As ever you open the book. Today Michael is looking pensive.
You say “Michael?” He looks up at you and smiles. “Is something wrong?” You ask.
He sighs then replies “I sit, I write; my words become light that turns into instructions for my vessel to follow. I think I eat, I sleep, I wake. Then I do it all again. I find watching people all day… What word does my father always use? Informative? Yeah, that’s about right. My tree says to the moon; where is the sun? The moon replies how should I know? I keep not counsel with it. I only go back and forth and quiz the tides where they should go. I look; where am I looking? Alisa’s walls are higher than I thought… They will take considerable force to pull them down, but what kind of force is required? My first tendency is to manufacture situations where she and Freddy are forced into proximity with each other. However, I know that’s pointless; they’re dancers, and the movement of emotional connection is their stock and trade.”
As you are listening you see that Alisa is moving around her living quarters, getting ready for the day. When she is done, she walks down the stairs into the performance center and then up the stairs to her and Freddy’s practice room. She stretches clearly sore.
Freddy asks, “You okay?”
He tries to reach out to touch her, and she pulls back.
She says, “Fine; I’m just sore.”
He tries again more tentatively, and this time she doesn’t try to stop him. He messages her neck and shoulders slowly. She winces, then breathes slowly when he hits a pressure point. Next time she jumps, clearly in pain. He keeps working until all the aches are just slightly dull. They get up and start dancing together. Their hearts are pounding in each other’s chests. Yesterday’s unspoken betrayal faded into the comfort of Freddy’s compassion. Alisa holds her tears inside her stance. It makes her shoulders tense but Freddy’s strength and confidence ease the burden and she reluctantly melts her heart into his embrace. They go down to the café for lunch. At the end of the day, Alisa practically flees from her and Freddy’s practice room and out of the performance center altogether. Her self-imposed guilt consumes her. Michael watches her with one eye and with the other he sees the wind dance through his loft, holding a bright red bird with copper feet airborne. He listens as they each compose a complementary melody. He jumps from his loft and swings on his rope through his living room. He calls the bird and wind to the music room pulling the notes of the wind song drifting by and birds into a new melody.
He whispers into the bird’s ear “Go.”
It flies above Alisa’s head and sings as it follows her on the boardwalk from her practice room to her condo. After the wind bird has done its work Michael spins the earth in the passage of time, rotating the clock from day to night and night to day again and again until it’s all you see. Suddenly it stops.
Several Months Later
Everyone files into the practice hall at Brook’s request. What’s puzzling is that it’s her and not Mr. Spencer. She is standing on the floor in front of the stage.
She speaks up, “Good morning. Mr. Spencer left yesterday. There has been a family emergency, and he asked me to take over while he’s gone. We will continue with the regular schedule. Any questions?”
Ali asks, “Did he say how long he’ll be gone?”
Brook replies, “He doesn’t know.”
Lynn inquires, “Did he say what’s wrong?”
Brook shakes her head. “Just that”
Peter states, “What about opening night it’s only three weeks away”
Brook smiles knowingly. “He’ll try to be back in time but if he’s not it’ll go ahead as planned. Anything else?”
She pauses looking around the room “No, okay. Today I will be coming in periodically to check on routines and see how everything is going. That’s all.”
Three Weeks Later
Michael is looking from his viewing deck. Everyone is busy getting ready for opening night. Colten gets up after Phoenix, and they both leave the room. He climbs down his tree and walks across the space everyone watching him as he goes, then they all follow Phoenix and Colten to the stage. they start the show. Michael takes the leaf he was spinning in his hand and steps through. Instead of taking him back to his tree as he planned, it takes him to a roadside, Peter and Rowan are driving towards each other around the lake. They collide with each other. Michael looks at both of the people in the accident and decides to take Peter. They go through the still open portal back to the tree. Michael holds Peter to his chest. Michael’s hand rests on Peter’s heart which is struggling to beat. The young man looks up into Michael’s eyes. Peter shakes his head and Michael sadly nods singing a song over his stormy heart, as the man slowly dies.