The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 28

“Why do you want to be?”

Whitman stretched a blue t-shirt over his chest and left to find my father.

“Why are you leaving so soon?” I asked.

We discussed a lot in questions.

At the top of the trail, I enter the cultural center. It is chilly and empty. The whispers return to enjoy the modern acoustics and force me into their audience. “Lusa, Lusa, we are angry.” I arrange the half masks and hand drums around the stage. Banging the drums with every carry, I try to distract my ears.

A few hours later, the cultural center is humming with vacation conversation until our drums command the quiet. The audience makes their usual “shhhhh” sound to invoke silence. The beats sputter out and are barely audible during the dance’s offering phase. The drum is the guide; it must never overpower the movement. The dance is the gift and the drum only the vehicle to deliver it. I keep my one uncovered eye cast down, thankful for our strict observation, for I could not bear to watch Whitman watch me.

My kin group finishes the Full Moon Celebration, despite the fact that the moon is only a quarter full. It is a flashy, audience-pleasing dance, one the tourists always enjoy. Our bodies twist in the air one after the other. The dancers’ feet are never on the ground at the same time. We cannot please paying audiences with quiet solemn dances, so we celebrate the full moon every Wednesday and Saturday between the months of May and October when the cruise ships fill the island’s bay with their bright lights and big citizens.