The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 26

dense with worry. As I ascend, I try not to think of soul-capturing spirits and instead think of our visitor. My chilled joints warm at the thought of our most beloved people writer, whose tattered notebook and hand-held recording-device have finally returned to live with us again.

I am the youngest of the dancers. I must arrive early to make the preparations. My year-long rites of passage culminated in a ceremony declaring me a woman, ready for marriage, ready for motherhood, ready to dance, but most important, ready to listen and to talk to the spirits. I have not spoken to them yet. My mother says Gara women only use the gift when they must; it is not a tool for friendly conversation. So for now, I only use my womanhood to dance, to float.

It is not my light, tiny body that turns my dancing into floating; it is the particles. In school, I learned about the tiny particles that make airplanes fly and now I use them to help me dance. I move my body as though I am splitting the air with each sway. The particles use me like the wing of an airplane, trying to reconnect at the end of my fingers, at the tips of my toes, at the crown of my head, lifting me off.

The dancers represent the present, the living link between the deceased ancestors and the future spirits, half masks representing their role as mediators between these two times, between these two worlds, eye contact with the present is strictly forbidden.