The Date to Hell…and Back Again

Susan Gustafson

This took place in the late 80’s or early 90’s. I had been looking forward to an event at the Dome School, anticipating a fun and refreshing night of dancing to the music of Walt Richardson and the Morningstar Band.

My husband Craig hadn’t decided yet if he wanted to go or not. Then he asked me to go with him to Kerbyville Ghost Town; he had heard there was something going on there. I was torn as I didn’t want to miss the dance but he hadn’t asked me out on a date for a while so I reluctantly agreed. Then it turned out he wanted us to ride on his recently acquired motorcycle. I don’t like motorcycles; they feel unsafe. But off we went, and I froze because it had been so long since I had ridden on one that I forgot how to dress for it.

We arrived at the Ghost Town to see rows of motorcycles; it was clearly a biker event. It was very crowded inside, thick with smoke and nearly impossible to get served. There was a band playing but the atmosphere was about as different as you could get from Dome School: I couldn’t dance by myself and Craig didn’t want to.

I was wondering how soon I could ask to leave when out came a woman on stage. She did a strip tease which elicited the expected catcalls and whoops, but nothing out of control; just the whole thing was pretty tacky. Then out came a man doing a strip tease and women rubbed themselves all over him! Tacky doesn’t begin to describe it; I was embarrassed for womankind. Finally we left. Thank God.

Another freezing ride; I was thinking, okay, it’s still early enough. I can still go to Dome School. But to my horror, we pulled in to Red Garter! Oh my God! Would this nightmare never end? Evidently not. I was getting the feeling that Craig didn’t want me to go to the other dance.

So we hung out for a while at Red Garter. He seemed to want to make a night of it. Funny, even though we went there about once a year (in between Dome School dances) there were the same people we saw last time, with the same tobacco smoke.

After what seemed like forever, we finally left, for the freezing ride home. I was so disappointed by our date that I went and changed my clothes and said, “See you later, I’m going to Dome School.” Craig couldn’t believe it. He said, “You’re kidding!” But I just had to leave.

I arrived shortly before midnight to wonderful music and got to dance to the last song. It was enough. It felt like such clean energy, it was pure happiness. I divested myself of the negative energy from the earlier part of the evening, and felt cleansed. Then somehow, magically, everyone in the room formed a circle holding hands. We just stood there for a while, feeling the good energy. It was an incredible, warm and loving feeling. I was home again.

What a perfect ending to the date from Hell.