ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Shining On

Updated on February 4, 2013

At a wedding reception in Thrasher Park, a wooden dance floor set out in the grass in front of the swings teemed with dancers young and old. The DJ played old soul, funk, “The Electric Slide,” and “Cha-Cha Slide” while Pauline, the oldest living black woman on earth, danced wherever her gin flask carried her around card tables near a series of grills broiling steaks, hot dogs, burgers, and fish.

From behind a nearby chain-link fence on the basketball court, Johnny browsed the potato salad, greens, wedding cake, chips, corn on the cob, and Kroger can sodas. His friend A. J. had invited him to the party, but he didn’t come to eat. He came to play some basketball and maybe see some pretty girls.

Though the music was loud enough for Johnny to feel the beat rumbling up from the asphalt, Johnny didn’t sing along with the other players. He couldn’t. He didn’t know the words because he couldn’t hear the words, and he had never spoken a word in his life. He only felt the beat and heard music with his eyes.

Bored with playing one-on-one, A. J. nodded toward the dance floor. “Come on,” he said. “You gotta dance.”

Johnny sighed. It was the story of his young life. A. J. dragged him into one adventure after another, Johnny’s hearing aids growing larger the closer he got to girls.

They weren’t the largest hearing aids ever made, but to Johnny, they were huge, like earmuffs the size of basketballs, and they were useless. They preceded him wherever he went and made him stand out more than his whiteness did at Thrasher Park.

At the edge of the dance floor, a pretty brown girl with dark eyes and long black hair held out her hand to him.

“Go on,” A. J. said, shoving him slightly.

Johnny let her take his hand while two Peavey loudspeakers made the floor jump under his feet.

He wanted to tell her he was a lousy dancer. He wanted to tell her that she looked pretty. He wanted to tell her his name. He wanted to ask her for her name. All he did was smile at his basketball shoes and feel the warmth of her hand.

While other dancers did handstands, splits, the Worm, and spun around, Johnny did more marching in place than dancing. He watched the girl’s slender hands rise in the air, noticed her burgundy fingernail polish, watched her bare feet move near his, tried to keep up with her, the prettiest girl there, her hair whipping in front of him, while older boys leaned forward in chairs under the trees and watched her dance. He read her lips as she sang along, wondering what her lips tasted like, wondering why she chose him, the only white boy there, wondering why his feet stumbled while hers glided so easily across the floor.

He stepped on her toe. “Sorry,” he mouthed.

She smiled. “It’s okay,” she said.

He shook his head.

She grabbed his hands tightly, and he could feel the beat coursing through the tips of her fingers. “It’s okay,” she said again. “I have nine others.”

Johnny smiled. Her pretty lips were easy to read.

They continued to dance, her eyes looking into his whenever he dared to look at her face.

The beat ended. Dancers faded away to the food. She still held his hands. They were alone on the edge of the dance floor.

He wanted to say thank you. He wanted the music to start again. He wanted to know her name.

“Thank you,” he whispered or hoped he whispered.

“You’re welcome,” she said.

A. J. waved him back to the court where a game was starting.

She squeezed his hands and released them before turning and walking away.

Johnny liked how she walked, as if she were dancing to the beat of his heart.

He drifted through a game of basketball, not complaining that no one passed him the ball though he was usually open, not caring if he made a single shot, not caring if his team was winning. He watched her dancing with her friends as lights winked on and the air turned cooler. She became a slender silhouette with flashing hair, a dark barefoot star moving through the night with the coolness of a breeze.

Johnny decided that moment to love, protect, and cherish her and this moment forever because he was the only white boy there, the only deaf boy there, the only one watching only her face and her hands, the only one who saw her shining on.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)