There is a dancer in my brain.
She remembers all the random dance classes we have taken and a lot of the routines from flag line in high school.
She knows the names of all the moves and steps in Bellydance and can point them out when she sees them.
She sends gentle shocks to my hips when I’m sitting on the bus home and listening to my favourites from Beats Antique and Solace and Linkin Park. I shimmy and then remember I’m in public.
There is an actor in my heart.
She can recite the litany of productions I was in during school and uni. She remembers the songs from the musicals and the blocking from the number from Godspell.
She laughs at the memory of the C clamp hitting my forehead or the reason that the platforms in The Shadowbox looked like landing strips at a dark airport.
She is in cahoots with the dancer when Here Comes the Sun, Layla, or a myriad of tracks from Cold Spring Harbor come on the radio, spurring me to find a staircase, an air guitar, and a tissue and join the manic dance number that preceded the bows.
There is a linguist in my hands.
She lives to turn a clever phrase from auditory to visual.
She is magic.
She is dance and art combined with elation and heartbreak.
She speaks for me when I cannot stand a single auditory word more or I will shatter into a thousand letters and words and conjunctions.
She sweeps in, wearing the opera cloak my brain and heart loaned her, and she makes sense of my nonsense, creating sentences and paragraphs out of stutters and false starts.
She is brave. She knows how to use language, not just speak it. Language is her weapon, her balm, her vehicle and her get-away.
There is a coward in my soul.
She looks at the gentle sway of the dancer and reminds me of how clumsy I am.
She applauds the soliloquy of the actor and reminds me that I’m too old and fat to be cast as anything but an afterthought.
She understands perfectly the message that the linguist delivers and reminds me that I am only a mediocre second language learner with no real claim to anything but my own remedial English.
There is a dancer in my brain, an actor in my heart, and a linguist in my hands – with a coward as a gatekeeper.
– N Dunne
19 February 2018