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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Anchors Aweigh

Anchors Aweigh
Dan Dodge

At that moment, she should’ve left.  She saw him out of the corner of her eye.  He was shorter than her by at least 4 inches.  He was clad in an ironed blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up halfway to expose his tan arms.  His blue jeans fit too snug as his belt stretched too tight over his small “beer belly.”  He wore some beige canvas shoes as he walked with a slight limp to the left as he approached her.  She noticed his sparse dark hair was neatly combed.  He walked toward her with a purpose and a slight smile.  She froze there in her uncomfortable black dress shoes.

In the meantime, she felt a firm tap from behind her on her left shoulder.  She turned abruptly around and a pleasant face was smiling at her.  He was taller and slimmer than she was.  He was dressed in a neatly presses green and white striped shirt and khaki pants.  He hair was graying at the temples but it was thick and streaked with black.  He was definitely an attractive man.

It was only Donna’s third time out socially since her husband Pete passed away.  They had been married thirty – eight years and they were best friends.  When Pete’s pancreatic cancer was diagnosed three years ago, Donna thought for sure that he would beat it.  Pete was a fighter and a Navy veteran.  He was a man who took charge of things.

She fondly remembered him singing “Anchors Aweigh” every time they set sail from their Southport dock in their small boat.  Pete named the boat “Bella Donna” after his beloved wife.

Now she stood here in this strange place with two different men approaching her.

She held her breath and she exhaled deeply and she wished Pete was here holding her hand. “Do you want to dance?” the attractive man asked?

“Sure” Donna responded nervously.

It was just in time to save her from the shorter man approaching her.  He turned away disappointed and asked even a taller woman to dance.

“My name is Rich,” the man said as they danced slowly.

He was a smooth dancer, Donna thought, just like her beloved Pete.  Her feet were aching as they danced but she soldiered on.

“I’m Donna,” she said.

When the dance was over, she thanked Rich and they both strolled over to the coffee urn.

“I like the real stuff,” Rich said.

“Me, too,” Donna replied, “No extra chemicals needed to process that decaffeinated junk.”

Rich smiled.  He was anxious, too, as he had just lost his wife Rebecca six months earlier after a losing battle with dementia.

They continued to chat and as they talked, they both became more comfortable with each other.

“May I call you sometime?” Rich asked.

Donna hesitated.  She did promise Pete on his death bed that her life would go on.

“OK” Donna agreed.  She wrote down her phone number on a small piece of paper for him.

“You can call me but please not after 9:00 pm. I’m usually asleep.”

“Me, too,” Rich said as he was thinking that their biorhythms might be in sync.

He liked her.  He promised that he would call her next week.

Donna was content as she drove the half hour back to her home.  She turned on the radio  and listened to Bobby McFarland’s tune “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  Ironically, she heard on the news that previous day that his song would be permanently etched into the Library of Congress.  Near the end of Pete’s illness, he would playfully sing her the lyrics.  It was a good omen.

A week later, her cell phone rang.  It was Rich and Donna felt strangely uplifted.  He asked her out to dinner and told her that she should pick the restaurant.

They decided on her favorite French restaurant, a small intimate bistro in the center of downtown.

Donna’s daughter was distraught as she was concerned about her mother’s well being and safety.  She told her Mom to go to the ladies’ room and call her during the dinner if the date wasn’t going well.  Her daughter would then call her back during the dinner pretending that there was an emergency at home.

“It’s a white lie.  Only for your safety, Mom,” her daughter said.

“Oh, alright,” Donna agreed.

When Rich picked her up for the date, she knew that he was the “One.”

Donna gasped as she noticed his tie.  It was decorated with anchors.

Donna and Pete had always had an arcane agreement that anchors were symbols of their permanent love.

“I love your tie,” Donna said. “Were you a Navy man”?

“Absolutely,” Rich said.  “The Navy was my career.”

Donna then knew that Pete approved.  She took Rich’s hand with confidence as they departed for their date to the French restaurant.  And this time, Donna was wearing her most comfortable shoes.

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