LOOK BACK WITH LONGING
When classically trained dancer Geneva Sterling auditions with British variety dancer Tony Selby in 1915, the magic they create is immediate. How can anything stand in the way of these two gifted dancers, bound for an illustrious career on the stage? Yet, each is guarding a secret from the past-the hidden details of which are derailing their futures even as they first meet. Their dancing will defy all limits. Will their love defy all odds?
Excerpt from PROLOGUE:
November 30, 1959
Geneva stands on the front walk of 1207 Heights Boulevard, shivering in her wool traveling suit. She had forgotten how quickly the sky will turn from hazy blue to iron gray and the temperature will plunge, when the sharp swift blade of a cold front cuts through Houston. The house is for sale again, according to the sign, and luckily it is vacant: She will be spared asking permission to walk around the back of the property. How would she convince the owner of her wish to see a place she knew once upon a time, when no visible evidence remains that it was there?
It strikes her as ironic that while it was not by choice she moved to this address forty-five years ago, she wound up residing here for more years than anyone else, before or since. The house is in pretty bad shape at this point— the wood siding is all but bare of paint, and wears the fragile patina of age; the screen in the screen door has curled away from all four corners of the frame, as if offended by its disrepair; and the window shades have warped and turned the color of tobacco stains. Yet—at least from where she is standing at this moment—the house appears structurally unchanged from the way she remembers it, with the wide wrap-around porch, the bay windows in the two front rooms, and the oval window in the center of the second story, from which she once peered down to watch the sure-footed field of energy that was Tony Selby walk out of her life before she could fully appreciate what she was losing.
No sign exists of the lush gardens once here, over which she toiled for hours, her knees and back aching, sweat pouring off her forehead and upper lip, and trickling down between her breasts and shoulder blades. Snapdragons, begonias, impatiens, petunias and many another variety grew in this part of the yard where there was a good balance of light and shade; and a bed of roses grew in the sunny side yard. All the flowers she planted—but especially the roses—were a means of holding on to a memory, and forming what she hoped from time to time and against all reasonable odds, might be a bridge between past and future.
Apparently one of the succession of owners abandoned the challenge of growing grass in the front yard, for there are only a few brownish patches here and there, and the rest is bare earth, making the ground look like it has a skin disease. You were always up against the many thirsty trees with spreading branches: oaks and elms, and sweet gums with prickly pods that stung like spider bites under bare feet. She recognizes most of the trees in the yard today as having been here when first she came. They survived the 1915 storm in far better shape than she did.