Feb 4 2012
Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously.
Stop and smell the roses, for tomorrow they may be dead.
The tribal drum thumps in my head slow and steady – boom, boom, boom – and the Cherokee markings under my eyes feel heavy, but I keep my gaze steady ahead of me. Blue paint cracks on my arms as I curl my hands. My arms soon join the dance as I weave them in front of me like two snakes.
I am a snake. I am fire.
More drums join in, and the pace quickens. The flames dance to the same rhythm in front of me. I take a step sideways and bring my legs back together, executing a pirouette, and repeat the pattern several more times. After making it around the small propane-fed fire, I bow to it, willing my ancestors to leap out. I run backward; my footfalls mimic the drums inside my head.
After curling my fingers to my chest, I punch my arms out far above my head and release them into the sky. With a tiny movement, so the recital audience won’t see, I wave to the stars projected on the ceiling. Sue me.
“There’s no real music at first, at least none with a beat,” my dance instructor said a couple of months ago. “You’ll just have to imagine a regular little beat, Kara. You can do that, right?”
Can I imagine a drum beat? You mean like the ones often in my head anyway? The soft, sometimes hard, pats have been part of my psyche for as long as I can remember. At the moment, they’re the only things that keep me anchored.
I have so much on my mind right now, but I must perform. A ghost dance – how ironic. I picked this week for my summer visit with Grandpa because of the Panama City recital and now I’ll be watching my ancestor die.
Layout, ponche, forward roll. Great, I didn’t break my collar bone.
Thump, thump. The drums are real this time—electronic. My cue. I pick up the arrow and leap into the air.