30 December 2015

Dancing At The Edge Of Time And Memory

23 November 2015, 12.08am.

On Sunday we got a call that my grandpa -- already in frail health -- has been diagnosed with a superbug.

He may die.

Apparently the last couple of weeks he's been talking about how he's so exhausted and how he just wants to sleep and not have to wake up.

At first I took this news fairly resolutely -- he's been ill for several years now and it's always kind of in the back of one's mind... this Christmas could be the last.

But then suddenly I remembered that he's been asking for months for my sisters and I to come and do a dance performance in the nursing home where he lives now. I didn't have anything prepared and I wanted to wait until I actually had several pieces in a danceable state. And then life happened and I forgot. When I remembered today that I had said I would -- and especially how he's been looking forward to it -- I cried as if my heart would break. What if we don't get it together in time? What if he never gets to see us dance? He's been so excited to see us dance and I haven't given it to him yet. And maybe now it's too late.

Plus, there's this matter of living on the edge of time, knowing it's coming but not knowing exactly when, walking on pins and needles, knowing he can't live forever but not ready to live without him yet. And what do you say to a person who's close to death? With the three deaths earlier this year, I had no warning, no time to say anything I might have wanted to say. They were just taken and I had to live with the fallout. But now I have the chance to say anything I want -- but I don't know yet. And the stupid thing is, I probably won't know what -- if anything -- I have to say to him until after it's too late.

I do this all the time. Going to the doctor is an exercise in frustration because I have a whole big list of questions going into the appointment but when they ask if I have any questions, every single one of those questions is completely gone. And I don't remember until I get home and start coughing again and go, oh yeah -- I cough until I can't breathe for nearly a full minute. Is that a problem? Same at the bank -- "Do you have any other banking?" "I DON'T KNOW MY BRAIN DOESN'T WORK WHEN I'M IN A PROFESSIONAL BUILDING." And it terrifies me that I'm going to think of something I wanted very badly to say to him two minutes after he dies. And then I'll hate myself for the rest of my life because this time I actually had the chance to put a sentence together and I didn't because I totally forgot every word in the English language and what if that was something he really needed to hear?

30 December 2015, 12.52am.

Against all sanity, I arranged this performance. Yes, over Christmas. Yes, despite not having rehearsal space. No, I have no idea what the floor is actually like in the performing space. No, neither dance piece is really in great shape. We perform in fourteen hours.

I'm so done with everything. I had set aside today for rehearsing, particularly my solo, which I have yet to do full-out all the way through (also I remembered that I still HATE solos). Instead, I have spent thirteen hours going over the house with a fine-toothed comb looking for the power cord for my video camera.

This may not seem like a big deal, but the fact is that if I want to get into the performing arts, I will eventually need a portfolio of my previous work. In dance, that's video footage. This performance will be particularly valuable as it will be me performing my own choreography -- that counts double. It shows both my skill as a dancer (don't laugh) and my style of choreography. This doesn't even include the educational factor for me -- if I have footage of myself performing my own work that I can review later, it will provide invaluable feedback on what worked and what didn't and I can use that information to refine what I do and how I do it.

Except, of course, I can't use the video camera because it can't be charged because I can't find the stupid power cord.

So as a result of this fruitless search I am now frustrated beyond words, I haven't practiced at all, I've lost an entire day of my life that could have been productive, and I still don't have a useable video camera. To buy a new cord for my perfectly good and now utterly useless six hundred dollar camera? $125. For the cord.

My grandpa had better enjoy this show. He's going to be the only one lucky enough to see it.

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