(4th in this challenge)
Two and half years ago, Tommy had made reservations for their first date at a restaurant only a few blocks away from a particular stoplight. He’d become sweaty upon opening the passenger side door for Jack when picking him up at his home. As Tommy stopped for the red light, he hoped Jack hadn’t and wouldn’t notice his sweat. But Jack didn’t seem the type to care; he might just find it enduring.
“This stoplight lasts forever,” Tommy said, trying to make conversation. Why was he trying to make conversation? He could talk about anything, easily. Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” started on the radio. “This song is sick!” he said, regretting his word choice.
“Yeeeaaah. It’s fun,” Jack replied. He began shifting to the beats smoothly. He could never not dance to this cheese.
“I wish we could dance to it right now,” Tommy said.
“Well hey! Let’s turn up the volume and dance,” Jack said, and he bounced out. He had been brainstorming ways to calm Tommy down. This dude was too nervous. It was the cutest thing.
“Oh, ummm. Okay,” Tommy replied, checking the other set of green lights, watching for them to turn yellow as he tumbled out of his car. Jack was busting 90s moves by the curb. Tommy tried to smile, told himself to move his shoulders if nothing else, as he continued checking the light.
“Ice. Ice. Baby,” Jack whispered, then spun. Most of the time, his eyes were closed. He was the cutest thing. Tommy wondered what he could do to seem spontaneous tonight to Jack. Feeding him dessert? Losing my tie?
The light turned green. The one car behind honked.
“Okay, let’s go!” Tommy said. He fell into his seat and drove off before realizing that Jack was not in the car.
Jack laughed one large laugh about this and continued dancing. “He’ll be fun,” he said to no one. He moved his dance up onto the sidewalk. Without music, he just re-sang the lyrics. He knew them by heart.
When the light turned red again, two girls jumped out of the car nearest him. “You’re kidding me,” said one to the other, but the other grabbed Jack’s hands and forced them into turning her. Jack couldn’t resist dipping her even though it was to the theme song for a show on NPR. Both girls jumped back in when the light turned green, waving bye as they zipped away.
By the next red-light, Tommy had circled the block and returned. “Never Gonna Give You Up” played.
For the first time, Jack stopped dancing, leaned into the Tommy’s rolled down passenger window and glared in disgust until the light turned green. He must be enraged, Tommy thought. Jack said, “Come back when you have a better song playing,” and stepped away from the window, the sound of raspberries streaming from his lips. It was a joke to Jack. One more revolution around the block should do.
Tommy stared toward Jack, to his swaying waist, no response in his brain until the honking of cars behind him woke him up. He turned the corner, and parked. What?! Jack continued dancing on the corner with strangers (but mostly by himself. Tommy couldn’t hear him singing the lyrics to “Never Gonna Give You Up”, one of Jack’s favorite songs. It would have only confused him more.).
Tommy continued sweating, flinched at drips down his rib cage as he watched Jack through the back window, flinched at the drips again and fretted over each new song that played as he scanned the radio channels. Who is THIS guy? he asked himself. It’s the guy you’ve wanted to ask out since you first sat next to him in class three semesters ago. That’s who, he responded to himself quite unexpectedly. You wanted to know what a date would be like with him before you died. As a last resort, he opened iTunes on his phone, found “Ice Ice Baby”, and sped back around to the intersection, Vanilla Ice blaring.
They were too late for their reservation. They ate at the Waffle House on the other side of town instead, which pleased Jack very much, especially when Tommy stuffed his tie into his shirt above its second button. A third of his waffle eaten, Tommy stood and put enough quarters in the restaurant’s jukebox to play “Ice Ice Baby” and NSYNC songs for the next half hour.
Jack performed the dance moves from the video to “Bye Bye Bye” to a mesmerized audience of diners (one who got up and left a bowl of chili uneaten), then kissed Tommy full on the cheek twice before sitting down. Tommy blushed the deepest red. Afterwards in the parking lot, Tommy played “Bye Bye Bye” over and over again through his car speakers until he’d mastered the dance moves with Jack’s eager coaching. No one joined in but Tommy would’ve been ready for it.
They’ll marry in the fall. Tommy is learning different dances so that he can surprise Jack during their wedding reception at random with all of the moves he will know. On the way to their honeymoon, they’ll park at their stoplight, Tommy’s car covered in Just Got Married, and dance there in their suits. They have plenty of songs to choose from for that moment but they have three especially in mind.
*Oh, well. Out of sequence but ‘SNOWFLAKE’ didn’t inspire today. Actually, neither did KNOWLEDGE. This blog post from someone I follow did and I picked a word I thought it went best with. Funny enough, I actually jotted out one for DENIAL, the word after KNOWLEDGE in the list. It was a little depressing and I thought, “well the one before and after have to be fun”. The fun happened a little early. I appreciate how the universe directs me.