1st Free to Dance

Free to Dance

Solitude was company this morning. Emery stood out on the snow-covered ground, his breath dancing on the crisp, dawn air. 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4… Emery swayed and jerked to unheard music. His long, wool-coat fanned out with every turn of the rhythm, free with the moment. His arms swung out in opposition to his affected legs. He twirled around, jabbing at the air with Egyptian style inflictions, then swapped the style seamlessly, for a more modern tempo; snow kicked up in all directions, swirling wildly on that wave of silent jazz.

There was someone watching casually from the tree line. – Marian! As Emery glided around again and again, he snapped his head around to the spot where Marian stood, becoming transfixed as if a ballet dancer, halting a par-de-deux, with a ghost. His arms stretched out, wanting, before him. A thick mist of cold air escaped his exhilarated lungs, billowing and veiling his vision. As the vapour vanished, so did she. He had imagined it, the light playing tricks on him. Marian was gone. Emery swooned into a partnerless waltz, across the snow as his mood soured cruelly. He collapsed to the powdery ground, as the first light of day broke through the trees. Another day. Another long day. Emery stood and brushed snow from his coat, held it tightly to his throat and headed back to the apartment.

Vivian was boiling the kettle and fussing around the apartment, darting in and out of rooms, picking up papers to put them in other places. Emery felt dizzy watching. He made coffee. Two sugars each. Something in common at least.

‘Did ya have a good walk hon?’ Vivian chimed from the bathroom. ‘You still going to that audition today? You’ll be great! Anyhow…I’m meeting up with The New Harlem Crew later. They’re putting on a big musical production. I’ll get the lowdown for ya’. Vivian shot out of the bathroom and invited comments with exaggerated hand gestures, as he reached for his coffee. Emery looked Vivian up and down, making predictable remarks laced with feigned enthusiasm.

‘Oh, you. Gotta run! Work won’t wait.’ Vivian swigged the coffee, discarding it with a coy smile, on the counter and leant in, pecking Emery on the cheek. He left in a whirlwind of positive comments. Emery faked a smile. He was still fixed on the image of Marian standing there, watching from the trees. Had he imagined it? The door slammed shut, breaking him from his reverie.

Emery put the milk back in the fridge. He stood, transfixed as he slowly shut the door. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a familiar figure sitting on the couch in the living-room. He dared not look fully, fearing his sanity. He stood panting madly at the fridge door, frozen. Marian started humming. Emery closed his eyes and took a slower breath. He looked over to where Marian manifested, as solid as the red couch she sat on.

‘Well, thank God he’s gone. How can you stand it? Marian looked up, toward Emery, staring wide-eyed from the kitchen. ‘You’re not even gay! For Christ’s sake. Are you experimenting?’ She questioned.

The apparition seemed to snigger slightly, as she shook her head.

‘I’ve come to see you. Don’t I get a Hi or a smile?’

She stood and moved towards him, shaking off his shock with open arms, and embraced him heartily. Emery’s body, a momentary statue, melted, as his arms wound around an impossible Marian. She felt warm and soft. Tears fell freely from his astounded eyes as his grip tightened, suddenly fearful of letting her go.

‘How are you here? You feel so real.’ Emery pushed back and grabbed Marian by the shoulders. Confusion and joy waltzed awkwardly together, as he looked her up and down, in disbelief.

‘I never left you, my love.’ She released his grip gently. This is your moment. Believe it! I am here.’ Marian’s smile dissolved. ‘I cannot stay long but I am here’. She held his gaze and Emery swayed.

They moved to the couch to sit as Marian explained why she had come. It didn’t matter, that they were no longer together; that he should let go, that he should trust in himself and his talents, how today, everything was going to change. It must. This was his time to shine. The audition!

Later that day, he took to the stage and was effortlessly carried, on the bonds of a sacred love. Gifted a final dance with Marian, perfection, a reflection of that trust. The pain of her self-inflicted passing forgiven. Love was not lost, it merely transformed, and blessed the heart it dearly warmed. As he danced on with his angel, he could at last, let it be, and with the final bow, he set himself free.


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