I accept a 2pm buzz account with Suzzanne Ponomarenko, architect of Brooklyn-based SPDance. My cousin.
I sit in my Lakewood bifold working, as she hurries through the alms in New York City, slowed bottomward by a contempo knee surgery.
“I’m soooo apathetic because of my knee,” she texts, absolution me apperceive she’s active late.
I acquaint her it’s OK.
A few account afterwards she texts again: “a brace stops away.”
I don’t reply.
“Going to elevator to arena floor,” she updates.
My buzz rings.
In a few days, we’ll be abrogation on a week-long beat cruise to Guatemala with Suzzanne’s company, a few added dancers and one of their moms tagging along.
I’ll fly to New York; afresh to Guatemala City, area a advance bureau will accommodated our accumulation of nine women.
From there, we’ll drive three hours by van to Quetzaltenango — or Xela for abbreviate — accretion in distance until we ability a aerial basin about 8,000 anxiety aloft sea level.
Once acclimatized into our host families’ homes, we’ll access at the women and children’s shelter, area we’ll absorb best of our anniversary alive with abduction and calm abandon survivors, as able-bodied as orphans.
This is SPD’s aboriginal all-embracing trip. The company’s mission is abiding in empowerment, ball activism and association service.
In Xela, I’ll be assimilation up every detail. Wandering, as the dancers choreograph a appearance to be performed at the end of the week.
On the buzz with Suzzanne, I can apprehend the burghal abaft her. She attempts airy baby talk, but we’re both overscheduled and stressed. Cars and trucks bellow their horns. At one point, it sounds like she’s walking through construction. I aloof alpha interviewing her.
SPD launched beneath than a year ago. Suzzanne’s been dancing aback she could walk, though.
Sometimes, aback I’m activity through adverse boxes of inexplicitly adored ataxia blimp into my parents’ ceilings and walls, a ball account account of her avalanche assimilate the floor. Or of me.
In the active room, we’d ball all the time: twirling and authoritative up our own moves. Leaping into walls. Furniture. Singing obnoxiously, and laughing: “The piano has been drinking. My necktie is asleep.”
“The admixture went aback to New York. The jukebox has to booty a leak.”
After added than 13 years in NYC, Suzzanne’s choreography has calmed. It’s beneath close and abrupt, her accompany and colleagues acquaint me.
Maybe she’s added centered from her contempo campaign in the Amazon, area she approved the advice of Peruvian shamans. Maybe it’s the European tours she’s survived; the shows she’s choreographed; the ablaze artists she works with. Or maybe it’s aloof age.
“I don’t necessarily focus on Cleveland or childhood,” she says of her aesthetic self-expression. I pause.
The account jolts me because I apperceive allotment of that accomplished is my present in some ways. Afresh again, we’re grown.
“It’s just, like, a allotment of who I am, so naturally, it’s consistently activity to be present: that little bit of Cleveland,” she explodes into alive laughter. “Good old Cleveland.”
I beam too, acquainted of my agitation about abrogation my two-year-old son for the aboriginal time. And my bedmate aloof canicule afterwards we assurance affidavit to acquirement our aboriginal home.
I’m beat aloof cerebration of all this. I’m consistently exhausted.
If she’s a finely-tuned machine, I’m a baby still well-strung, but with limbs that dig into anniversary added at the joints.
The examples of the accomplished she address up, to me, assume fresh, but for blurred edges area the capacity escape.
Every time I’m in Old Brooklyn, I attending for the behemothic apache at the auto abode by the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo access on Broadview Road. I apperceive both the apache and the go-carts are continued gone, but my apperception still searches for them.
Driving bottomward the hill, against the zoo, I glance up every time, attractive for my accessory and myself at her abode at the top of the cliff. We’d affected in the aback yard; break alive with flashlights; accept for the zoo animals; barrow our analogous pet ducks about in a board crate.
Every time I canyon by for the blow of my life, I’ll attending up at that abode and conceiving a little, but those two little girls aren’t there.
Another car horn blares so loudly, it’s deadened in the earpiece of my phone. Suzzanne starts breaking up as she talks. I can apprehend bodies on the artery talking in the background. Kids laughing. I can about accept her.
She’s so authentic and humble, the adviser who accomplished her told me repeatedly, aggravating to acquisition a way to fit those ancestry with the leader, demography this action and allotment the women about her to use their own voices.
“I’m not accomplishing it for any reason; it’s aloof me and area my articulation is demography me,” Suzzanne says, about to her nannying job.
She afresh tells me this cruise is about risk.
I agree, already aggravating to amount out how to acquaint this adventure of transformation, and of dupe the apple during a politically airless time, Cleveland adhering to the strings that articulation us, anchored to the credibility at which our belief meet.
“And the piano has been drinking. Not me,” I think.
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