Patrick Swayze Lives On (in a garage in Sacramento)

I went to boarding school, and during holiday vacations I would fly back to my parents home in Los Angeles. My best friend lived in Sacramento, so we would fly to San Francisco together and then I would catch a shuttle flight down to LA.

One holiday break I flew up a few days before school started so we could go to an Aerosmith concert together (we had a mutual obsession). My friend and her mom picked me up from the airport and the whole way to her house we talked excitedly about the concert.

My friend’s mother was a nurse, and I remember her as always being very well put-together and poised. I sat up a little straighter when I was around her and made sure not to laugh too loudly or smack my gum. She brought that out in you. She was such a stark contrast to her daughter – who was a self-confessed raging hypochondriac.

So imagine my surprise when we pulled up to their home and drove into the garage. I was so shocked all I could do was stare.

It looked as if a 1987 Tiger Beat had recently exploded in there. Everywhere you looked there was Patrick Swayze’s open, handsome face. The walls were covered with Swayze posters – Roadhouse Swayze smoldered from one corner while shirtless Swayze with a horse glistened from another. There was Dirty Dancing Swayze, of course, silhouetted Ghost Swayze and even Point Break Swayze.

The rest of the garage was spotless and well organized. I felt Mr. Swayze’s eyes on me from every corner and thought to myself, Never once has my friend mentioned this (slightly freaky) Swayze obsession. Should I be afraid to sleep here?

At this point my friend noticed me standing there, mouth agape. “Oh, God, I know. My mom has, like, the biggest crush on Patrick Swayze. It’s so embarrassing.”

Her mother closed the garage door and turned to me, smiling dreamily. “I just love his dancing.”

And with that she went inside the (perfectly kept) house and proceeded to make us homemade Chinese Chicken Salad (which was freakin’ delicious, BTW). She didn’t elaborate any further on the Swayze poster situation and I didn’t ask.

After dinner I went back into the garage and spent several minutes looking at all the different posters. I remembered how I felt the first time I saw Johnny Castle gyrate his hips and grab Baby with those arms of his. I immediately ran back inside and went to find my friend.

“Can we watch Dirty Dancing?” I was literally breathless with anticipation.

She smirked. “Happens every time, to everybody who sees those posters.”

I was not at all surprised.

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze.


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