The strings hit the mournful first note. And the dancers bent their heads in honor of the first step.

“Oh how they bore us with their folk music. After a while it’s just annoying,” you said with a smirk of complicity.

We were in their country. They were hosting our event. The songs they sung and danced were my lullabies, the other soundtrack of my celebrations of rites of passage, and my laments.

It was an expression of being together in this time and place. An invitation to partake. When the dancers stretched their hands our way you snatched the bottle and walked off. Your us rent me apart.

I joined the circle in perfect step with the dancers, along with the other guests who, fumbling, looked at me as though I’d dropped my mask. But it was still just me dancing in the middle.


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