• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 02
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Silent Dancing

The full moon shines on me. I shouldn’t be here on my own dancing silently on the sand between the rocks. I think of Aamir. About his arms around me. About what we’ve done here. About what we’ve all done.

I remember my mother’s smile as she circled in dance with me and my sister, my grandmother dancing on her own away from us all. Both remember the time before. The stories etch across my grandmother’s face. Her eyes no longer see. She says that it is better that way.

We danced in silence. The only sound was our feet twisting and turning, churning up the sand, my grandmother beating out a rhythm on the rock with the heel of her foot, arms lifted to the starlit sky.

Now they have all gone and it’s just me. I want a moment to myself to remember. Tomorrow Aamir will leave. He has no choice. All men his age have to go and fight. They leave this silent world for the noise of gunfire and explosion. Meanwhile we are left behind with nothing. No joy. No celebration. We are not meant for that.

Earlier my sister Jaseena broke the circle to ask our grandmother, ‘What was it like, you know, music?’ She wants reassurance that there was ever such a thing.

‘Ah child,’ my grandmother muses, a sudden twitch to her lips, ‘it is a rhythm and beat, instruments singing to one another, voices high and low in harmony like the river’s flow or rain beating on a tin roof, like feet in gravel, like your footprints in the sand.’

I had laid my head on Aamir’s shoulder and imagined it wishing this night would last forever.


Silent Dancing

We have broken many rules tonight. Not only have we been dancing, I’ve been dancing with a man who is not my husband, holding him, loving him, my head uncovered. ‘We have the sea,’ Aamir whispered, reading my mind, ‘that is our music and we have this moment and that can never be taken away for it lives in our minds and hearts like your grandmother’s memories.’ He is different. Not like the others. I see in him my future.

I hold on to that now as I stand on the rock my grandmother vacated ten minutes ago. The larger overhanging rock is now in shadow and looms over me like an angry man, reminding me that time is passing and the stars have shifted overhead. Come morning the daily routine will begin again and the eyes of men will be on us. I lift my arms to the moon. I swear I hear her singing and while she is there hope lingers. I begin to walk home my black headscarf tightly drawn, song ringing in my ears, the shuffle of my feet making music as I walk.