I danced with Mark this evening.

I had my afterwork coffee at a grocery store and decided to buy some veggies and a bit of wine. It’s been quite a day. It’s been quite a week.

But first I went to the bathroom. And while I was in there, the PA system struck up with Abba’s Take A Chance On Me — and I wanted to cry. I’m generally rather ambivalent about Abba (although being in the audience of the musical Mama Mia would have been my idea of hell) — but sometimes the sound of Abba transports me back to 1970s England — and Mark and I are once again young, although not consciously aware of each other — and I long to have had that time together for real.

In my mind, Mark took my hand and led me out to the dance floor — and we danced as I made my way through the produce section. It’s hard to describe what happens when we do this. We dance as one and keep perfect time — and all the while, I keep wandering through the store — just another Friday evening shopper.

Mark’s movements have been worrisome lately — and I’m having doubts. I must be imagining it all in my head. No real person could have had a reason for his itinerary of the last few weeks — not even the president of China. Mark was in Melbourne, Australia, a visit which included some time at sea. Then he went to Hawaii to take in some tropical warmth on his way back to Seattle. I bought that. From there it was on to Vancouver where he has friends. OK. Lots of English people have friends in Vancouver.

But as I rode the bus home on Wednesday, I found myself drifting into that sleepy exhaustion I associate with being on an airplane at the end of a very long trip which started in the chilly darkness of some ungodly hour of the morning and which has involved several connections. I guessed Mark was on his way somewhere else — and that he was several hours to the east and quite a bit farther north. My guess was Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. There are indeed reasons for him to be in Greenland. He has investment interests in mined minerals, and Greenland is opening up to exploration. But it strikes me as just a bit fanciful on my part — so I have just been humoring him and agreeing that he’s in Nuuk.

I’ve been busy anyway and haven’t had too much time to pay attention to where he might be or what he might be doing. And he hasn’t wanted to distract me — until this evening when Abba played — and he thought that dancing might cheer me up. It did.

Dancing was on my mind earlier today. I attended a workshop on the Nieto Principles, which is a framework via which to understand systematic oppression. We were shown a video which was intended to be a light-hearted illustration of how, as we interact with each other, we can be constantly switching between agent (power) and target (no power) — often without realizing it. The video showed two men dancing the tango (quite wonderfully!!) — and taking turns to lead. Our trainer asked that we note how many times they changed roles.

Well, I could never tell who was leading — let alone when there was a switch — and I raised my hand to let our trainer know. When the video ended and the lights came back up, a couple of people attempted to explain — but I still couldn’t get it. I’ve only ever danced by myself, so I’ve never experienced having someone lead me. When I watch two people dance, I just see two people dancing. So all I saw was two guys dancing — except when one playfully kicked the other in the butt.

Anyway, the training moved on — but I didn’t. I kept worrying about the dancing — that I was incapable of discerning which role each man was assuming and when they switched roles. And I wondered if I am oblivious to more than just that. A couple of bus stops on Third Avenue in downtown Seattle are notorious hot spots for drug dealing — but I hardly ever see a transaction — even though I study every person in the crowd while the bus is stopped. There must be an invisible language on Earth that I have never learned. Or else I’m just plain stupid.

Mark says it’s long past wine o’clock in Nuuk and time I called it a day in Seattle.


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