From my journal, a day before the accident, written while I sat at the beach: “A tern lifts and lowers in the stiff off-shore breeze, popping up like a Jack-in-the-box. A movement in the sand catches my eye, something shiny, and I see a sand crab slip into its hole. Movement is life.”
Last week, a friend brought lunch. I’m still in my brace and can’t drive, so company was welcome. She came in wearing very pretty sandals. I asked her where she’d found them. “The Potter’s House,” she said. The Potter’s House is our local thrift store. “Let’s go,” I said, and so we did. Even though my back hurt and I was tired, it was fun to get out, to poke around for unsuspected treasures. There was a group of young college men looking for jackets, two middle-aged white women perusing piles of baskets, and an older black woman slowly and methodically working her way through a rack of dresses. I sat on a plaid couch, waiting for my friend, eavesdropping on the students as they discussed the merits of various jackets. I felt part of the flow of life again. Like a crab, I’d crept out of my hole, propelled not by necessity, but by simple shoe lust.
When my old dog had a stroke several years back, she was on her feet in no time, eager to go on her customary walk, despite her off-kilter gait and cocked head. My vet said dogs heal from strokes faster than people because they don’t realize they’ve had a stroke, they just want to go out and chase balls.
A friend reports that another friend spent the summer in Spain at a tango festival. This woman is an avid dancer. A year and a half ago, her most lovely and gifted daughter was brutally murdered. She might have stayed in her hole, and no one would’ve blamed her. I imagine her dancing the tango, that most sensual and life-affirming dance, imagine strains of violin and accordion music on a hot Spanish night. And I imagine her daughter in the candle-lit crowd, applauding her mother, as I do now, applauding her insistence on living passionately, even in the midst of unspeakable pain.
These two friends are thinking of going to Argentina to dance next year. I’m thinking of going with them.