Ed Coonce thinks he can dance his way into our contest


I got it the first time.  Yet, I read this three or four times before posting it. I’ve decided to save my perceptions for the comment box, so I don’t influence your own understanding of what this says, and why I think it is brilliant. Ed is a renaissance man, talented actor, artist and author.  After you have had a moment to reflect on this entry, give him a visit at edcoonce.com.


by Ed Coonce


An old blue station wagon ran the stop sign at my front gate and hit my car in the driver’s side one winter morning. The wreck was deafening and horrific. Sheet metal and glass destroyed sheet metal and glass at fifty miles per hour. I never saw her coming. She was distracted, fumbling with something in her lap, and ran the stop without looking up.

The impact spun my car around in an instant. Airbags popped and I lost consciousness. When I came to, an ambulance was there.

While wheeling both of us out of the vehicle at the emergency entrance to the hospital, I managed to get a good look at the other driver. Something about the outline of her face looked so familiar.   I stumbled through my memory until the light of recognition flashed.

It was Liz, my long ago and far away high school sweetheart, the one I abandoned when I left for the Marines and Vietnam. I had never forgotten her eyes. Two months into my second tour, I found out she was seeing Harold, a local good guy who I only knew from a distance. I never wrote her again. I didn’t blame her, either.

She looked at me for a long time and I know she knew who I was. They took her away to emergency surgery, me to another room. The drugs slipped into my veins through the transparent intravenous tube. The liquid in the tube was tinged with pink, and eased the pain of my broken body. I drifted and looked directly skyward, at the television on the ceiling of the operating room. So You Think You Can Dance was on.


The ominous waltz
The ominous waltz

Dancer In Emerald is by Scottish artist Jack Vettriano, inspired by the Leonard Cohen song “Dance me to the end of love.”


12 thoughts on “Ed Coonce thinks he can dance his way into our contest

  1. Michael Stang says:

    Been some time since I’ve gotten to read the magic of Coonce. Well written, well told like he is sitting in the room with you.

    I’m liking this memoir driven contest Lost Love more and more.

  2. Diane Cresswell says:

    Yes the magic of Ed. I floated with this one – dancing with the images, the vivid descriptions, moving through the memory of recognition, dancing with the soul as it moved forward. Master storyteller. Love this.

  3. Miryam says:

    A lost love from the past….like a car crash….soothed by drugs and defeated by what will never be…
    An orchestrated tale that doesn’t lack one syllable of perfection.
    Love this Mr. Coonce.
    Thank you.

  4. Tiffany says:

    Did she sing the blues when she found it was you? A great touch and go of a story. I am so glad you’re sharing stories with us again. This was great. Simply great! And the ending, so abrupt, and fitting. You didn’t blame her, you simply noticed. Just like you (the character) noticed what was on television. A passing thought. A passing cross of crossed lovers and vehicles. The story told itself without getting weighed down with language. A lesson I am working towards…

  5. Mac Eagan says:

    The narrative is as good as anything you have written, but I find that the ending does not “resolve” the story, like you have given us a scene only. It might have been different had the character been hit by Harold – but with Liz being the other driver, I think I would have liked this better with something more than unconsciousness as the finale.
    Not that I am opposed to cliffhangers (I’m sure you know me better than that). But a cliffhanger leaves some suspense and here the story just kind of “drops.” Perhaps if a couple days later he found her room and went to visit her? And the story ended there, with the reader wondering how that meeting went?
    But the rest of the story is fantastic – great storyline and vivid descriptions.

    • Thornton Sully says:

      I hope in the future we get critiques as well thought out as this one by Mac. AWwYP serves as a de-facto writers’ workshop, so positive criticism is a good thing. I disagree with Mac: to me the story is fine as it ends, as it mocks the shallowness of our lives and values as compared to the horrendous experience of Vietnam.

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