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Dancing Into A Hong Kong Sunset

The sky has turned a dusky pearl and now there are hundreds of us out here walking. Across the water the glitter of Hong Kong Island at sunset seems close enough to reach out and graze with my fingers.

Later tonight there will be a formal display of light and music but I think now is better. What the dying sun does to the soaring glass, the arc of colors reflecting off the molten silver bay; nature has cast a spell over this vertical city reducing it to a single shimmering dimension against water, sun and sky.

Above the talking and sighing and laughing I hear something unusual; the sound of single notes floating up from some future place on the left of me. I tug at Michel. The sound of an instrument being tuned is irresistible. We must hurry towards where the future music is coming from.

Coming up on the left is a small arena I’ve never noticed before. This evening there is a stage growing and people with headphones and wires attached to them waving and shouting while a small group twang patiently at their instruments.

I have swapped senses from eyes to ears wide open. A show is building. Music that is alive will soon follow.

As the tuning builds to a discordant crescendo the concrete stands begin to fill. Where I am sitting I can see a space being cleared for dancing and behind that the priceless backdrop of the city dressed for the night.

I am happily addicted to several things, music is the strongest, but I am also drawn to where people gather together to celebrate, protest, anything. I love the alchemy that happens with the sum of our disparate parts.

The sun disappears and the music starts, some sort of Brazilian, world crossover, lots of drumming and guitar, a little Asian, a little Latin. The cleared space is calling for dancing feet. The music gets even more mesmerizing and I am moving as though my bottom on the solid concrete has nothing to do with me.

There’s this great big space at the foot of the stage and absolutely no sign that anyone is going to fill it. I know before it happens, I always do. I’m going to get so that it’s too much, so that I don’t care what anyone thinks. I’m going to remember how short life is and how I resolve, and resolve again, never, never to stand or sit still when I could be dancing. There simply isn’t time.

I watch myself as I get up and move all the way down to the gaping space in the front. The music carries me. I look up at the still crowd in the stands and I look across at the water, the silver dying into black, and I toss my head, move my shoulders and wave my arms like I could be dead tomorrow.

In a moment there is a slip of a girl standing on the edge of the dance floor like it’s a pool full of cold water. Then she’s next to me. She moves carefully at first, almost imperceptibly. I do this thing with my arms, then she does it too. I do that with my feet, and then she does. Another young woman appears. There are three of us.

We are dancing together, watching each other, our eyes meet and hold. We cannot stop smiling. It feels like we got let out of something like a cage. No-one else joins us but we couldn’t care less. We care more, much too much, to stop dancing.

We dance like this for ages. My husband tells me later that he’s up there in the stands beaming down on the three of us, catching our irrepressible joy, and loving it.

We don’t stop until the music stops, but by then we have crossed something, some abyss of perceived separation. Before we walk off into the world of night we move together into what feels like the simplest most natural thing on earth: a big hug.

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