I looked into the eyes of my beloved, and I was set free. Feeling the crisp crunch of gravel under my feet I stop to admire the gathering encompassed in tacky lights and excited murmurings from the henna party. Yet, I cannot take another step. Symptoms of “The fear of being rejected on sight” begins to take over. My hand is clammy and shaking to the tripled beat of my heart. I am anchored and frankly… scared. Scared of the scrutiny that would be pivoted my way from the countless certified scrutinizers aged two months and up. Licking my overly dry lips, I make up my mind that I am not ready nor welcome to this party. Surely they will see ‘Americanized, lost, and confused freak p.s. Save me?’ written on my forehead. Having given enough thought to the matter, I almost take the necessary steps out of an embarrassment only to halt for his voice.
It starts at the sole of my feet, reaching my thighs and then lower back. Deliciously it creeps to my shoulder blades, teasing the hairs on the nape of my neck, smooths over my jawline and reaches my ear, softly crooning… dance, dance, dance
I heed it’s call, let it overtake the power of my legs, and follow. As if blinders are placed upon my head, all I can feel, see, and taste is music… divine music which is swirling within this vortex that was me. I look upon rows and rows of hand holding men, women and children dancing steps that have been danced for generations. At this I pause. Fear is back, loosening the gentle grip of his voice, and replacing it with sheer dread for I don’t know the steps. But his words… his words though they have no concrete meaning, I understand, and I rejoice.
The floor is literally glowing from all the raw emotion. Young girls flutter their lashes in modesty trying to catch the attention of the young boys who happen to all desire that one unavailable beauty. Mothers whisper and poke at their eldest daughters to put on the best show to attract mother in-laws. Daughters stay tight lipped and non-smiling throughout the whole party, even when the cameraman graces their presence (which leaves those watching the tape abroad wonder, ‘Why so pissed?’). And there is that one uncle, the best dancer of all, holding onto a single cigarette loaded with ash, yet it never falls through all his wild sweeping hand gestures.
The grasp of slim fingers in mine, the swaying of the mass of bodies linked with not only hands but by blood and pride teach me the steps that I was intended to inherit. My love for these people is transparent. No hidden meaning, definition, questions, obligations or set of standards, only pure love. My limbs are heavy with these notes and sighs of the singer. Tendrils of rhythm shimmer before my half closed eyes, my body is immersed in self and outer love, and my content cannot be kept to myself, so I share, pass and fling my pleasure to all. Looking into the eyes of my family, I am finally free.