Look at her hands, he said.
Look at how the beauty of the whole dance is expressed in her hands.
The twisting, flying graceful movements of the flamenco dancer’s hands were, indeed, exquisite.
My gracious neighbor at the dinner table explained where the traditional dance came from and told me how it was part of his upbringing in the south of Spain.
But what drew me in so intensely was the passion.
The pillars and dome of the grand hall were draped in colored light with dramatic effect. The windows were long and wide, overlooking the spectacular architecture of the surrounding buildings, each one signifying a different era of the history of this simply beautiful Spanish city.
The eyes of the dancers and the expression on their faces told the story that was mirrored in their movements. I imagined the longing, the estrangement and the reuniting of hearts, bodies and souls. I was intrigued and delighted, delirious and heartbroken all at the same time in the magical space of the dance.
It was astounding, it was gorgeous!
Coffee was served in tiny cups, hot and strong, with leaf-like slivers of chocolate. The conversations around the table danced between the delicious food, wonderful music and spectacular entertainment.
So what IS your story?, I asked. He blushed, looked down at the table and his eyes danced. Oh, I’m sorry, I said, I don’t mean to pry. It’s okay, he replied, it’s just I haven’t really told that story before.
And then he gave me the gift of his story; a story of duty, sadness, madness, loss and enormous love. I took his hand and thanked him.
After we finished the meal, we all ascended the grand, regal staircase to the floor above where music and dancing awaited us. And we danced until the early hours, weaving in and out of strangers
held together by the throb of music and intimacy of the moment.
The next day, when we said our goodbyes, my dining friend came up to me and took my hand. Thank you, he said, thank you for asking me to tell you my story. It has made all the difference.
His eyes were shy but his voice strong. He nodded, smiled and walked away.
When you tell your story you discover who you are.
Telling your story helps you heal, simply by the telling. And it connects you deeply with your listener.
Every time I have been blessed by the gift of someone’s story, a part of it lives in me forever.
I see that we are all collectors of these magnificent stories of the human condition. We experience our stories and the stories of others as an emotional, physical intimacy.
It is powerful beyond measure.
© Copyright 2011 Lisa Bloom