Sunday, November 05, 2006



The Dance of Innocence

There are places and times, songs and people that can make you transcend the boundaries of your present and can send you catapulting back, pulling back time, as you fall, it erases all wrinkles and jaded behavior and leaves you just as you were, in the blink of an eye or with the mention of your name, no spa, no drug, no fitness regime could be so powerful to turn back the clock of life.

It was a cold, damp, autumn day, the air permeates through my layers of clothing and causes me to shiver as I prepare to leave the grocery store.The black clouds swirling overhead are beginning to threaten rain which has caused my mood to become more glum than it already is. I am laddened with 50 pounds of groceries distributed through ten plastic bags that are dangling from my wrists. And the wind begins to pick up just as I leave the confines of the store. I feel old. I feel haggard. I feel put out by the evils of northern living. I am not having a good day.

I think, I hear my name being called, but the infuriating sky and my plight with life really has my entire attention.
I ignore the call of my name and adjust my focus to my daughter who is walking about as if it were a balmy summer day. Her head is ahead of the clouds and she is dreaming of unicorns and sunny beaches, when I have to raise my voice to bring her back to the land of cold and miserable.
My dreamer is walking along side me in a t-shirt, with her coat in hand and not a care in the world. And I am a bit envious of her as we plod on.

I have now resigned myself to the fact that I am going to be soaked even if I rush my dreamer along, I continue to curse Caelus of the sky, when I hear my name again.

And this time I look for the person to accompany the voice, for it certainly is not Caelus, as he is mocking my misfortune.

I know the voice and it takes me back in time. I momentarily am not the haggard, baglady with blue hands, with my dreamy side kick daughter. I am instead a fifteen year old school girl. All, in the sound of a voice, that has said my name about a million times...

I turn and there he is. My sweet, dear, friend from high school. There he is, my, dear, sweet, Andy.

I do not remember how I met Andy but I know it was grade ten. He was in grade twelve. I knew him in an age of innocence. And that is how we have remained suspended through the decades.

Andy was one of those types of boys who would have the girls in school giggle a wee bit louder than normal in hopes of capturing his attention. And the boys would hang close in hopes of feeding off his positive energy. To accompany the energy came his boyish, good looks. He was handsome. He had striking blue eyes, that he would insist on talking with, and a smile which could melt most the most hardened.The kind of boy who had a certain dress sense of ripped sweaters layered about with army fatigues that was devastatingly handsome. It was his look. Many had tried in high school to replicate this look but came off just replicas.

He had kind eyes and a voice that kind of squeaked when he talked. There was an uncertainty to the real range of his voice but through his voice there was a charming innocence of life. A soft spoken voice that never changed as we aged and somehow it was always reassuring in its uproarious, delivery.

He was always a person who valued his friends. He would do anything for you. He would always stop, no matter how much in a rush he was in, he would always help with whatever the task, no matter how menial. He was a true friend who put value in moments spent together. I can still shutter and some of the favours he did for me without question through out the years of friendship.


Andy would always walk me home from school if it was getting late. He would always have his bicycle balancing both of our heavy knapsacks on his handle bars as we walked and talked about our day. He would always ask me what I was reading and make a mental note of it for the future. And inevitably he would read whatever I recommended. He and I would race on our bikes to various events. He would cycle with me to parties. And many a time we would lock our bikes together knowing with certainty that we would leave the party together as many a time we preferred our company, to that of a love interest at the time. He would always keep a watchful eye out for me as a big brother would, for that truly was the nature of our friendship. We were very dear friends.We were never attracted to each other and I suppose this is how the innocence of our friendship has been rooted in a time of promise.

And as he called my name again, I went through a magnificent time warp. I let go of my anger for Zeus and his dastardly bunch of weather goons, and as I heard my name again the years vanished and I was fifteen again albeit with my nine year old daughter.

Andy ran across the street to meet me with his bike. The years has been good to him. He threw his left arm around me and balanced his bike on his right side as he was prone and gave me a hug while my arms remained at my sides as I still had my groceries. I could see beyond Andy's shoulder as my daughter stood transfixed by this man who was hugging her mom. A person beyond the grasp of fifteen year old innocence.

He pulled away and looked at Scooter. 'Hi I'm Andy.I met you, a long time ago Scooter but you probably do not remember. I went to school with your momma.'
And with that statement wavering in the air, he put out his hand to shake my daughter's.

