I’m a Teller of Tales: Excerpt from ‘Reunion: A Story’

(C) 2018 Alex Diaz-Granados and CreateSpace

Forgotten Dreams: 14th of June 1983

11 a.m.: South Miami Senior High/ The Library

I had been sitting in the library for nearly an hour when fatigue and emotional exhaustion finally caught up with me. I’d been leafing listlessly through the final issue of the school newspaper and had nearly finished the lead article (Assistant principal announces retirement) when my eyelids suddenly dropped like shutters on a window and I drifted off into a deep slumber. I vaguely thought about classes, but –nothing ever happens on the last day – I suddenly didn’t care. Without hesitation, I put my head down on the table and allowed my mind to drop off into a misty netherworld of dreams.

This is what I dreamed:

I am sitting alone in my old English classroom at my old desk, reading from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The only sounds in the room are the ticking of the clock and the occasional rustling of the pages of the book. Then, Martina Reynaud, the most beautiful girl in the Class of ’83, walks in. She’s tall, graceful and absolutely breathtaking. She’s wearing a black dress, one that shows off her long dancer’s legs. Her peaches-and-cream complexion is flawless; there is no sign of a pimple anywhere. Her long chestnut hair cascades down over her shoulders. In short, she is the personification of feminine elegance from the top of her head to her high-heeled shoes.

I try to get back to my reading assignment, but the scent of her perfume, a mixture of jasmine and orange blossoms, is beguiling. I look to my right; she is sitting at the desk right next to mine. She gives me a smile. My heart skips a beat. I know guys who would kill for one of Marty’s smiles. She has that effect on most men. Her smile is full of genuine warmth and affection; I can tell by the look in her hazel eyes.

“Hi, Jimmy,” she says. Her voice is soft and melodious; she speaks with a lilting British accent. From what I’ve heard, her family is from England. London, actually.

“Hi,” I reply, feeling about as articulate as your average mango. Then, mustering my last reserves of willpower, I focus my attention on Shakespeare’s play.

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” I recite slowly, like a child learning to read for the first time, “creeps in this petty pace from day to day….”

I falter. I try to read further, but the urge to sneak a peek at Marty is irresistible. It is easier to stop an avalanche than to resist the temptation. I put the book down again and I steal a furtive glance at her, hoping fervently she won’t catch me.

Suddenly, her hazel eyes meet mine.

I freeze, thinking that soon I will be flying across the classroom.

I close my eyes, expecting – what? A rebuke? A sarcastic laugh? A stiletto to the heart?

Nothing happens.

I open my eyes. Blink once. Blink twice. Look around.

The classroom is, well, gone. Instead of being in a room with thirty-five desks, a blackboard, a lectern, a teacher’s desk and a bookshelf, I am standing in the middle of what looks like the ballroom in a fashionable hotel. Confused, I look to my right to see if Marty is still there. Yes, she is still there. She gives me another one of those dazzling smiles.

“Come on, Jimmy, let’s dance,” she says. She extends her right hand invitingly and gives me a come-hither stare. In the background, a Fifties-style rock band, dressed in white tuxes, begins to play.

I hesitate. I take her outstretched hand, but my feet feel as though they are stuck in industrial strength concrete. “I’m not a good dancer,” I gasp.

“Come on,” she repeats softly, almost imploringly, “it’s a slow dance.” She tugs insistently at my hand. I don’t dare resist.

The band starts to play, and Martina pulls me closer to her. She places my left hand on her waist and holds my other hand gently but firmly to her side as we sway to the beat of the music. She is right; it is a slow dance. I feel as though I am Fred Astaire. The music picks up momentum. As we dance, my ears prick up as the bandleader segues from instruments to the vocalist.

Where time’s winds blow That’s where you are; Your bright eyes glow Like distant stars.

My heart aches with pent-up yearning as I hold the girl of my dreams in my arms. I look into those wonderful eyes and a million questions rush into my fevered mind at that instant. I try to speak, but Marty places her index finger on my lips and gently shushes me with a Mona Lisa smile. “Don’t say a word,” she whispers. “Let’s just dance, okay?”

I nod meekly, and she gently lays her head on my shoulder. We dance as smoothly and flawlessly as if we have been dance partners forever. As I close my eyes and follow the rhythm of the song, I feel Marty’s heartbeat and the slow rise and fall of her breathing – we’re that close.

Where time’s winds blow Things cannot last; We come and we go Like ships that pass. Love’s not always sweet, nor is it just “tomorrows” It has sharp edges, barbs, and is full of sorrows; Yet we must love, and face the storm When time’s winds blow…..

The music stops after a while, and we stand in the center of the ballroom, still in each other’s arms. I try again to collect my thoughts, to formulate a question, but all I can think about is her presence. Finally, I manage to whisper: “Marty, I….”

Just then, the school bell – irrelevant now because there were no real classes in session – rang loudly, shattering my dream like a bomb blast breaking a mirror.

I awoke with a start, hating the damned school bell with every fiber of my soul.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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