Nanima: Hands That Hold

Here is the next part of Nanima.

Leading Astray

The dancing hunter was back. Maliyan assumed that he was returning to the city from his hunting trip out west. He was a good dancer—too good for the class. She didn’t know why he was there. 

There are many more women than men who want to dance, thought Maliyan. For some reason, he is obliging Kat by partnering us.

Partner, he certainly could. There were other men in the class, but they were the normal hotchpotch of male dancers who attend such things. The older they get, the worse they become. In spite of their lack of dancing skills and physical prowess, they often think that they have acquired the right to be the teacher. You can go into almost any studio and hear very underperforming, middle-aged men “instructing” their female dance partners with great and utterly annoying authority even though they usually have no idea what they are talking about. 

It is what it is, thought Maliyan as she danced through the hotchpotch towards the dancing hunter. 

Not only did he lead her beautifully, he led everyone beautifully. His experience and sensitivity allowed him to adjust his lead from the very beginners to the more experienced dancers, and even to Kat. He made the clumsy women more graceful, the flighty ones more grounded, the aggressive ones more feminine, the insecure ones more confident. He gave Kat the rare opportunity to spread her dancing wings. 

Although the dancing hunter lifted Maliyan’s dancing by understanding what she could and couldn’t do, that was not the only thing she noticed about his partnering skills.

I don’t mind him touching me, thought Maliyan.

More, she caught herself actually reaching out to touch him. She wondered if the other women had the same response. After looking closely, she could see that they did. Women only do that when they feel no need to protect themselves. It is a sense of trust; that if they let their guard down, they will not be led astray.

She remembered one of the talks that she listened to when visiting High Community in the mountains. It was about the lower chakras, sexuality, and touch. The speaker said that the binding nature of touch was why people should be very careful about who they have sex with. He said it was an energetic issue; not a moral one. He further explained that the powerful transfer of energy did not only happen through sexual interaction but that it could be as deep and binding (if not more) through simple, less invasive physical interactions such as holding hands.

At the time, Maliyan thought how true it was. She remembered her last dance partner. They didn’t have a sexual relationship. However, the mere act of holding hands (and dancing is all about hand holding) at frequent, regular intervals over several years was as binding as sex. It isn’t necessarily that. Otherwise, every dance teacher would have a headful of intimate partners! Dance teachers, understandably, get very effective at keeping people out of their personal space. However, the act of continued physical proximity combined with emotional connection is highly binding. If both connections are present, the bond between two people will be cemented not only in their consciousness but also in the very structure of their bodies. They are holding each other’s spirit as well as each other’s body. If the relationship comes to an end, the partners will suffer and grieve as much as they would the loss of a lover. That is how powerful touch is when it is combined with emotion. No trifling play thing!

Sensitive Killer

“How did you enjoy the class?” said a voice in the cafe.

Looking up from her coffee, Maliyan saw the dancing hunter.

“Hi,” she said with surprise. “It’s hard to start dancing again after so long, but I’m doing my best.”

“You are doing great,” he said with practised ease.

Maliyan didn’t want to start blabbing on about how good he was. She was fairly sure that if she did so, he would be off in an instant. As it was, he was only barely there; like an animal in the wild that has taken the risk to momentarily stop but is ready to swing into escape mode at the slightest sniff of danger.

Deciding it was best to change the topic, she said, “How was your trip?”

“Oh, I love it out there,” he said.

That must have been the right question, thought Maliyan, because he is pulling up a chair. 

After he spoke awhile about the joys of being out bush, Maliyan said, “My cousin goes pig hunting but he always takes his pig dogs. They are sweet at home, but vicious out there.” 

She pointed past the gentle Nanima hills to the dry western plains and asked, “You don’t take dogs?” 

The dancing hunter looked slightly flustered and stood up to leave. He took a quick, last look at Maliyan’s face and focused on her eyes. He thought that something about them reminded him of the vast expanse outback—intimately inviting but, ultimately, unknowable.

He leaned closer to her and said, “My guns never left the back seat of my car.” His strongly masculine composure softened somewhat as he continued, “Don’t get me wrong. I’m a good marksman, but I just like being out there—doing nothing. It’s the only place I feel…at ease. I know it’s stupid, in this day and age, to think that men can’t be like that but, I guess, when it all boils down, I don’t want my dad to know that I’m not that tough. Bloody hell, I can hardly say that I’m going out west to be at one with nature.”

Maliyan wondered if he only told her this because there was a high possibility that he would never see her again, and he wanted to tell at least one person in his life. 

He quickly drank the rest of his coffee, while standing, smiled in a way that seemed to be trying to recover his lost reputation, and waved goodbye.

Although the dancing hunter did not look at all happy with himself, Maliyan’s estimation of him went up significantly. He was not the strange combination of a highly-sensitive dancer and a thoughtless murderer. He was a man who had enough soul to try and find himself in God’s own land. And he was a man who, at fifty, was still trying to come to terms with his father.

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