And he looked up at the sky and said 'We are in for a big storm.' Discounting the clouds, he systematically took my bags from my hands and placed them on the handle bars of his bike and motioned for us to continue on our path.

He walked alongside my daughter and I. And he talked to my daughter, he showed a vested interest in her thoughts. And he shared our past with her. He talked about the silliness we got into. He talked about me helping him with various tests in high school and university, he talked about how we would row at 5am and how unhappy I would be at that time of the morning. He laughed. He would talk about what I wore to the formal and how we danced all night. He talked about the protest marches we went on, he talked about sitting on my front porch with my family in the summers and having lemonade. He talked about how stubborn I was and nudged my daughter and guaranteed her that I was still very stubborn.He told her how I would make him walk for miles and miles... but he claimed he never minded. He told my daughter how I made him better himself and how I really fostered his love of reading. He told my daughter how lucky she is to have me as a Momma. Andy told my daughter that I would open the world for her.As that is what I did for him in being his friend.

When we reached my home he helped bring the groceries in and had to fly as he was late for a meeting. He guaranteed me that he was only two minutes away from my house by bike.

He gave us such a gift that day.

He chose to say such wonderful, beautiful ,things, that made me cry inside. He brought me back on a quick trip of nostalgia.

And he gave my daughter a gift.
A gift because my daughter has the opportunity to see me as a young, girl, before my work, before her dad, before the house, before her, a life outside the box of her existance.

And as he got on his bike and turned and waved good bye, we watched him disappear down the road and felt the first drops of rain. My daughter smiled as she watched him, as he became a mere fleck in the horizon with the black clouds and leaves swirling about.

She then turned to me and gave a me a big hug, and then a big tug and with urgency she looked at me, and truly examined my face.
'Momma?'
'Yes Hon,'
'Momma, did you really teach Andy all those things?'
'Ahh, I don't know 'bout that Hon. He always says such nice things'
'Momma, he told me that you are one of his heroes.'
'Ohh'
'Momma, you are my hero, too.'

And as the rain started to trickle down and my daughter hugged me again on the front porch, it made me glad of the moment I was having with my daughter brought on by the wind, the rain, and a chance meeting of my past, catching up with my present.

Ain't Life Grand????

44 comments:

hautemama said...

Life IS grand!! What a nice walk down memory lane...

Catch said...

Yes Pendullum, life is grand and so is running into an old friend. And so is reading one of your stories! Its always a pleasure to read your posts. They just take me right back in time with you as I read. I always know its going to be interesting and you have never disappointed me yet. So tell me...are you a famous writer pretending to be an ordinary blogger? lol. It would not suprise me one bit!

chelle said...

Goose bumps and tears ... that is what I am left with after reading your amazing story. Life is grand and wow, how I long to hear those words from my daughter someday! Wow! You rock my world

kim said...

Thats a special memory Pen *hugs* You do have a gift girl ... and thanks for sharing it with us :)

Oh, The Joys said...

What a sweet one! I'm so glad you wrote that and shared it.

xo!

bananas62 said...

As Always a fabulous read!It's such a great feeling to know you've touched someone so deeply just by being their friend.

crazymumma said...

Scooter, you made your mumma's heart swell up again....beautiful post. I am so happy taht she can see you as a younger version of the perfect you. How exciting for her.....!

Janet a.k.a. "Wonder Mom" said...

Beautiful.

Thank you for sharing that story.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Love this.

Waya said...

Wow! That was simply beautifully written. I actually felt like I was walking with you, Andy and Scooter down that memory lane. Great memories, something that's very rare for me as my HS year was not that great! Thanks for sharing this.

Crankyputz said...

That was beautiful....I hope this friend of yours once again becomes a part of your life.

Andrea said...

Andy sounds like a true gift of a friend. It's always nice to hear of having a positive impact on someone. And it sounds like he had the same impact on you, and now your daughter. Hero indeed.

Andrea
http://littlebalddoctors.wordpress.com

pinknest said...

ah, how lovely! how nice to run into someone from high school...that you actually want to see. :)

ps i hate carrying groceries because i always feel old and haggard. and getting a a little pushcart would not help alleviate that.

Catherine said...

Pendullum, I know it's been said many times before, but it warrants being said again... you have SUCH a gift for story-telling! I took a break from my own writing to see what you were up to, and I'm so glad that I did. Your storytelling is inspirational. Thank you!

Christina_the_wench said...

