The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Black and Gray

His set is winding down, but the guy with the guitar has a few more songs in him. The women who were singing along with his 90s rock covers have already headed home. There are a few other patrons, most watching basketball, so he plays a few songs he’s been meaning to practice. A couple enters and moves to the bar. The man has a scattering of hair still remaining, and the woman has a mane of gray that she touches like a teenage girl. They are smiling and laughing, they leave their coats, and he leads her to a semi-abandoned part of the sportsbar. There just enough room to dance. The guitar player is plucking a medium-tempo version of Pearl Jam’s “Black,” which isn’t exactly apt for a tango, but the music doesn’t matter. They are happy to spin out, to return, to put their arms around each other. She is happy to have him lead.

I am watching them like it is a dance recital full of my loved ones. I can’t break my gaze, even when my friend tries to tell me something. Instead, I wonder about their story–have they been married long? Have they just met? Will I be so bold if I get the gift of a long life? And they never notice me watching, which is part of what makes this scene so lovely for me. They aren’t dancing to be seen, they are dancing to be free. I keep humming along. I think I’ll keep humming that song and remembering those smiles for quite some time. I wish them the best.


old pepsi ad, prague pepsi, Pepsi-Cola ad


15 comments on “Black and Gray

  1. M-R
    March 27, 2015

    You’re outdoing yourself of late, Paige, you clever thing …

    • I’ve had a long patch of radio silence, so it’s nice to have people appearing in front of me and being fascinating. 🙂 Alleluia!
      Hugs, my friend–

      • M-R
        March 27, 2015

        Does that mean you’re simply more among others, then …? Goob. 😀

      • Yes, I think I can get caught up in my day to day and miss the lovely things. Better when I get out and watch the world around me, instead of grumbling around in my own details. 🙂 This was the point of the blog when I started it, so I have to remember my mission statement. 😀

      • M-R
        March 28, 2015

        Oh, we are at the same place, Paige …

      • Oh good! I find us being in the same place to be very, very heartening. 🙂

      • M-R
        March 30, 2015

        But when you reach my age, you’ll look at it from the other direction to be heartened ! 🙂

  2. sedge808
    March 27, 2015


  3. davecenker
    March 28, 2015

    Absolutely spellbinding and beautiful. I think we all have a hint of those feelings where we choose to do whatever our heart desires regardless of what others think. We are in the little world of our own creation, and we are living life to the fullest capacity that our heart’s know. I don’t even know the song, Paige, and my soul is humming along with you, remembering the smiles I never saw in person, but could certainly imagine. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful piece and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

    • Hi Dave,
      It’s not even the sort of song I’d expect anyone to find dance-worthy. 🙂 However, now that I’ve seen them twirling to it, the song seems very romantic!
      Thank you for another encouraging, thoughtful comment, Dave. I got very lucky when you found your way to my blog!

  4. 365dniwobiektywielg
    March 28, 2015

    Here in Poland, these ads have used in the 80’s but it can be seen from the back

  5. carolinebotwin
    April 8, 2015

    You convey much in few words…great!

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