How Did We Get Here

by Leah Heath

They step up and close their eyes, pulling their entire selves into this moment. Complete and totally. Anticipating the final resurgence for the crowd. They begin by first moving their arms. Bones moving smoothly under their skin, shoulder blades moving…IN…OUT.

The crowd wonders what they’ve seen to get to this point. What memories flash through these women’s eyes to make them move the way they do. They create these images for the crowds as well though. One man thinks of his wife’s arm, sliding across the cream bedsheet. A woman sees her mom slam a stick near her feet in a heated act to prompt removal of one’s presence from the room.

Breathe in so loud, everyone can hear you. Hands skyrocket. Make sure not to point your toes. This is not ballet and life is not so graceful a dance as to be thought so. Snap into position, noting positions of yourself and those around the room, as well as a moment for the audience to think about that one movement, and continue.. Open lungs meet with open ribs. We make sure to put our entire selves into this dance. Giving ourselves to these strangers, who will then go home to sleep with these memories we make for them.

A man in the hall just outside finds a sharp piece of mirror. He picks it up and wraps it into his hand. Sliding the shard into his pocket but make sure to keep its grip. Slide into the crowd and experience this bewitchment first-hand. Crazy, right! You feel the rhythm. How is this not creating a chain reaction with the audience? The man with the mirror piece decides to be the first of the chain.

Stepping out of the audience and up to the edge of the stage. He stands up there with his fist raised, and within it a shard of the mirror. Everyone stops and stares. The dancers stand straight backed with hands at their sides waiting to see what he’ll do. He stands, still with all eyes on him, and slams the shard to the ground. Bursting ethereally across the dance floor. Oh no! They’ll cut their feet now, he thinks. He looks at the main dancer, inhales and steps onto the shattered mirror bits, creating a sheering sound against the ground. He starts his own dance to invoke them all. This…this is how it is supposed to be done.

Enticing the rest of the crowd, they get up and start in this flowing dance. Individually they figure out how to move their bodies in this chaotic way. Feeling the rhythm, one woman crouches low to the ground and picks up one of the mirror shards and laughs. Laughing, everyone continues, as the dancers watch. We’ve ruined this game for them, unable to dance; they could, of course, make a choice. Stay outside of what was once their box, or mar their feet forever to be a part of this one beautiful and unrelenting night full of the movement in their bones. The choice is yours.

Illustration by Queenn Mckend

Illustration by Queenn Mckend