God gives us Andys so we can remember where we came from and where we are now. Your daughter is lucky indeed.

Lawyer Mama said...

That was a beautiful moment. Thanks for sharing.

sunshine scribe said...

Life is grand. And even grander the way you tell it. Brilliant memory. THanks for sharing.

kim said...

Wow, oh, wow. I think in that one story you captured everything I've ever felt about being a mother, a girl, a woman, and a person.

Rock the Cradle said...

Ain't it just?

I love how sometimes in the middle of awfulness, something will happen to totally redeem life, the universe and everything.

So special.

Sarah said...

What beautiful writing you have! That was a lovely story. It makes me want to meet Andy. :)

IzzyMom said...

This is a wonderful post and you are most gifted! I hope to God you are saving some of these beautiful written works for submission over at Common Ties!

http://commonties.com/

Kevin Charnas said...

and not unlike the wetness of the rain, so is the wetness spilling over my eyelids...how beautiful...and yes, grand. How grand. :)

Andie D. said...

Life can be incredibly grand, yes it can.

And the chance to not only catch up with an old friend but to have your daughter see you through the friend's eyes? And call you a HERO?

Incredibly grand!

Mommy off the Record said...

What a beautiful story. Your stories are always so vivid. I felt like I was walking there with you!

Kristin said...

There is something so special about the people who "knew us when"... what a wonderful story.

Kim Ayres said...

A good friend is a good thing to have. Especially if they live near

DebbieDoesLife said...

I love those moments when we are able to hold the past in our hand once again and see ourselves how we used to be once upon a time.

Great piece.

mad muthas said...

ahhh - good to see you back - and what a lovely, lyrical post.

chicaloungin said...

Gorgeous story... present/past, male/female, daughter/mom, rain/ray of sunshine... I guess there are a few of us in line for Andy already.

MommyWithAttitude said...

I need to start remembering not to read here when I'm not in the mood to cry! A beautiful story and speaks to me so much... I had a similar sort of experience last summer and it has been life changing for me.

And yes, life is grand! Thanks for reminding me.

Lisa said...

What a sweet and wonderful story. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

carrie said...

Sure is! I love how you hash out the details, from the skies appearance to your daughter's lightness and seemingly unconcern for the cold weather (very familiar to my daughter and her bare feet today in the 40 degree, windy cold, while stomping in the freezing water from the hose) to the details of your innocent friendship with your "Andy".

Isn't it amazing that just when you were feeling blue, he shows up and changes all that? You are each other's heros! :) Loved the story, your perspective!

Carrie

Pattie said...

Sounds like you gave him a gift all those years ago, too, by being such a special friend. What fond memories to share with your daughter. Funny, when you think you are having a bad day and it can turn around in an instant.

Mom / Ma'am / Me said...

That was a great story -- so beautifully told. Thanks for sharing!

JLee said...

Your posts always make me cry! lol
Oh, to go back to 15...sigh. But then each stage of life has it's own wonders. Thanks for that story :)

Mary-LUE said...

" "
(That's me being speechless.)

What a beautiful piece of writing. What a beautiful friend.
What a beautiful gift.

P.S. Thanks for stopping by today. :)

h&b said...

Oh my God .. you are simply eloquent.

Your story took me right along side you. I was you, I was Andy, your daughter, the sky.

And that my friend, is talent.

Thankyou.

Lamont said...

Lovely recounting of such a amazing moment - moments really. I felt my heart jump as it's my dream to give my children "the world". I want to be that person that says and does beautiful things. Thanks for the encouragement.
Tara

Pendullum said...

You Guys all made me blush...
Christina you wench you, you are right about Andy...
And as a footnote to all...
Andy is married and has a wee boy.
This boy can not communicate. They do not know why. He was born with the ability to hear but must use sign language to speak. He is four years old and a sheer delight and a beautiful lamb,
I wish I could communicate half the things that Andy has meant to me to his son...

shpprgrl said...

Great post! It sounds like he is a great friend that values his great friend!

(This might be a repeat comment, mind seemed to have been eaten!) :)

Maritza said...

You have such a way of making get all weepy!!!! Where is Andy and can I have him for a little while?

Sheila said...

How beautiful. When did you see your life as poetic as it seems? Or has it always been that way... perhaps all of us need to open our eyes a little wider...

kim said...

Happy Thanksgiving Pen *hugs*

The Happy Housewife said...

Hold that thought...