Moondance Part 2, A Walk to the Graveyard

As the farm-warming party wound down, Pierre strummed and sang, “Je ne peux pas avoir juste une danse avec toi mon amour?”  Lila looked over to the fire and felt the chill of the cold shoulder from the guys over there. “They hate this,” she said to Carl’s wife, Anne.

“Yeah well, it’s good for them to see.  And it’s good for us.”  They watched JJ and Carl in the circle of firelight.  Carl reached down for a rock, showed it to JJ, and said something that made JJ smile.  Anne said, “They probably want to kill Pierre with that rock.”

Lila laughed and Anne turned back to Pierre.  But Lila kept watching JJ and Carl in the firelight.  The cold moping over there had passed and JJ was more at ease.  These days, he was able to pull out of the dark moods and be loose and funny, like he used to be.  Was it the money, the ridiculous lottery winnings?  This stupid farm that he bought?  Maturity?  What a horrible word, Lila thought.  Horrible goddamn maturity.

Then JJ and Carl were coming over and Lila thought they really were going to bludgeon this French guy and crush his little Euro guitar.  “Hey,” JJ said.  “We just came over to kick mon ami’s ass.”

“Funny,” Lila said.  “Are you having fun?”

“Yeah.  But we’re going for a walk in the woods. Do you all want to come?”

Lila hesitated and looked at Anne but Anne ignored them. Lila said, “Where did you get this French guy?”

“I thought he came with you,” said JJ.

“Are you kidding?  I’m only listening to him to piss you off.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means, let’s take that walk and leave these bums behind.”

Carl said, “I’m standing right here.”  But then he sighed, walked over to Anne and put his arm around her leaving JJ and Lila alone on the fringe.

They walked away and the night surrounded them.  The fire and the music seemed far away as they headed down the hill.  It was another dimension out here, all shimmery silver light and shadows of shadows.  People need to walk in the moonlight, JJ thought.  It’s the world in negative, a bizarro world where things can happen and time and distance are warped and stretched like Dali clocks.  JJ felt furtive and alive.

They reached the tree line and JJ said, “The back of the South Street cemetery is down this trail.  Let’s go look at it in the moonlight.”

The woods closed in and they soon reached a small clearing where they stopped and turned to each other.  Their hands joined and they stood in the moonlight, still themselves with all their history, but also new to each other, cast in this strange light.  Nature’s masquerade.

“Well,” JJ said.  “What are we going to do?”

“I’m waiting for a sign,” Lila said.

“So let’s walk to the graveyard and see what happens.”

“Ok.  I really don’t know what we’re doing.”

“We never did,” JJ said.  And they continued down the path toward the cemetery.

It’s a Marvelous Night for a Moondance

“Remember that time Benny was on crutches and had to hide in the bushes from the cops.  He couldn’t run.  He just kind of toppled himself into these shrubs…”

JJ, Carl, and their old friend Stevie D sat by the fire on JJ’s farm.  The farm-warming party was winding down.  The full moon was up and it was a big ol’ autumn moon to behold.  Some Euro hipster (Pierre?  Sven?) was playing guitar for a few of the ladies and Lila was eating it up, of course.  Carl’s wife was over there, too.  Their group sat apart, away from the fire because, according to Lila, the fire spoiled the moonlight.  The Euro started singing a familiar melody in French, “it’s a marvelous night for a moondance”.  All the girls laughed.  JJ wanted to find a rock that fit his palm and just club this guy, with his wispy beard and European ease, just club him into the ground.

Carl said, “And then we circle back and that sorry bastard is crutching down the road at two in the morning.  He was so pissed off!”  Carl and Stevie D laughed.  JJ managed a thin smile.

When JJ thought back to the old hijnks he didn’t feel the hilarity anymore.  He felt like he was entering a swamp, a wet sucking at his feet making it hard to move and releasing a reek of regret.  The capers, the pranks.  It was all fun, of course.  But it was tangled with the old feelings of being doomed and baffled.  Drunken escapades into the suburbs to drive on lawns and party on golf courses and beaches.  The cops came and you fled to another spot.  Always another spot and more cat and mouse.  JJ felt like he played cat and mouse his whole life with sadness and regret.  He would plug the hole for awhile with a girlfriend or city, then it would start oozing again.  He looked at Lila.  A surge of … warmth?  Longing for sure.  Caring, yes.  Then came the ooze of sadness and regret, the old resentments.

Carl leaned over and said into JJ’s ear, “Stop it.”

“Stop what?”


“Whadaya mean?”

“Move forward.  Fuck the past.”

“I’m just…I think it’s time for bed.”

“Stay with me, man.  Right here, right now.”

Stevie D shambled off to find something to drink and JJ and Carl sat looking into the fire.  They listened to the singing and the laughing but JJ did not look over.  The Euro sang, “Je ne peux pas avoir juste une danse avec toi mon amour?”

“I seriously want to crush that guy’s skull,” Carl said.  He reached down and picked up a rock that fit his palm.  “This look about right?”

“Yeah,” JJ said.  “Perfect.”  He smiled, a real smile.  “I’ll get the shovel.”