Sometimes the most unexpected thing can trigger an emotional response. Tonight, I watched a television episode of my favorite dance competition where contestants work in pairs to perform a choreographed number. This week’s episode featured a couple dancing a contemporary routine to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Yes, that song. Before I describe what happened, I must emphasize that (good) dancers do so much more than memorize a series of steps. Dancers are carefully-crafted characters who bring narratives to life through movement. They paint a story, emote feelings without saying a single word, and turn their stage into your world.
The second the number began, my heart stopped. It wasn’t the music, but the male dancer’s deep inhale and expression that gripped me. The duo told an all-too-familiar tale of passion and loss – that awful struggle of knowing you have to let go but desperately wanting to hang on. The couple simmered with a firey chemistry and there were many poignant moments throughout the routine. At one point, the male dancer slowly walked away while his female counterpart clung to him, mirroring his every backward step. Beyond the obvious degree of dancing skill, the real artistry was in the performers’ faces. The emotion was raw. Unfiltered. Honest.
Needless to say, Whitney’s sappy power ballad combined with two minutes of masterful dancing had reduced me to a pile of tears. But why? I guess I wasn’t sad that N is no longer around…just reminded of how painful it felt to say goodbye. Parting ways when you don’t necessarily want to can be heartbreaking. Two weeks have passed since N and I ended things and, until now, I’ve been doing surprisingly well. Moving on is a complex process and moments of vulnerabilty are inevitable. I know there will be times when my relationship with N will amount to a distant, forgotten memory. Tonight isn’t one of them.