The dancers moved intuitively to the sound of their hearts as the music swelled and sobbed. It finally paused, waiting for the lovers to catch their breath. This was more than an interlude in a cafe that had seen glory and laughter in a bygone age. Few tourists ventured into the old quarter of the city, much less enter through the portal of this place. The ones that did manage to find this near mythical establishment were fated to come. Their souls were infused with the elixir of passion and pathos. Forever rising on the swell of the rhythm and then slumbering in the arms of the silence that followed.
A woman sitting at a table in the corner of the room stared intently at the dancers. They presented a magnificent picture; gentleness, poetic beauty in the lines of their faces and a certain melancholy in the embrace. Her dark eyes glittered, mirroring the luminosity of the stars and moon. They mirrored hope in a world that appeared to have embraced shadow and pain. The spirit and soul of humanity were being sorely tested, falling prey to the excesses of materialism and naked cynicism. Was she being naive now? A laugh escaped her blood red lips. She was present in this space set apart from time, present during day and night.
The dance rose from rather less salubrious origins, in the bars and brothels of the old quarter. It was a magnet for travellers from across the globe and some had hinted, from across hidden worlds. This is not to tarnish its reputation but to explain the soil its soul had taken root in. Its root went deep, deep into the fabric of stone and brick. Deep, deep into hearts and minds of the people moving through the city. The woman closed her eyes and travelled down streets clothed in shade and dappled sunlight. Her ears took in the chatter of thousands of voices, each reflecting sorrow and bittersweet regret, each reflecting joy and exuberance, each reflecting darkness and light, each reflecting boredom and inertia. All found solace in the heartfelt tune that rang out of doorways and windows, a memory of something thought lost but only lying hidden within mystery. This was the spirit of the dance, she was the spirit of the dance.
A voice interrupted this reverie. She opened her eyes and spied a green-eyed god staring down solemnly. He respectfully held out a strong, elegant hand. She grasped it and was gathered gently in his arms. They moved as if one being. Sinuous limbs gave expression to their hearts’ yearning, entered into each nuance and tone of the music washing over the couples gathered in the room. His silence spoke to her of things lain hidden for generations, of perceived shame, of deep regret. She listened and did not judge. She never judged. For that she earned his eternal gratitude. Even gods are inclined to give in to vulnerability now and again. The music soon ended and the radiant god kissed her hand and disappeared into the shadows of the bar. He did not leave empty handed but carried a pearl of the dreams she freely gave to all who were in need. The spirit of the dance returned to her table and carried on gazing at the magical ritual she had created, something filled with awe, passion and pathos.