We dance. We dance because she's hurting, and she needs help to keep from tears. We dance because we're her friends, and because she asked us. We dance because she's playing tunes, for us, for herself, for the one she lost.
Now I wonder about the timing; the universe is frequently random, but it touches base quite often with intentioned action. My neko lad says we've lost the sense of intimacy, and I wonder if he's right. My wandering satellite feels he's been supplanted. And I wonder on that, too.
We do not know how or why, we don't know if it's important enough to ask. He is gone and we are here; that seems to be all we need to know. He is gone and we dance at her behest; so we stay and dance.
She is nothing like me, but I like her. Were I possessed of a magic potion to spare her this pain, I would use it. But pain is another constant of the universe, and pain is apparently coin of my realm--I respond to it, always, and I deal it deliberately, on occasion, but far too often I deal it unconsciously, sleight of hand that tricks even me, unknowing, unplotted, unforeseen. How do I stop being who my life has made me?
She has a lovely dwelling, light and airy. She doesn't mind meeting the circus that is, on occasion, my life and my friends. She lives beside a beach and an occasionally floating tiki bar and loves to play music in various clubs. She loves to dance, like I love to dance, and some nights, it's the only thing that cheers her. As I.
He doesn't know how to tell me of good things; he doesn't know how to tell me I've hurt him; and I can only do my best not to do it again, and know I will, and cringe well in advance of future hurt dealt. Why is it so hard, I keep thinking, but I know it's not just him, that in large part it's me...and I don't know how to learn from this to avoid hurting him, hurting others, in future...
She laughs when he jumps on the pole in her living room, but he does it partially to cheer her. I watch him out of the corner of my eye, as I dance with her, as I make idle banter designed to engage the surface of her mind away from mourning, idle chatter designed to make her laugh, myself. It may not last, the light mood coming over her, but for now, for this small while...she can laugh, and maybe that's the point.
There are things, private things, things that cut to the very core of me, and I'm told these are the things that I should share with those I love. But how do I know, just facing them on the surface? I don't let some things slip my lips for any reason; some secrets my heart keeps simply because it can. How do I know the difference between 'must be shared' and 'must be secret' overall?
We dance, and I envy her dances, and I vow at some point to learn her steps. I know where she learned, so I know where to go, it's just affording the class fees. I tire of lifting dances back out of my dance bracelet's memory, to perform, too, and I wonder about investing in one of those happy little machines, like she has, to invite others to dance with me, move with my moves, move in synchronous orbit around whatever floor we take over to spin, to pivot, to circle in motion.
There's nothing I know to erase the pain already dealt. I wish to the soul of me there was. There's nothing I can do but be sorry, and be sorry again, and be sorry to need to be sorry a third time. There's nothing I can do but try to do better, and wonder how often I'll fail. I denied things that caused him pain because I wished to deny things; on some level, even if it was not a conscious one, I made the choice to deny such knowledge. How often will I do that in future? How often now am I blind to the results of my choices?
She changes into a Spice Girls outfit and it makes me laugh; the club she greets at frequently has amusing themes and I miss that, some part of me--finding themes, dressing for them, giving my best effort, and dancing the night away. I think it's why I'm so ardent for the themed dances in Steelhead, because it's the same thing--dress up and go play, though I rarely go expecting to win.
And even this memory, this night, this necessary aiding of a friend in pain...was at the expense of someone else's feelings, and...how can I make that add up? And how many times is he free, and I don't invite him to where I am, because I think he's busy, because I think he won't want to come, without ever simply asking him? And how many times are we going to reach this point of pain and suffering? How many times before one or both of us decides the pain is too heavy to be borne?
She turns from me and now I am her shadowed reflection, matching her moves not mirror, but echo, and this amuses me far too much. Those I came with are still across the floor, talking in quiet voices; she and I dance and talk about inconsequentials that women know are still vital: tell me where you found your hair, that dress is lovely, let me talk about this manufacturer, let me show you my latest style. Things that can and do drive most men completely out of their minds, we willingly engage in, because on some level it means, the other is paying attention, devoted to us, picking out details to comment on, and sometimes, that's all we need, good or bad.
And in the days preceding and following, the short span of time, I found myself doing things I'd never thought to do again, like shopping for the demon; I found myself doing things I'd never thought to do at all, like spinning in a stone pavilion in the doctor's arms. And in between the mundane and the surreal, pain. Pain I can't deny, pain I can't fix. How can I mend the heart I broke? Some things take time, and sometimes, time is not what I have.
Now I dance to match her moves, step by step, before the frenzy that is my life picks up again, and I am precise, I am her echo, muscle by extended muscle, step by swirling step, and the smell of the ocean, the bamboo slats, the heat of bodies in the room not mine...for this form is my succubus after all, the senses, though muted, are keener for some things...I dismiss it all with a wave of my hand as immaterial, and continue dancing.
At some point, she will go to bed, and I think now she will go to bed with some ease in her heart; a glad memory to balance pain, and really, some nights, that's all we have to offer. It's in the nature of a good deed, mayhap, to begin to outweigh all the ill dealt. It's something, at least. It's all I have.
Sometimes I don't even have that. Sometimes I can do nothing at all, and rail at the universe for giving me no visible options. It's not what I wanted, never what I wanted, to hurt him so...and knowing it was my own actions hurt him, not some invention that I could then play down, discount, dismiss as immaterial...this is material. This is pain inflicted from my own hands, the blood on them never mine. And it's not the first time I've done it, and when do I stop?
I think I tire of this dance, too...and I can't seem to be able to stop on my own.