The sense of anticipation grew. It was time.
The crowd drew back slightly from the stone, forming a circle of space. And in that space, the dancers.
Still. Silent. Ready.
Had they stepped forward, or had they been revealed when the crowd stepped back? It was impossible to say.
From nowhere, the music. The notes drifting over the dancers. As it grew in volume, the dancers began to move. Gently at first. Then, faster.
Gripped by this tune as old as the rocks, they whirled and dipped, linked and separated.
Telling the story of the year.
The boy watched, near the front, standing close to his mother. The men gathered further back, laughing and chatting.
He seemed enchanted by the dance, but his eyes were drawn beyond the movement. At the very centre of the dance, the girl stood, still and silent.
Transfixed, he saw only her. He knew without question that the dance could not happen without her. The movement arose from her stillness.
The stories the dancers told spun from her silence.
Ignoring his mother’s screams, he stepped into the now raging dance.
Unhindered, he walked gently, but resolutely, all the way to the girl.
Taking her hand, for him the world stopped.
No dance, no dancers, no music, no crowd.
Nothing but the perfection of knowing he was the dance, the stillness, the silence. The beauty of a space, at once infinite and intimate. A silence more moving than any music.
The crowd gasped, as the dance slowed to tell a story of secret anger and violence, of a woman who smiled through her pain.
As if hypnotised, the boy’s father stepped away from the men. He walked towards the dance, and entered it, becoming part of the story.
No one could quite say when the dance had ended, or the dancers dispersed. The boy stood alone by the stone; his father had vanished.
The women turned to the boy’s mother, and comforted her as she wept