T-Squared Energy Connections
April 20, 1966 – Sara and Stuart
Sara met her mother at Table for Two after school. Their mission: find Sara a prom dress.
Table for Two opened four days earlier, on Main Street in Hartsburg. The restaurant provided the ideal spot to meet and strategize the search for a perfect dress.
Sara arrived first. She paced up and down in front of Table for Two with a bounce in her step. Weeks of scouring magazines came down to pictures of half a dozen dresses she liked.
Marge rushed up to the Sara, “Sorry I’m a little late honey. I had a cake in the oven for tonight’s pinochle club. It’s my turn to bring dessert.”
Marge sat and looked over Sara’s display on the bistro table. “I like this one. It suits you; stylish but modest. The colors will show off your rosy complexion and green always brings out your eyes.”
Sara was jumping for joy. She included dresses her mother wouldn’t like, hoping they would agree on her favorite. And they did.
“I think I saw a dress almost like this in the shop down the street. I hope it fits. This might be the one,” she said, holding up the picture of a flowered dress with a pink ribbon at the waist.
“Let’s just sit for a bit and talk about prom. I could use a coffee. Would you like a cola?”, Marge asked. She wanted to be sure Sara’s expectations were realistic.
“Now? Can’t we wait till after we find the dress?”
“You are about to jump out of your skin. I need a few minutes to catch my breath so I can keep up with you,” Marge said, looking over her shoulder as she entered Table for Two.
* * *
Sara dreamt about going to prom but thought it was out of reach. A shy girl, Sara had a hard time making friends. Plus, she transferred to Hartsburg High last November, two months into her senior year. Most students lived in Hartsburg their whole lives. They moved from elementary school to middle school to high school as a group.
Starting in January, Sara overheard girls talking about their prom dates, shopping for dresses, and before and after parties.
“One more rite of passage I will miss,” Sara confided in her cousin Stuart at an anniversary party in March for their grandparents .
“We’ve moved around so much for dad’s job there’s never enough time to make friends. I feel like a shooting star. Now you see me, now you don’t.”
“I see you Sara. May I take you to your prom? That is, if no one else invites you.” Stuart asked.
Sara bit her lower lip and nodded her head.
“Karen won’t mind?”
“Too bad if she does. I’ve known you longer and like you better. Anyway, I think she’s got her eye on some fraternity guy she met at Christmas. He owns a faster car and lives in a better neighborhood.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Who cares about those things?”
Having spent the last ten summers together on their grandparents’ farm, Stuart and Sara became best friends. Stuart felt like a protective older brother. Sara experienced what it might be like to have a sibling. They fed chickens and pigs every day. They mucked out stalls and groomed the horses. The reward for their hard work was naming a foal to raise as their own and learning to ride. Stuart named his horse Dandy. Sara named hers Lilly for her favorite flower.
Sara and Stuart loved night rides. Chores were done. A peaceful blue-black cloak enveloped the earth. Galaxies of stars shimmered from one horizon to the other, evoking a sense of infinite space. Time stood still.
Sara and her mother were back at Table for Two making a list of things to do before prom.
“The dress is perfect, except for the length. Grams can shorten it.” Sara made a note to call Grams when she got home.
“You’ll need shoes. I think I have an evening bag you can use,” Marge added.
“How about jewelry? I hate the way earrings pinch. Can I get my ears pierced? The jewelry store does it. Please, mom.”
“Your father would have a conniption. How about I let you borrow my pearl necklace. It was a gift from your father. He would like that. Goodness, look at the time. We better get home. I’ll need you to help with dinner. Daddy and I are going over to the Meier’s for cards tonight.”
Stuart picked up Sara in his father’s car on prom night. Matt, Sara’s father, met him at the door.
“Hello Stuart. Be sure Sara has evening to remember and stay out of trouble. I expect you back by one.”
“Sure thing Uncle Matt.”
Sara walked into the room and took a spin to show off her dress and hair.
“Where’s your pick-up?” Sara asked looking out the front window to the driveway.
“Tonight we go in style. You look stunning, by the way.” Stuart handed Sara a wrist corsage of lilies.
Sara pinned a red rosebud boutonniere on Stuart’s white tuxedo jacket.
“You’re beautiful, princess. Have fun, but not too much, if you know what I mean” Matt said as Sara and Stuart walked out to car.
* * *
“You are floating on air Sara. Was prom everything you expected?”
“More. The music, everybody dressed up and on their best behavior, the stars hanging from the ceiling of the gym. It reminded me of our night rides. Thank you, Stuart.”
“Such a beautiful night and too early to go home. Let’s go to Gramps farm and take Dandy and Lilly out,” Stuart suggested. We’ve haven’t been there together in a while.”
“Curfew is not for another hour. Besides, we can call my parents from Gramps phone and let them know we might be late. I think it will be okay.”
Marge answered the phone and gave her blessing for a midnight ride. At least she knew Sara was safe with Stuart. It was better than a post-prom party where who knows what might happen.
* * *
Stuart saddled the horses and gave Sara a boost on to Lilly before mounting Dandy. They rode out along the fence line till they reached the end of the property.
Taking a deep breath, Sara tilted her head up at the starry sky. The moon was behind the trees. “Look over there Stuart. A shooting star. Make a wish.”
As the tail of the star disappeared, Stuart asked, “What did you wish for Sara?”
“It’s the same every time. I wish people would look past the leg braces and see me.”
“I see you Sara. I see you.”