Cover image for Shadow dancing
Title:
Shadow dancing
Author:
Meriwether, Louise.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : One World, 2000.
Physical Description:
297 pages ; 21 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345425959
Format :
Book

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Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Central Library X Adult Fiction Central Library
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Summary

Summary

A successful writer for BlackSpeak magazine, Glenda Jackson is gifted, dynamic and respected in her field. Now she's determined to take control of her emotional life. While reviewing a new play at Harlem's innovative Aldridge ensemble, she meets the enigmatic director Mark Abbitt, the driving force behind a renaissance in black theatre who proves to be as complex as one of his dramas. Against all odds, these two remarkable people step into each other's shadow... and begin to dance.


Excerpts

Excerpts

JUNE 1981 The walls were white. She could see them through the mist, slowly dissolving to let her through. And that blaze of light was the sun beaming through a curtainless window and glistening on the metallic table beneath it. Glenda did not own a white metallic table nor the gismo she was hooked up to that was dripping fluid into her arm. I'm in a hospital, she realized, and felt a thudding pain in her chest. There was also a nasty taste in her mouth as if she were having her period. Menstruation always made her mouth taste slimy. She stared at her other arm not hooked up to the IV. It was bandaged, lying limply on the blanket as though it did not belong to her. Weakly she tried to wiggle her fingers but couldn't. And her head felt pinched as if it also was swathed in bandages. Dear God, what's happened to me? Where am I? Jagged images raced through her mind, a kaleidoscope of the Earth moving, but before she could piece the images together they disappeared, her mind a blackboard wiped clean by an eraser. A brooding shadow seated at her bedside moved, became concrete and spoke. "Glenda, sweetheart, are you awake?" Focusing hard to keep his figure from flying dizzily off into space, she stared at his handsome, night-dark face. His shirt was open at the neck, a familiar sign. He always wore sport shirts or a dashiki, never a tie. Questioning reality, she whispered his name. "Mark?" He did not disappear like the figures in her head but leaned over her, his black presence filling her vision, a blessed sight. "I'm so glad you're finally awake." He flinched involuntarily, as though the sight of her pained him. She had been reduced to a defenseless lump beneath the sheet, her curly head wrapped in bandages. Swollen bruises purpled her brown face, making it darker. Her eyes were bloodshot. "Where are we?" Glenda whispered. Her voice circling around the pain in her chest did not sound familiar to her. "Columbia Medical Center." "In Manhattan? For a minute I thought I was back in L.A." "No. You're here in the Big Apple, baby. With me." Mark's voice was husky, tender, as he lightly brushed his lips against her cheek. Ordinarily when he called her baby like that, such an innocent little word that defined her as his own, it made Glenda melt. She didn't like to be called "mamma" or "bitch," which some men thought was so endearing at the height of passion. "Fuck me, bitch," she had once been ordered in the heat of the moment, and she had done so, galvanized and sweating. That had been fucking, not making love. But when Mark called her baby, with that tender catch in his throat, it released something within her that she routinely kept hidden, and she had to touch him, fleeting pilfered touches. On the pretence of getting her deodorant, she would enter the bathroom mornings while he was showering, but really it was to feast her eyes on the breadth of his chest, the fullness of his butt, the taut beauty of his thighs. Or when he bid her good-bye at night, which always bruised her because he wouldn't stay over, she still had to touch him, to discreetly whisk an imaginary speck of dust off his shoulder. He was so masculine and self-contained that she had to conceal from him her consuming passion, afraid that to reveal her feelings would be a weakness he could exploit. "Mark," she wailed now, "I don't remember what happened. Why can't I--" "Don't sweat it," he soothed, her panic obvious. "The doctor said you might have a temporary loss of memory. You've suffered a nasty concussion." And what else? Glenda wondered. Again she tried to move her legs and her arm, the one not hooked up to the I.V., but couldn't make them budge. It was terrible, this sense of total vulnerability, of having no control. "Mark. Am I paralyzed?" He shook his head. "No, put that out of your mind. You have several contusions, and they've loaded you with painkillers. That's the rule of thumb these days. If you're not a dope addict when you come in here, you'll be one by the time they cut you loose." Glenda wanted desperately to believe him. No bullshit, please. He was still leaning over her, his broad shoulders blocking out the light, as she searched his face to ferret out the truth. He was a burnished black, with sienna tones, and his features were sculptured, especially the long, clean lines of his mouth. She loved his mouth, particularly when a half smile lurked in its corners. His eyes, too, had a humorous glint, as though he were privy to a cosmic truth he would willingly share if you cared to laugh with him at life's absurdities. Mark was not smiling now and did not avoid Glenda's scrutiny; instead, he looked at her with total attention as if nothing else in the world mattered at the moment. "All right," Glenda murmured, believing him. "So tell me, what happened?" She felt terribly exhausted but had to know. Mark cleared his throat, and the rasping noise seemed to reverberate inside her skull, disturbing the images that came out of hiding. A hazy form evolved into a panting dog. Then a man's face took shape, Mark's face, twisted with anger. Slowly the images faded, and from deep within the well of herself Glenda heard Mark speak, his voice mournful and muffled at her bedside. "I blame myself. It was terrible . . ." he began. And it was terrible, that sudden rush of blood to her head, which exploded like a clap of thunder, cutting out all other sound. The room trembled, and Glenda lay there shivering, her body in acute distress. Every bone in her chest felt shattered. Every nerve ending screamed with pain. I hurt, she whimpered silently, and wondered if she had ever told Mark those two simple words: I hurt . The walls began to shimmer out of shape, Mark disintegrating along with them. It was as though her mind, not ready to relive the incident, had decided to shut down. Evasively, as she had done so often before, she ran inside herself and slammed the door. Glenda's eyes drifted shut, darkness claiming her once again. The pert, blond nurse Mark summoned assured him that Glenda was not in crisis. Before entering the room, she had checked her patient's vital signs on the monitor at her station. She replaced the empty bottle of glucose on the IV stand and adjusted the needle taped to Glenda's arm. Then she looked at Mark pointedly, sizing him up, and waited with an air of expectation. "I'm going to stay here for another few minutes," he said, adding politely, "that is, if it's all right with you." The nurse headed toward the door. "Don't stay too late. Visiting hours are almost over." Excerpted from Shadow Dancing by Louise Meriwether All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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