Frenchmen Street by Sarosh Nandwani

That foot-tapping, hip-swaying, neck-oscillating, head-bopping,
one-handed-snapping; a pair of crossed legs on a bar stool, a flip flop foot
pulsing up and down under the fabric of a light pink v-neck dress; next to them,
a beer in hand, there are hips that stay still as a torso swings side
to side in between deep swigs; eyes closed, brows contracted, a small
smile sits on a bobbing head, her toes
tap tap tap the tiled floor; a blue Hawaiian shirt with a pair of
sunglasses hanging on chest steps side to side and claps, looking around
to beckon others to clap with him – no one does.

My lover bought a beer (which I sniffed) and swayed behind me,
fingers trailing along my shoulder and arm, and came to settle
gently grasping my waist, pulling me along to match his rhythm until
the instruments faded.

“NEXT SHOW IS AT 10PM,” a voice booms and passes
around a black hat for tips. My lover tugs my hand and my
body follows him out.

Two doors down, an artist’s market. There is one booth where every
piece has a tree in the shape of every kind of woman, each trunk embedded
with holy curves. The artist said “body positivity.” I spent $10.

Our last stop, we cornered near the door, watching the musicians from the side;
the audience was filled with women; eyes closed, heads tilted downward, a single
hand lifted into a fist or holding a drink; one woman with long braids and a floral
pink dress danced unabashedly in front of the stage, stepping forward and
backward, arms rotating, her face concentrated in sound; the lead singer
alighted the stage, her voice seemingly sent from the sky just
for this: for every kind of woman, eyes closed, dancing together
at 10pm on Frenchmen Street.

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