Dance rehearsals can go on past midnight, but this time I stopped at ten. "I hope you don't mind," I said, looking up into space, "but that's enough for today."
A voice from the control room spoke. "You okay?"
"A little tired, I guess," I said.
I slipped on a windbreaker and headed down the hall. Running footsteps came up behind me. I was pretty sure who they belonged to. "I know you too well," she said, catching up with me.
"What's really wrong?"
I hesitated. "Well, I don't know how this sounds, but I saw a picture today in the papers. A dolphin had drowned in a fishing net. From the way its body was tangled in the lines, you could read so much agony. Its eyes were vacant, yet there was still that smile, the one dolphins never lose, even when they die..." My voice trailed off.
She put her hand lightly in mine. "I know, I know."
"No, you don't know all of it yet. It's not just that I felt sad, or had to face the fact that an innocent being had died. Dolphins love to dance -- of all the creatures in the sea, that's their mark. Asking nothing from us, they cavort in the waves while we marvel. They race ahead of ships, not to get there first but to tell us, 'It's all meant to be play. Keep to your course, but dance while you do it.'
"So there I was, in the middle of rehearsal, and I thought, 'They're killing a dance.' And then it seemed only right to stop. I can't keep the dance from being killed, but at least I can pause in memory, as one dancer to another. Does that make any sense?"
Her eyes were tender. "Sure, in its way. Probably we'll wait years before everyone agrees on how to solve this thing. So many interests are involved. But it's too frustrating waiting for improvements tomorrow. Your heart wanted to have its say now."
"Yes," I said, pushing the door open for her. "I just had this feeling, and that's enough for today."