The Chronicle Gambia

To Dance In The Dark

Today I danced in the dark. I twirled around and swung my hips. I held my waist and shuffled back and forth. With my eyes closed and my mouth stretched out in a smile, I swayed and cut the air with my long arms. My heart rejoiced, my body rejoiced, my mind rejoiced. Nothing particularly special happened. I can’t point to any particular event that might have caused this bliss. Well I guess I could, but it certainly isn’t your typical dance-in-the-dark inducing event.

All I know is this, my battery was down to two percent, and the power had been out for hours. I wanted to conserve that 2%, so I put my phone away and looked outside my window. I just sat the wrong way on a chair and looked outside my window. As if they had never moved before, the branches and their leaves started moving against the sky softly, softly. As if they had held their breath, waiting for me to look their way, and as if as soon as I did, some anxious, invisible stage director prompted them to start moving. I like the thought of that, so I played with it in my head as I watched them. I was the audience, they were the cast who had rehearsed all their lives for this moment. For the moment I broke away from the bustle, from the flood of information, from the many things that had to be done, seen and sent.

I just sat there looking outside. It was so pleasant, so peaceful and cosy. It reminded me of a time when I had no phone and no use for the internet. It is a very fulfilling kind of boredom, an ecstatic idle. I must do it more often. It is amazing how, what you pay attention to comes alive. How it tears out of the muffled background and claims its space.

I found myself humming, and drumming tunes on the window seal. I am a terrible drummer, but that didn’t matter. The tunes resonated in the empty, newly painted room and it made me smile. It made me smile so I tapped my feet and hummed louder. To a listener, it might’ve sounded like a series of unsynchronized noises, but it sounded great in my head! I thrummed Cocoa Tea’s Hurry Up and Come on my knee caps and thighs, sang backup for Salif Keita, improvised the heck out of Ifang Bondi’s Faro and danced to Bill Withers’ Just The Two Of Us with some imaginary partner in my head.

The entire thing rose to a crescendo and well, there I was, dancing in the dark, alone in a room smelling of new paint. Hearing every little sound coming from outside, the rustling of leaves, a creaking door, a distant car horn, laughter from the street and loudest of all, the song in my head, a catchy tune from one of my favorite’s albums. I felt every detail, the surface underneath my feet, the air traveling through me with every breath, the clothes against my skin, intense gratitude and awe, just awe at nothing in particular, and everything at once.

The moment was a blessing, a blessing and a reminder that “we must also sit in beautiful solitude. We must look up more, we must stare more, at nothingness and at the things that can only be observed in tranquility.”

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