Years ago when I first visited New York around Christmas, I was charmed by the staff in stores chiming Happy Holidays as they handed you your beautifully wrapped packages. Voices ringing with merriment, shop windows luminous in scintillating colours. The air crisp outside, heaved still with human warmth.
It’s a peculiar time, the holiday season, turgid with emotion and good will, yet fraught also with possibilities to upset and bump into each other, as families and friends gather together, as memories of the past and longings for the future surface.
It takes real presence of mind to remember that its not just about copious eating, nor excessive spending, nor, nor… but really human warmth and connection that we’re hoping for, as time slows down over the holidays.
Attraction is weird. It flares in the eye of a stranger and stirs the senses. Reflexively a stretchy elastic band encloses you with that person across the room. It just happens, is felt. A tactile heat that warms in a cursory moment.
Should you reach out to touch it, you wonder? Risky business, I say! Risky. For in the act of bridging the distance, of actually approaching to speak, or dance, or communicate in some way, the attraction is unveiled. Its moved into the glaring light.
In the starkness of the glare, the spontaneous chemistry that beckoned may dissolve into flatness, or be the beginning of something delicious. No way to know in advance. Don’t hold back, risky be damned! Reach for it with soft, tender hands.
It took shape not during the first dance, nor the second, probably the third or fourth. An ordinary man, dancing with an ordinary woman, amongst ordinary couples circling the dance floor. There it was suddenly, palpable in the space between us, this unseen, deeply felt, subtly pulsing something.
Time slowed down. We slipped into a portal it seemed, our senses becoming acutely attuned. The music played on, amidst a deep stillness. The connection of our moving bodies, keenly refined by mutual listening so clear, I was awe struck.
Here was intimacy. Not sexual intimacy.
What was arresting had seemingly little to do with the actual touching of bodies, cheek to cheek, palm to palm, arms wrapped around shoulders and necks. The magic was located elsewhere, in a kind of ethereal waveform that had spontaneously arisen between us.
What was this exactly, I try to grasp this morning?
“When he reared his head and neighed his deep chest, like deep wind-bells resounding, she seemed to hear the echoes of another darker, more spacious, more dangerous, more splendid world than ours, that was beyond her. And there she wanted to go.”