Two Dancers (from ‘Light and Dark’)


Annalise and Daniel have been married for six years but now she is alone again, as she has been so many times before, her wine-washed thoughts tumbling like kaleidoscope colours in a long, hollow chamber. She looks across the table to the chair he deserted over three hours ago, and reflects on the marriage he deserted long before that. The clock on the wall is whispering; a gentle ticking like the sound of a lone cricket in a field as dusk gives up its last moments to darkness. It is almost two o’clock in the morning. She knows that by now Daniel will inevitably be in one of the city’s casinos, and despite his promises she knows he will not return to the hotel again before daybreak, probably later. His promises, like everything else in her life, are empty. Inside her the hollow spaciousness makes everything in her life echo, even the thin, tick-tick motion of the whispering clock. The low-lit hotel bar, now wearing a dark cloak of shadow and memories, is almost empty. A middle-aged barman, immaculately presented in black and white, begins quietly humming a tune that Annalise vaguely recognises but cannot name. She is sure she heard it in a film once. The barman is bathed, almost Escort elvankent ghost-like, in a small pool of faded yellow light, as he stands behind the counter, assiduously polishing warm wine glasses into smooth, brilliant clarity with an almost obsessive eye. Every so often he glances across to where Annalise sits and offers what seems to her to be the faintest hint of a smile. At a small booth in the corner, two women in their late twenties sit at a table, still chatting animatedly and drinking red wine. Every so often, sudden bursts of laughter break the thin layer of fragile silence, before even these, too, turn to a dull, empty echo within the empty space of Annalise’s thoughts. The women are two dancers from Prague who had come to Paris as members of a Czech company which had recently begun a month-long tour of France and the Low Countries. They had left the company almost immediately after its arrival in Paris a few days ago, amid a sudden swirl of scandal – heated unhelpfully by rumour and salacious gossip – surrounding the two dancers and the wife of the director of the company. Fearing for the future of the tour and the reputation emek escort of the company, but more for the potential loss of profits, the director dismissed the two dancers, following which his wife returned quickly to Prague. The two dancers had thereafter managed to secure several nights work as dancers at the hotel bar, and had now earned enough to pay for their return journey to Prague. Following Daniel’s disappearance into the Parisian night, Annalise had been ready to go back to her room and allow sleep to swallow her whole; but just as she was about to leave the two dancers were introduced by the hotel manageress. Dance had always consumed Annalise like a wild, unrelenting lover. It was her schoolgirl passion, the longing of her heart, the irresistible force of life that seemed to give her the air she really needed to breathe; the motion of nature she needed in order to both live, and to feel alive. Nothing else fed her like the sound of music flooding into her body, her veins, her core, her soul, and then allowing it to take over and control every movement of her body and thought of her mind. It made her feel both empty and full, at one eryaman escort bayan and the same time. And suddenly, in front of her, she could see two dancers, swept up in the music, and she knew that at that very moment they were oblivious to the world outside themselves, and were surrendering to everything their nature truly was. They were free, and nothing else mattered. A single guitar accompanied them as they danced, moving together almost as one, swirling, gliding effortlessly around the floor; touching it, but only barely. Over and over, but only momentarily each time, the skirts of their dresses; one a scarlet red and the other mint green, would be swept up and lifted by their motion, revealing their slender and toned thighs. They would arch their backs tantalisingly, revealing the curve of their breasts, almost offering them, before pulling away again. Starting slowly, almost deliberately, they gradually surrendered to the music, becoming lost to everything but the pulsating, passionate strings of a Spanish guitar. On and on they went, until their motion became frenetic and feverish, tiny beads of sweat, like miniature glistening pearls in half-light, forming on their skin. It was as though the two dancers were becoming endless wisps of smoke and colour in motion, curling and moving into and through each other effortlessly. But more than that, they were wild, uninhibited, carefree, abandoned. Nobody could ever stop them, and if anybody tried, they would fail.