In my apartment on Ocean Ave, Brooklyn I used to light candles and make mix tapes for friends. I miss that. The double-deck. The stop and go. The listening to the entire song giving me a chance to find another that set the perfect flow. There was a fast side and a slow side. I danced to both. In the orange glow of dim lights and candles I danced with my shadow in the living room. I miss that.
I live on Alma Ave now. Oakland. The avenue of soul. It is here that I began to learn it: my soul. Set in me in my mami’s womb. My story already written. Pulsing through blood and heartbeats. I am a dancer. My body-the storyteller.
Right after I learned I was pregnant, a positive sign on an old pregnancy test, I danced in the living room to Fela Kuti. I pretended it was louder. I pretended I was in a hot room. Sweating. Hearing horns and drums. Moving my shoulders and hips and feet in all different directions. I danced because I wanted to give my son the chance to dance even before he was a size of a blueberry. I knew he would be a boy. There are times that I truly listen to my heart.
Lately, my body has been tight. My knees hurt and my hands throb. I am thankful for the way I pray. My body stretches praising God. Relishing in the Divine. My time to feel relief. I haven’t been dancing. Not even in my living room. I worry that my child will lack Caribbean rhythm when I’ve forgotten how to move like a Cuban. And then I realize that I just worry. My hormones are out of whack. I end up crying if I think too long about Michael Jackson.
I just paused. Just enough time to hear the leaves rustling in the wind. The birds chirp. The cars go by on the freeway. The sun is shining in my living room. Lighting my plants. Lighting my heart. My pause, a reminder to be present. Not to worry. Not to stress. Remember that I am provided for. I have come to be thankful for everything. Even the sporadic tears. I have not fully let go, let myself surrender. I have to find a way to make mix tapes again even without the double-deck. I have to dance again with my shadow and feel that peace. There is beauty in this change. I have to remind myself. Preparing to have this child is building a foundation on freedom. Like arms and hips and feet moving to all or none of the beats.