No one mourns that the body is dark. I do not mourn that my body, thick with muscle and skin and blood, is dark inside, opaque, layer upon layer of translucent flesh wrapped around hard white bone so densely no light can get in. Is bone white? I have never seen mine. Sometimes I can see, through the thin veils of my skin, that my blood can be a deep blue, even close to the surface, can be purple just a razor-edge from spilling brilliant into red. But inside, all my blood is dark — coming from my heart or going, rounding the lungs or settling into the extremities of my toes and fingertips, red and blue are nothing but potentials in the darkness of my body. My throat, my ears, even the centers of my eyes show that darkness. People look into my eyes, and no one mourns.
This is what happens when we move inside, when we look inside without first dissecting and slicing and splaying the body open on the autopsy table. What we find when we move inside the living body as it really is, not exposing it, but entering in gently. The heart as it really is, dark, hidden in a dark body. And there is a sadness there, in the darkness, a sadness like our obscure working heart beneath the veils of translucence.
The world is so full of color, and brilliance, and motion, and we are so full of pain. We walk around, these dark bodies wrapped in the beauty of color and light. Our skin shimmering, our hair and eyes and fingernails shimmering — and the ache exists here, in us, in these bodies, held within us by this thin veil of physical flesh, wrinkled and wrapped up tight, fold upon fold. Our nerves are dark corridors of pain, our hearts raw with sadness. The world is so gentle and soft, it gives way before us when we move. We walk like celestial beings, made of stardust and sunlight, we tread lightly over the muddy ground and only sometimes do we remember the earth, too, is dark beneath us, beneath her green and lovely veils. Only sometimes do we turn our minds inwards into the earth, where the dark is moving, too.
What is that sadness? What can I say about it? It is the sadness of having an inside, and of what remains inside. The sadness of memory, making room to hold within it what has been lost, the place where grief lives, and injustice, and fear. And the sadness, too, of hope, and helplessness. In countries where the women are not allowed to dance, it is the slow dancing of suffering to the dark music of blood and dreams. It is where we touch, in the darkness, in each hidden center of our beings — we rub one another raw, finding our way out, groping towards each other through the dark. It is the tender sadness of connection, the ache of opening a small way in. We open our mouths wide, we cry out, we would swallow sunlight if we could — but inside, the dark remains, no light can find its way. We are dense, through and through, and that mystery is sadness, too.
But the veil is thin. Just this flesh, ordinary and marvelous that we walk around every day without a thought to its myriad shining porous cells. And there are times — like these — when we play at the edges of the veil, lifting a hem, worrying the seams between our fingers. We paint white bones and polished skulls on the windows and the doors, we revel in the red of blood and imagine ourselves full of it, brimming with the color of it, the light gleaming off each turn and curve of our veins. We fill ourselves with color — the colors of gore and pus and bone — we place candles behind the eyes of pumpkins emptied of their insides. We bring the light in, deep within, past the folds of the veil, and place it like a sun churning at the center of the earth. The dead are not jailed within memory, but drift free and translucent in the moonlight. Pain and fear — we set these loose, too, release them like stories into the outside world, a world full of color, and brilliance, and motion, and love. We set fire to this dark sadness within our bodies, and we look — past the shadowy masks of obscurity and illusion — we look into each other's eyes. We look, and nobody mourns.