The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed Suzanne Mercer after Thanksgiving dinner at my house.  This is the story of how she met her future husband at a Reading Hospital sponsored dance.

The dance had begun only about half an hour ago, so most of the guys and girls were still shuffling into the gymnasium wearing their suits and ties. It was a dance put on by the Reading Hospital, so Sue, as a nursing student there, was able to go for free. The men, however, were invited simply by posters and advertisements the Hospital sent out to churches and other universities in town.

Most of the men were fine; they were polite, attractive, and kind, and as a result many of the nursing students found their future husbands at parties such as these. Suzanne was no exception. She was tall, with happy, caring eyes, and she was patient and calm. As she stood with some of her friends drinking some punch, she suddenly felt a timid tap on her shoulder.

“Excuse me, miss, might I have this dance with you?”

Just missing her friends’ winces, she turned around, a smile on her face, to see who her courtier was.

A pimple by his eye. Two on his cheek. Three, four, five, six pus-places on his jaw, another thirty on his nose, and no fewer than twenty thousand whiteheads on his forehead. His face was rough and scarred, as though the solution to his acne had been a dirty, uncleaned hunting knife, used to slice away the mess every day since the first hair sprouted on his chin.

Suzanne’s peaceful smile turned into a look of shock, which she immediately restrained as much as possible to avoid hurting his feelings.

Dear Lord, she thought, how will I get out of this!

“Oh, um, it’s awfully nice of you to ask, but I’m actually waiting for a specific person to arrive,” She felt herself begin to sweat nervously, “perhaps if he doesn’t show?” He turned away slightly.

“Alright. I’ll check back with you later - or, hey, maybe you could come find me!” He said enthusiastically. Suzanne respected his optimistic attitude, but knew she absolutely could not dance with this guy.

After a few minutes, as the party was really kicking into gear, Commander Spot returned.

    “Hey, I notice your date hasn’t shown up yet, how about that dance?” He asked confidently.

    “I’m not sure,” she replied, as politely as possible, but he was persistent. He kept asking, over and over again, every few minutes, until she had lost her plentiful patience. She looked past him, into the background, only to lay her eyes on a gentleman swaying on his own, clearly enjoying the music.

    “Excuse me, I actually see the guy I’ve been waiting for - I’m sorry!” She told him, walking past him into the crowd. She approached this random gentleman and asked him to dance. He obliged; he liked her eyes. They spoke, got to know each other. She learned his name was Chester, but people called him Chet. Eventually, the pair began going on dates, seeing each other more and more, until they married shortly after Sue graduated from nursing school.

Commander Spot

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