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Dance of Life



(Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street, Berlin)

We dance through our lives. Ever been to a waltz where partner changes from every turn of the back, every swirl of the body? I was once in a waltz, where happened to be my most eventful, I found myself pursuing in coincidence by two women in their prime. Despite my visible discomfort away I danced with the more striking one of the two, leaving the other grimly jilted. Her palpable sadness I can still recall- two eyes stared straightly to the front while the shadows of dancers skidding before her higgledy-piggledy. What belied those eyes was fire of jealousy that simmered, whose tongue lashed over across my back. Flicker of fire that itched me.

Not only in love but we also dance through all aspects of life. That was how I once waltzed pass a fair, where a troupe of children with hobby horses on their heads frolicked about. How I was seized with a sudden panic when those hobby horses surrounded me so, as if I was the sole target of their feast, a bevy of unflappable bees. They raced their dances around me until my eyes could no longer discern an individual out of a throng, like a stream of variegated banner in advance. The ruler on a balcony above the crowd raises his hand to appease the unruliness. He commands to reorder the unorderly, “I commanded a play not a mayhem,” he said. A thousand voices, though barely-audibly squeaky, shrieked back: “We are playing.”

“Yes we sure are playing,” came my rejoinder. I mingled into the throng and together we hastily organized an order. However, the cues we could hardly follow and we shoved off each other, vying for a position that was already occupied by another. The ruler was clearly enraged by what he witnessed. “Take to me your leader,” he bellowed. A thousand hobby horses raised their props in response to him.

I was thus swept away from the fair, deep into the unknown I ventured. Tapping our shoes we danced to the imaginary sounds that awakened the vicious, but never the dead. We did stumble upon a few graves, whose names we could hardly assume through their mounting snow. Snow smoothed our ragged gaits and we danced, never before were we that wildest. We wrote the names with the tilted tip of our shoes. The snow eventually melted and revealed, the names we wrote and those who were there, but all were forgotten, that and that and that, all gone.

It was not until we took off the hobby horses, did it dawn on us that we were still in the fair. You gaped at us from above, us in the ring, faces smeared with paints and tears, still baying above the loudest. “This joke and game is no fun,” I finally sobbed.


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