I Wanna Be a Rockette
The poetry in writing is the illusion it creates.
(© 2019 by the author)
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's
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As told by J.D. Handsome
The moment I saw them, I knew. My heart skipped a beat and I stopped breathing at the beauty I was beholding albeit in black and white. It was our first television set and there was much channel switching as my family tried to watch everything at once. It was the Christmas Holiday season.
My life-altering moment only lasted thirty seconds but that was long enough to etch what I was seeing into my brain forever. I didn't know who they were, what they were called, or where they were, but I knew that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was ten years old. What I saw were the most beautiful dancers in the whole wide world. I was giddy with joy as these dazzling beauties, with the longest legs I had ever seen, moved gracefully to the most brilliant, thrilling music my ears had ever heard.
I scoured magazines and newspapers trying to find out who they were, where they were, and if it were possible to see them in person. Dark clouds gathered overhead the day I finally came across photos and an article. They were The Rockettes who lived and danced at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City at 1260 Avenue of the Americas, Rockefeller Center. I found a map and pinpointed the exact spot where they were . . . and where I was not. So far away, so impossible. They may as well have been on another planet as far as I was concerned. What was I going to do? Oh, my God . . . this was awful.
In desperation, I began a scrapbook with everything I could find on these amazing creatures. Then the fateful day arrived when Mother found the scrapbook and asked me why I was collecting this 'stuff' as she called it. I didn't know what to say until she pressed me. And then I made a fatal mistake of sharing with her what was in my heart. I hesitantly told her that was what I wanted to be . . . "I wanna be a Rockette." She looked at me as if I had lost my mind and then began to laugh. "You can't be a Rockette, John. It's only for girls. Besides, I don't want a son of mine cavorting around on a stage."
I was dumbfounded, crushed, and mortified beyond chagrin at her laughter and dismissal of my precious heart's desire. I thought she loved me and would support me. But I was wrong. It was the first time in my young life I was made to feel shame . . . betrayed. Was there something wrong with me? I hide the scrapbook and felt the pain of trying to meet her expectations as her son, as a boy. I began to live a life that was expected of me while hiding my true feeling. What a terrible burden that became, But I bore it with dignity.
I finished grade school and managed to get through high school, avoiding playing any sports which I hated. Any activity requiring tossing a ball around bored me to tears. Most of the activities were innocuous, but football appeared to be very dangerous. All this bashing each other around for the sake of a ball. There were no boys in the cheerleading squad, so that temptation didn't exist. I also avoided participating in any of the arts programs though I know I would have excelled in any one of them. But, the fear of being shamed again kept me away.
My grades as a student were passing – just. So, the idea of college did not seem tenable. I joined the Navy after graduation just to get away from my family. After I was discharged four years later, I did not go back to my home town. Instead, I got a job-job and signed up for a dance class to begin my career on the stage. Much to my dismay, I soon learned it was too late. My body was never going to be able to dance like those beautiful Rockettes. Training for success in that field required an early beginning when your body was still developing and could be trained properly. Sadly, I was never going to hear the roar of the crowd or feel the magic when they screamed for more and more and more of my brilliance as a hoofer. I read somewhere that hoofer was the name they called professional dancers. My days as a hoofer never materialized.
I toyed with the idea of becoming a film or stage actor – anything to get me out there onto that stage. But a well-meaning friend quipped that I couldn't act my way out of a wet paper bag. Why was this happening to me? It seemed the Universe was against me in every way possible from achieving my heart's desire. I actually cried bitter tears . . . when I was alone.
The idea of becoming one of the greatest dancers of our age, my heart's desire, my dream began to wither and die an agonizing death . . . but not quite. The ashes were still warm. And so I gave into being what was expected of me by shelving my heart and all its desires. But, in the recesses of my mind were those warm ashes that refused to die and grow cold.
And so, with stoic resignation, I survived several decades of pretending to be like other folk and never enjoying a minute of it other than the independence I achieved and the distance I put between me and my unforgiving family. I moved over thirty times and lived in a multitude of places from the East Coast to the West Coast and even Hawaii for a year. San Francisco was my most favorite place, the cool air, and those wonderful cable cars were enchanting.
Before I knew it, retirement was upon me. I had time on my hands. Hours and hours, days and days with no demands so, what to do? Then I got a brain storm . . . I would write my memoir which, after a week or two, became so depressing, I burned it.
