The title of this piece is inspired by the song "Wonderful Tonight" as performed by Eric Clapton. It was the song of my junior year promenade. The style of writing is influenced in some part by Fitzgerald and his work of genius, "The Great Gatsby."
It had been a long night, a wonderfully long night, and we tired six were about to return home. Our white limousine was waiting for us, parked behind a green mountain of hedge. We crawled inside, sitting in the same seats we had as we drove there: Fred and Amanda in the back, Peter and Sandra on the side, and Julia and I letting ourselves in last, sitting nearest the helm of the great car. There was still a buzz of conversation for a few moments more, but our tired bodies soon got the better of us. Fred and Amanda were the only certified couple in the car, and with more than a year together they were perfectly comfortable sleeping on each other at the far end of the blue interior. Peter and Sandra were quite at the other extreme. Both sat with a straight back and fixed eyes, apparently on an object resting someplace on the far wall which they deemed far more interesting that each other, as made evident by the three feet of seat between them. Julia and myself were in a kind of middle ground. I was last close to her the prior fall, and had only recently began to see her again, which made the fact that she agreed to go to my prom quite interesting. I had spent the majority of the night flirting and laughing with her, she had spent it teasing and laughing with me. Currently, she was starting to sleep against the door away from me on one of the two red pillows in the car. With one movement she shifted herself around, pillow dress and all, onto my shoulder, coyly asking “Is this okay?” as her laughing eyes looked up at me. I wouldn’t have stopped her for the world.
And that is how we remained for the entire ride home. Fred and Sandra were awake intermittently, but I was the only one who refused to surrender to the sleep that tugged down at my eyelids. Julia’s hands were hidden on the far side of her body and the steady rhythm of her breathing showed that she was asleep. My mind was spinning at the innumerable possibilities that might present themselves because of that night, yet at the same instant it was fighting to keep a cool and steady composure. I don’t remember very much for some time after then, so I suppose I nodded off as well. I must have because later the side of my face was colored with glitter, stolen from Julia’s head, no less.
When I woke up we were just about at our destination; our ride was nearly complete. The six of us had left from Peter’s house that afternoon, and we would be returning there before we scattered in our separate directions. Again, Fred and I were the only ones awake in the car and we decided to wake everybody up when we turned into the road leading up to Peter’s community.
“We’re almost there,” I whispered in her ear as I let my hand brush her shoulder. “You may want to wake up.”
“Fine,” she mumbled, still awash by sleep. She shifted again, nearly as quickly as she had at the beginning of our trek home, and no longer was she on my shoulder. She sat leaning against the door again yawning with the last chains of sleep clinging to her. By now nobody was speaking and the silence was overpowering. Clearly, unspoken words that night were understood, for it seemed everybody in that car knew exactly what everybody else was thinking.
Our long, white car finally rumbled to a silent stop, with the exhaustion of the lights and the killed ignition echoing soundlessly. The door creaked open by itself as man slipped by date thrice over to aid the exit from the fire white chariot. Six heads tired from an evening of giddy excitement and six pairs of feet drunk from a night of too much dance found their bearing at the foot of the long, blue driveway. With careful and chosen steps we shifted our way towards the yellow door, with the last sleep induced sparkles of beauty gleefully dancing on the others’ blue silhouettes…
…A pause to work our way around a shrub, then we sleep walkers on parade continued our shuffle towards the warm door of the quiet house even as we passed beneath a yellow floodlight kept company in the night by a gathering of moths whose tumultuous activity quite nearly rivaled ours of but a few hours before.
When we left Peter’s house in our own car some time later sleep was fastly overtaking both of us and the ride was entirely uneventful, some banter about my championship race just hours later in the morning and “Oh, I hope you run well,” were the only sounds as we drove on sleeping streets through our blue world.
We arrived at her house somewhat sooner than either of us anticipated, and once again it was I opening her door and helping her out of the automobile. We walked up the silver ladder of her walkway in the moonlight and stopped just before her door for the ceremonial goodnights.
“I had a really great time tonight, thanks for coming,” I said, floundering in my speech while fighting sleep.
“I’m glad I went,” was her smiled reply. “Oh, come here and give me a hug.” It was a tight, quick embrace. “I’ll call you,” she promised, “We’ll hang out sometime soon, okay.” I nodded as she spun into her yellow door, sending one last golden smile my way with sparkles of beauty dancing around her blue silhouette…