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She. And I.

published: 2009-08-13

Every night we would watch her perform. Play for her, contently. Modestly, so that she could shine. Sometimes, she would swing her hips from side to side. Those were extra special nights. You could see her contemplating whether she would take that risk. Like an ice skater going for the triple axle instead of a double.
Usually, she’d stretch her hands and fingers while singing, as if to distract the audience slightly. Or herself more likely. She was aware that too great a focus on her voice could flatten it. So she used her arms, tilted her head, clowned around in between songs and during. But even her clowing around was practiced and planned, timed exactly. We knew exactly what gesture was to come, on every single beat.
She was frightened, of course. So we would take her every controlling word seriously. Because only within the framework she had created for herself, she was able to sing. We would play as casually as possible, making sure however not to joke around. Instead, we smiled. 
But then sometimes she would let go. It would start as a wave in her arms. She would bend her knees, slightly, tilt her pelvis and then ease her hips side to side. With every gentle rocking motion her voice would gradually spread its wings and fly. She would sweep over the audience, maginficently, powerfully. We would watch in awe. The piano player, the drummer and I.

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