But wait . . . writing, putting words together into sentences and paragraphs came rather easily. I created little stories that weren't true but were funny and serious and sad. WOW. I could be anyone I wanted to be on paper. It was a perfect place to be outrageous, a terrible liar, sad, angry, loving, snooty, murderous, oversexed . . . especially oversexed . . . to be all these things and much more and be able to . . . get away with it. Double WOW. YIPPEE! I had something to do and I liked it.
That's it. My final act on this stage of life would be that of a writer. I was going to dazzle the world from the printed page. I could and would become anyone I wanted to be. Yes, including . . . a ROCKETTE. Those warm ashes burst into flames. I would have my dream of becoming a Rockette and much, much, more. I realized the Universe had not forgotten about me after all. How wonderful. How great. How marvelous. Oh, thank you Universe, I love you and won't disappoint you. I promise.
I even envisioned writing a prize-winning novel that would be converted into a movie and I would be nominated for, and WIN, AN OSCAR. After all the disappoints that assailed my life, I would be able to climb onto a stage and hear the roar of the crowd as I accepted my prize. I would smile and say a few well-prepared words and then . . . I would lip sync a baritone friend who would sing "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" and the audience would go crazy.
I now had a goal for my writing. I'd be able to dance until dawn. My legs could be as long and as beautiful as I wanted them to be, and at the same time, I could be the handsome dashing men who pursued me for my extraordinary beauty, intelligence, and charm. I would never have to grow old – I liked that idea.
WOW! I could hear the crowd roar as I took to the stage. I could feel the magic when they screamed for more, and more, and more, and more. They would be able to throw roses at me. I was going to have my dream after all.
Oh, my God . . . I can be anything I want to be, anywhere in the world. I can speak any language I want – how delicious. English can be boring when you're making love to a beautiful creature in some burrow on the French Riviera. And, I can be any color I want – red and yellow, black, brown, and white, of course. I think an American Indian, tall, dark and handsome with one of those feathered headdresses has all of possibilities for a huge success.
Or, a gigolo – that sounds like fun. I could be gay, straight, or bisexual . . . or all three at once, traveling the world giving comfort and happiness to lonely people. Maybe I'll write a story about a Gigolo to start things out.
How about being lost at sea during a devastating storm and some huge whale brings a stranded sailor and flings him onto the wreck of my boat and into my life. Oh, gee whiz, this is gonna be so much fun.
I can be an outrageous liar, but I have the power . . . yes, I have the power to throw in a twist that will surprise and delight the reader. And how about magic, and angels? I have a whole bevy of ideas about those wonderful creatures who I'm convinced roam among us on a daily basis looking for opportunities to help us without giving themselves away. The possibilities seem endless.
I once was in an old book shop and came across a very old fairy tale book from which I swear I heard children laughing and singing, and dogs barking. I can see a whole series of stories coming out of that old book and bookstore. And maybe the book store is under a good curse, so it only appears when there is a need and then disappears once that need has been met. How cool would that be?
And, of course, there's the Devil . . . who isn't as bad a fellow as most people think. In fact, he can be kind of sexy when he puts his mind to it, and I have some ideas when he does put his mind to it with some exciting and extraordinary results. Oh, my. I shouldn't write things like that. Sex with the Devil? Mother would never approve. But, come to think of it, I don't give a tinker's dam if she approves or not. I'll let Mr. Devil take the lead and do as he wishes to whomever he wishes and as many times as he wishes, and Mother can go suck an egg wherever she may be.
Ever seen a flying carpet? Or, actually been on one? Well, I have – at least in my mind's eye and it was pretty spectacular. I'll write about that and a few other things that come to mind. Gosh, will I have enough time to write everything I'm thinking about? Well, I'm gonna give it a try.
And when my time on this planet comes to an end, I can close my eyes and take a last thankful breath for having been able to fulfill my heart's desire on earth. I'll have my remains cremated and taken to the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge on a sunny day when the Santa Ana winds are blowing in from the desert. I'll invite the Gay Men's Chorus of San Francisco to sing "I WANNA BE A ROCKETTE" as my ashes are spilled into the warm winds on their way out to the Pacific Ocean, my final resting place. Oh, it's gonna be so great, so perfect.
And best of all, when I get to the other side, I know there will be the biggest stage in the Universe waiting for me where I'll be able to truly become a Rockette with the longest and most beautiful legs ever. The Angeles and Saints will be in awe, even the Devil will clamor to see me performing scenes that would drive Shakespeare crazy.
This is only the Beginning . . . Yippee, I'm gonna be a Rockette and I'll never be lonely again.
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