requiem

I have been dancing since the age of 3. It is the love of my life, my passion. Dance has given me many things, many opportunities, and for that I will always be grateful. Dance is selfless, it only gives. It gives me confidence, love, freedom, passion, and more. Yet, one of the greatest things dance has given me is my best friend: Emma.

We met when I was around 11 years old, and she was 9. I had just switched dance studios, and she was on the team. We instantly hit it off and are still friends to this day. Although now we live in two different states, we’re still best friends, and I know we will be forever. Hell, she is more than a best friend. She is my sister. To hell and back.

For the past year, Emma has been having problems dancing. She has always been extremely flexible (I call her gumby) and pigeon-toed. It had never been a problem until recently, when she started getting major pains in her hips and legs. Eventually it got to the point to where she had trouble walking and had to see a doctor.

I don’t know exactly her condition, but after a few MRIs and meetings with physical therapists, Emma was told that she could never dance again.

When she told me, shock struck my entire body. Dance was her life. Emma and I had always bonded over our passion for dance; I had never met someone who loved it as much as I did.

Talking to Emma after hearing the news was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I had no words to console her. What she had loved the most was ripped from her. It was as if someone had truly died. And the worst part of it was, I could not be there to support her, to care for her, to tell her how much I loved her.

Fortunately, I was able to see Emma this past weekend. I hadn’t seen her in half a year. I cherished every moment with her, and together we did something that maybe we shouldn’t have.

Early in the morning, I grabbed my music and speaker and walked Emma down to the beach. I looked at her and asked her for one last dance. She agreed, she could handle one more. We both knew that she couldn’t, but as her answer escaped her lips we knew that it didn’t matter. She needed this.

And so we danced on the beach – to blasted music met by the stares of all who passed by. A short moment that felt like forever, and will forever be cherished.

Returning home, Emma told me something that I will remember forever.

“I see dance in everything now… It’s all around us.”

And it truly is. Dance is like a stream flowing through some parallel dimension providing love, passion, freedom, and expression to those who drink from it. I know that even though Emma can’t physically dance anymore, she will still be able to in other ways. The trees dance for Emma, the birds sing for Emma, the stream flows for Emma, I dance for Emma. Emma helped me realize the importance of dance in my life and how much I need it. I never knew how much it could affect one person until it was stripped away.

Today, Emma is doing better. She is still sad, but is slowly finding other interests (she has diving tryouts this weekend). While we both recognize the absence dance has made in her soul, I am proud of her for finding new hobbies. She is truly one of the strongest people I know.

If you love someone, or something, don’t take it for granted. I know it is something you have heard before, and I don’t say it to guilt you. I just ask you to look around and recognize the impact certain things have had on your life. And love them for that. Good or bad. For in the end, it is truly all we have.

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