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by Claude Jones

She pulled the stylish, rim free glasses from her face, dropped them into her purse, then opened the smudged glass door of the Club Knight and walked into a world wholly different from the dullness of suburban life and the sought security of conformity. The eight steps she strode to the square cut, Formica covered bar to order the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, propelled Katy to another lifestyle. As the bartender twisted open the long neck bottle and the white foam rushed to the rolled brown lip of the bottle, her mouth watered, not for the taste of the PBR but for the taste of freedom.

As she breathed in deeply, a zest, a tingle, an essence trailed the smoky, dank air of the bar into her lungs and flowed into her abdomen, manifesting itself in a relief, a relief that brought peace. She held the breath, clinging to the peace, feeling redeemed, as when she had walked in measured steps to be saved by grace at the altar designated “In Remembrance of Me.”

Her lips curled into a smile, she wished for a camera. The coldness of the beer being swallowed re-ignited the zest she had felt; this time her arms tingled and she heard the music from the stage.

Four young men in jeans, boots and Dwight Yokum hats began a fast dance tune; her foot began to pat in time to the beat.

She turned to scan the crowd, not in fear of familiarity, but in a curiosity to know if others felt the zest, the peace she enjoyed. She saw a few frowns— one face contorted in anger, pain or agony—but most showed smiles— genuine, fun loving smiles.

She almost pulled her glasses from her purse in order to be a better observer, but resisted and closed the snap on her purse.

She looked at the door and, as if on cue, the door opened and he walked in. He removed his hat, twirling it in his hand, observing the creases in its crown; he then hung it on the freestanding hat rack. He looked across the room, their eyes met, and he walked to her. As he reached her, the band began to play “Behind Closed Doors.” He lightly touched her arm and she followed him to the dance floor and pressed herself against him before he could close his arms around her. They slowly swayed, moving little; she raised her head and their lips brushed in a quick kiss. They whispered to one another as they danced. A beer bottle fell and shattered on the floor; they didn’t notice. The band continued to play, the singer repeating lines, the song extended. The magic flowed, felt by most present.

They retired to a small table in a corner. They talked of ideas and feelings while eating hamburgers, no onion. The crowd at Club Knight grew, raising the noise level and invading their privacy. They rose as one, without speaking or signal and made their way to the door. He took his hat from among the many on the rack but did not put it on, rather carried it by his side.

She retrieved the small overnight bag from her Grand Cherokee and locked the vehicle. He unlocked and opened the door of his pickup for her to enter. He threw his hat behind the seat, sat behind the wheel, reached out and took her hand and they kissed. They kissed not a kiss of passion, but a kiss with passion. They looked into one another’s eyes, seeing the love they felt reflected. The dim light of the parking lot was not the catalyst of the light each saw in the other’s eyes; rather, the glow of the warmth of love was the activator.

They pulled onto the highway in light traffic, then made the familiar turn down the dark gravel road toward his duck hunting camp house. The shrill ring of his cell phone hanging from the sun visor shattered the silence and peace. The flashing of the light of the face of the cell phone as it rang seemed to illumine the cab of the truck without casting shadows.

He answered, slightly turning his head away from her as he put the phone to his ear. “Yes, I’m fine, almost to the duck camp. I love you too, sweetheart.” He softly said, “Yes, just a minute.”

He clicked the speaker phone and the small girl’s voice rang out, “Hi, Mom! I love you. Grandma and I think Andrew is getting a new tooth. Can he start eating peas now?”

“Maybe, we will see you about lunch tomorrow. Mom and Dad love you.”

She reached into her purse, removed her glasses . . . and put them on.


Claude Jones writes:
"I have lived all my life in Pontotoc, Mississippi -- raised on a farm where we milked cows, raised cotton, corn, and had a peach orchard. I've worked for Pontototc Electric Power for 31 years. My wife Ann and I have two sons, both are pharmacists, and we have two grandchildren."

Want to read more of Claude’s writing at USADEEPSOUTH? Click these links:
Who Has The Edge?
Two Poems
Two Poems - II
Mule's Gold
Young Dreams and Old Realities


Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.



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