“Would you like to move in circles?” Subatomic asks one day.
“What is it?”
“Look and find out.”
Moving in circles, not in a grid, it is strangely primitive yet powerful and developed, where nothing is exact, where you float like the moon gifts you with lightness, where you give your body to others, where reaction and your surroundings are the dictator, and pulse takes the concubine status.
Yes, pulse is on the side.
Chein-A Doll trips in and falters and tires and cannot float, but the Great Sphere takes note of something mysterious. Crowning her faults is a smile. Ridiculous sentiment! But—
“Your name is Alegria.”
She is given a new name.
Here there is a circle bordered by instruments, singing of hoarse but bold life, life ringing from their throats, turning ‘round the circumference, circumspection, circum circling, circum round round. They sing to you.
“I am the Berimbau,” A tall one sings, “I am the Berimbau who looks like a bow, but do not forget the berim! I am no weapon, I create tremors something lovely! You balance me on your little pinky, the weak finger, the finger that will grow. I am the center of the show! I lead with discipline but I follow my friends.
“Under me, you will learn quickness. Agility is the snappy woman who will like you if you spend much time with her. Jump! Kick! Give me your agility!”
“I am the Atabaque,” Another sings, “I am large, heavy, and permanent. I invite you to ground yourself. Feel the burn of your legs, it is the heat of sun powering your thighs. I cannot be knocked down. You cannot be knocked down.
“I love the Berimbau. I stand beside it. I give the base to agility. I am the grand framework! Persevere. Train your muscle and do not bend to weakness. Ground yourself!”
“I am the Pandeiro,” A little one sings, “I am like the Berimbau. I am like the Atabaque. I give beat with a ring! I ask you to marry these forces. I wish for you to carry me like you carry your learning, for it is everywhere you are and everywhere you aren’t. Learn! Learn! Love me like the Atabaque loves the Berimbau. I am here to tell you—you are both agile and strong.”
Amidst the deung…deung DEUNG deung… and the BOM…bom BOM bom and the TA ta ta TASH there is a little midget singer who pipes up.
“I am the A-Go-Go!” It laughs. “I go! You go! I am the little helper. For nothing can exist with difference. Sameness is nothingness! I am the little voice who speaks out. Your actions are not dictated by others’ actions. Your reactions are your own. Your own!”
Chein-A Doll is Alegria. A new name allows to move in a new way. But the goal is never novelty. The goal is habit.
“I can move in circles!” Chein-A Doll announces with ridiculous Alegria shining on her smile. “Look! It’s not perfect, it’s not there yet. But I can move them like I draw them!”
“I can move in circles like I read them,” Subatomic wonders. “Look: they’re different.”
When Chein-A Doll opens Subatomic to the page and the bookmark, the circles read strong and vicious like the pulse of the Atabaque. Disciplina. It is shining and different, for Chein-A Doll’s circles are spindly with the pulse of the Canyon. New, weird, stringy, like the Berimbau.
“They’re different. They’re opposites!”
There is dance, and there is fight. But moving in circles, they meet each other and become the same. When you have one, the other comes and joins you.
“I just did.”
“Here, Alegria, let me help you.” It is the frog with the poisonous colors, eyes gleaming but smile generous and kind. “You need to flex your foot when you extend your leg.”
“I don’t understand why.”
“If you point your toe, like you are doing, you will injure yourself. You see? Your foot will be crushed.”
“But I never touch my partner,” Chein-A Doll insists. “When I move, my partner does the opposite. I thought that was how we balanced the circle.”
“Yes, but that is not the point. You have to be prepared. It is still an attack, but it is disguised as a dance. You should know how to prepare yourself even when you dance.”
“Why should I always be prepared?”
“When you attack, you want to harm your opponent. You don’t want to hurt yourself as well.”
Why do we fight? To fight those who fight. Why do they fight? For gain. But why do two people fight and never touch?
Because with the attacker and defender, and with the free interchangeability, fight is dance. Belligerence is balance. Fighting for no reason is the only reason worth fighting for.
THEN there is the day where everything is a circle, and Chein-A Doll can gleam at spirals and flips and overlapping ovals. Where is the end? Where the money ends. Would you give money? Yes. Why? To see, to see—
—to see, to see masters working in circles. With colors at their sides.
Every large group is a vertical line. A stack that many hands craft, one is time, another is power, the others are mystery. The group is divided where one color stops and the other continues. Chein-A Doll thinks she has no color.
But she is wrapped in yellow!
“Why am I wrapped in yellow?” She cries, distressed. “I don’t belong in yellow. I can’t do yellow well enough.”
The Great Sphere should not have given it to her. She sees herself faulty and slow against the others moving in circles. Completely amazing. Adhering to the instruments like there is no other lord in the universe. She wants to dismiss the invitation. She shall not attend the ball. She cannot go to the ball!
So Alegria steps forward instead. Moving as surely as she can into the circle, and it is a friend of the Great Sphere she plays. They move, and he is kind, and then he attacks her as he must. When she hangs upside-down she knows they have finished. And then he wraps her in yellow.
And now she can call herself Alegria, who is invited into the circle. No longer a fearful spectator.
“…Where are they?”
Chein-A Doll peeks out of the bus windows, frowning at where the circles should have been, where circles should have filled in the empty spaces with life and sound. Circles are nowhere, nothing is everywhere.
THE CIRCLES ‘VE MOVED ON.
“But I need more! I need to learn more. I’ve only travelled part of the circle. I haven’t finished the whole thing.” Hearing Chein-A Doll’s complaint, the bus roars.
A CIRCLE HAS NO BEGINNING AND NO END. WHAT IS IT? IT IS LIKE SAND. AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF POINTS. THEY ARE EQUIDISTANT TO ONE CENTER.
“I still can’t understand you.”
YOU CAN COME AND GO ON A CIRCLE. IT CAN RETURN TO YOU.
Chein-A Doll sighs. She feels low, low on the vertical line, she has but yellow wrapped around her, but she listens. “Okay, I’m ready to leave then.”
Leave and go on.