1.1 Dance in Shadow
I am overwhelmed by the darkness; the darkness which swirls about me and sweeps around me in to oblivion. The lunar eclipse has extinguished all colour. There exists no memory of it, no trace in this waste land. How can I imagine, in this waste land?
‘Now the paintings talk, and I listen’ he says. I listen, I want to hear. Like holding a seashell to your ear; I soak up sunny colours like guava nectar and drink of that deep, deep, voidless blackness. Purple and yellow and orange in its dark, mysterious orbit. The colour lingers on. It lingers on but is swamped by palm fronds of darkness and absent trees that tower and sway above someone, somewhere.
Softly, for a moment, I believe it will take me there. Like light breaking through the sweeping rush of dark leaves as I sit and wait the colour begins creeping out. An orange-rind sunset-seeping of oil from between leafy fingers I hold up to the light, to see if my fingers will glow. I keep hearing English tunes and try to blot them out. I could have danced all night. I’ll be seeing you. Striking discordant with the steely rhythms of colour.
This is the closest I have ever come to Trinidad. Perhaps it is the closest I will ever be.
Have I forgotten the lovers? The lovers who dance in the mango glow. The lovers who dance in shadow.
They are everything; sweeping onto the canvas in a rush of black and waltzing out in the whispery traces of light. Feetless; as if dancing on midnight air. What dance have they strayed from? What cruel lights have chased them away?
And she; the smile that tangos across her lips is her only distinguishable feature. And he; touched by her purple-passion-fruit vibrancy would be otherwise lost in the dark. She draws him to her with that bright arm.
I wonder if he will kiss her? I stop looking, close my eyes and listen. The colour persists; a sketchy map on my eyelids. The imprint of her papaya tinged aura, which marks out her unclasped waist and the swooping bell of her skirt, shimmers before me. They are forbidden lips that wait and their dance is banished to leafy shadows.
Here, in this vegetative glade, in the pitch of night, I am the only intruder. They swirl and sweep, tracing the endless patterns of their dance. I witness all, but the secret is safe with me.
In the gallery shop I buy a postcard of my trip to Trinidad. I forget to buy a stamp.