Dancing in the dark – ghosts of the past

When I was young “what if” was a term we used for the future as in “What if I stood in the sun until I caught on fire?”

When we got older it was “What if I’d married him?” or “What if I’d gone to Nepal in 1978?”

And now it doesn’t matter. That tortured question of the soul has played its course and it is back to what could be and “what now?”

I’ve written a lot on the subject mainly because I don’t want my kids to grow up and be tortured by that question, but we all are from time to time. It is part of the very fabric of our culture.

But I didn’t say we couldn’t say “what if” about others. That is extremely entertaining and judgmental (but none the less still entertaining.)

It is still blinding hot here in the triple digits. The grass in the fields in typical California fashion is brown for the summer. It is dry and hot and arid. Even at night the air has stayed hot and the Delta breezes have left for other ports.

Last night I stood out under the stars and tried to see what stars were out. In the field I could see the ghosts dancing a close romantic waltz. He is in a black suit, she in a flowing dress, the two of them oblivious to the heat. They were beautiful as they danced. At one point they stopped and he took her face in his hands and kissed her tenderly as only those truly in love can kiss.

And I wonder what if they had not died in such violent ways, centuries apart from each other? Would he now be still here, a successful man now in his 50’s with a family and career? Would she have been long forgotten by history, another 16th century lady only remembered in a nameless portrait hanging in an obscure museum? Would she have had a husband or children? What if they had not become trapped forever as earth bound ghosts?

“What if I had taken another road, a different road, a road less traveled?” is a question best left for ghosts. For the question we must teach our children is to always ask what is possible now.

dancing in the dark

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



    1. Thank you so very very much for your kind words. This is going to go down as a favorite post of mine (we’re all romantics at heart.)

  1. Fraid I can’t hear the phrase, “Dancing in the Dark,” without thinking of Springsteen and tapping out the rhythm on whatever’s at hand. The vibe could not be more different than two ghosts a-waltzing, but it does have its own virtue. For one thing, I don’t think melancholy and this song can coexist at the same time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UuCXjr_PrI

    1. Yes, I know it well. Great song. I didn’t even think about it. Friends in England just saw him there last week! They were so excited about it.

      I didn’t hear the music – only imagined what was in their ghostly hearts. I suppose you could go with Night Waltz from A Little Night Music (Sondheim), but that is a little too aggressive. Then again Van Morrison singing Moon Dance – always a favorite of mine. Or Blue Moon…I should do a post about night songs.

  2. You know, we could still go yak back through the Himalayas.

    And you know? Even if you didn’t go way back when, your adventuresome spirit is something I still associate with you today. See, you didn’t really have to go, you just have to maintain the desire.

    1. It is like the whole Kafka thing…we change our view as we become more experienced and jaded. I doubt if it is the same Nepal as it was in 78. I know I’m not the same girl. But yes, Nepal, if not how about Alaska next summer or Ireland or even Italy? Then again, marriage has proved to be quite the adventure, not to mention parenthood.

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