than we can use in one lifetime. Having a stroke forced me to to admit that I am a writer. It's a career move I would never have made on my own.

  3. Beautiful post Marcie. I think I should get up and go phone my best childhood friend.

    My husband and I tried to dance at the wedding party of my best friend's daughter last year. I went in a weird circle around my bad leg and felt nauseated. I think it would go better this year but I have not tried since that time.

    I feel like my life is going in new surprising directions too. .. but I don't have thoughts of being a writer!

  4. Now I know who I'm going to ask to critique my opinion article to the New York Times, Barb and Rebecca. Marcelle, last year I tried dancing at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, unsuccessfully, well in a week I'll try again. I have the fist pump and head shake down pat from the Blue Man Group but the jumping just does not work. I can't get both feet off the ground at the same time. Oh well, if I don't care about falling I might succeed. Dean

  5. That settles it: we and other stroke survivors will rendez-vous in Winnipeg--sometime in the future--for a crazy dance/writers' workshop combined!

    I really loved your post, Marcelle.

  6. Woo Hoo the party will be at my place in Winnipeg!.. The friend I mentioned above is working on getting her third novel published .. so she can help organize the writers workshop part of our future event!