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The Dancer is a beautiful woman. So many blood lines are in her that she is the amalgam of us all. Spanish. Azorean. Arab. English. Gypsy. In her high cheekbones is her Indian blood. Her great-grandmother was Coeur D’Alene and sang the Blues in San Francisco. There are bootleggers and brothel-owners in her as well. As I said, she is the amalgam of us all.
I do not think I have ever seen anything more beautiful. When she was born, her parents dipped her in the same river where Achilles was given his Godly attributes. You see it in her arms, her breasts, her torso, in her hands which are full of supple muscles where most of us have none.
We spend the night talking on her living room floor. I dance for her.
In the morning, she pulls on a pair of jeans with the careless abandon of beautiful women everywhere — as if an old pair of beat-up jeans could disguise her. “They’re really comfortable,” she says, by way of explanation.
The jeans have no knees. They have been completely worn out by the falling down. Her Parkinson’s has advanced to the point where she falls down a lot. Her knees are all bruised and right now one is bigger than the other, she says. But sitting there on the tall stool in the kitchen in the morning light in a pair of worn-out jeans, all I can think is “God, what a beautiful woman!”
When I visited her, her beloved racing bike lay against the kitchen wall. She used to climb over the hills on that bike and ride out to the sea. A year ago, she told me she would ride again. Last time I called, the recorded message said, “If you are calling about the bike for sale, please leave your phone number.”
Is this a tragedy? Am I saddened by all of this? Surprisingly, I am not. She has been and always will be the exotic temptress, the woman who broke hearts like the shards of arrows. All of the fire is in her, burning wild and bright. The Dancer is in touch with the source, as she has always been. Watching her meet her trials is a beautiful thing. She is so valiant, so courageous, so indomitable even as the disease makes it hard for the one who danced on stages around the world to even walk without falling.
I do not see her getting weaker, I only see her transforming. All of us will be transformed by this life. The question is only into what will we be transformed?
The other night she called and left a breathless and exuberant message. She said she was dancing. I could see her under the moonlight in those veils that both reveal and hide her naked body; or perhaps she was wearing her leotard and had her leg warmers bunched around her ankles.
Or perhaps she was wearing the knee-less jeans and falling down and laughing.