(circa the beginning of February 2017)

Like double rainbows after an intense storm, another day creates a string of magic.

After the adventure in the sea last night, I don’t see how any day could match it’s sweetness. But today holds more promise for me under different rocks and across different waters.

In between yoga classes, a few of us from the ashram walk over to a small cafe and venue just down the road. There’s some sort of festival going on, which entices me. Donning a dress, I wind through the rooms of the cafe outside to the backyard, where about forty people are gathered.

As I look around, I see a palm reader setting chairs around her table. She beckons to me, and begins by stating, “I don’t tell the future. I only tell you what is now.”

I sit down as she cradles my right hand. A believer in the psychic gifts, I have encountered two women before at unexpected twists in my path who had some knowledge of the future. One was a deer-eyed woman behind a table of glittering crystals, another a pale lady of the wood. Little do I know but much do I expect that I have met the third woman who will speak my secrets.

She tells me many things, many good things that tear down the fears inside of myself. Tracing the lines etching my palm, she shivers as she says her truth. To seal the tapestry she weaves of fears and gifts, she tells me that I have the mark of the dancer, that I must let go of the repression I cage my body with.

What? I think. I hate dancing. 

Yet, after I leave her table and another takes my place, it is suddenly a time for dancing. Stephen, another Shri Kali student, grabs my hand and pulls me into a frenzy structured with the melodious beat of Bollywood. I don’t know what happens, but the fear that has built up inside climaxes, and then I feel nothing. I think nothing. I am moving as never before, Stephen next to me, arms over my head. Everything slows down and I find the movements for myself; I see them echoing before me like my voice in a cave.

Things come to me in blurs. A girl sings on a carpet, hair red, face pale, hooded over with intricate, exotic purple and maroon fabric. The eyes of the Indian dancer in front of me as he smiles and twists to the music. People talking, whisperings shuddering louder and slower before they snake out of my peripherals.

After I lose sense of time, the music ends and I find myself again, Stephen clapping and cheering, “You’re beautiful, darling! A beautiful dancer!” Sun high and hot in the sky, we trail down the road, back to the ashram.

Later that evening, we dance again at our first Bhajan. An Indian group of musicians comes, singing classical mantras, cymbals ringing, drums pounding, sitar melting like honey. One person gets up, then another, and then I am throwing myself into a dance on the rough cement floor of the ashram. I carve the movements, and soon I am a swan, arms tamed by the melancholy sitar, a tiger, prowling on the floor with padded feet, a calm-eyed girl who abandoned her fear of existing.

Red-faced, blood pumping, we are all there together, dancing in whatever unique way we want. Toine swaying to the music, dreads seemingly animated autonomously. Richard laughing with joy, running with his arms over his head. Julia with her waif-like limbs, radiant and mesmerizing as a fairy.

The music ends and yet the dance is not finished.

Good things happen in three; and the third verse takes place in a hippie commune a scooter’s ride away. Stephen, Jade, Henni and I make our way down a dark, wild path, moon gleaming over the half-forest around us.

We finally see a bonfire in the distance, the strum of the guitar wafting across the space. When we materialize out of the darkness, the leader of the band comes forward, asking us who we are and what we want, welcoming us a little warily. Introductions aside, we join the circle around the fire.

The same red-haired girl is there, the owner of the guitar. Her shroud is gone, and her voice has become powerful and broken as she cries out into the night of lost love, of abandonment, of giving up everything to become something new. The other migrants around the flames nod their heads, eyes awake and glistening.

Her war-cry. Their war-cry.

Only when the fire is burnt to cinders do I twirl around, sleepily. A spark drifting as the dance finally sets, leaving behind a glorious sky of fire.

2 thoughts on “Mark of the Dancer

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