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Skin Deep II: The Dance
by Mark McDonald
©2002 Mark McDonald -- all rights reserved

For the souls lost 9/11.

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."

Joseph Addison 1672-1719


My goodness, how nice it is to see you here again. I do hope you liked the first volume. I have to admit, that after all the revisions, it came out pretty good.

Hum? I'm sorry, what did you ask? More? Of course there's more! As a matter of fact I just finished going over a piece of it right here. I'm glad you see that you're eager to find out what's happened to Michelle and Gary in the course of the last eighteen years. They're such a fun couple. But I have to admit; Gary has slowed down just a little. All that work at The Red Fish you know and he's about to celebrate his fortieth birthday.

Overall they continue to dance the dance of life. We all do, don't we? What else is there but death? I don't think any of us want that. So we wait for the band to throw out a tune. Most of us choose a partner while others dance alone, and when the music starts we dance. Some better than others, admittedly so, but we all dance just the same.

Even children dance, for many years we, as children, dance with our feet on the shoes of our parents. We find our footing at different times in our lives and step off those shoes to join in on our own. We are all clumsy at first. It takes time to learn how to do this on our own, but in time and with practice we all get the steps down that are most comfortable to us.

The hardest part comes when we are forced to step off the shoes of our parents before we are ready. When we have to walk to the center of the dance floor in full view of everyone before we are prepared to even walk, let alone dance! Then before God and everyone we are expected to pick out a partner and start to move. Inevitably, Aunt Judy or your Grandmother squeals, "Isn't that just the cutest thing you've ever seen!" But you don't feel cute. Instead you're frightened and embarrassed. You want nothing more than to retreat and hide under the buffet table until the band stops playing and everyone leaves. Then maybe, just maybe, you can get out of here without anyone seeing you.

But the band doesn't stop, does it? The dance just goes on and on with an ever widening array of partners through the fat of your years until at last you're dancing the Last Waltz, that swan song of your time that demarcates the end of your life.

Most of it's good though. The Dance, if you look at it the right way, is a celebration of life -- not a humiliating event to hide from. It's a vast tapestry of colors, emotions, sights, smells, and embraces taken during good and bad times, when you're sad or happy or angry. These things all go to form the music we dance to. When it's heard all together, at the songs end there is such a glorious sound that you might believe you have just heard the trumpets of heaven. How can that ever be a bad thing? There are the uncomfortable moments, the sad times and times spent full of worry, but given enough time the memory of those fade to the shadow of an unpleasant dream and you are left with fonder more vivid colors of your tapestry to look upon at your journeys end.

The biggest part of the Dance is that we have to all do it together. Whether you recognize all the people in the room or not, we are in the same dance hall together. At some point our steps will bring us together and we had all better be polite and gracious to each other. If we're not then we run the risk of someone seeing how we acted and treating us the same way.

Heavy huh?

Oh well, all we can do is do our best, right?

I'm promise you this, if the time comes where you and I find each other dancing for however brief a time as life allows or requires, I'll try not to step on your toes. How's that?

Until then, have a beer and here... try reading this... Why, it's the first page of The Dance!

Let me know what you think when you're done or when you need another beer, OK?

Mark McDonald
Paris, France
Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Skin Deep chapter 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Skin Deep II foreward chapter 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 epilogue
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