Lion Dance.

I’m in The Bay, taking a shortcut to the skytrain. I’ve just spent too much money on a new phone, as mine broke two months after the warranty ran out. I’m pretty much trying for zen state. So what if the new phone is pink? I can handle it. So what if it’s kind of lame in terms of screensavers? I’m okay with that. The main thing is that my students and work can contact me. That’s the big thing, right?

The first crash of the drums shakes me out of my reverie. I look up into a sea of red and orange and gold. There are two teenaged girls in red shirts, drumming. There are two lions as well. I can see the kids underneath them swooping up and then down again, prancing from side to side and shaking the lions’ heads proudly. The kids are wearing shaggy gold and red chaps so that the ‘legs’ match the rest of each lion. They’re beautiful.

I watch as a man coaxes a little girl from the growing crowd. He hands her a cabbage ands tells her to hold it out for the lion. The lion prances close, the kid inside swooping the head so that the little girl blinks and looks to her mother for reassurance. Emboldened, she thrusts out her hands, and the kid at the front of the lion deftly grabs the cabbage from her. She beams from ear to ear, and I am close to tears for reasons I cannot fathom.

Then I stop seeing the kids inside the suits. There are mythical creatures here in front of me, right in this store! Up close to one lion, I appreciate the magic of the mythology. The lion’s eyebrow, framing his bulging, crazy eye, is arched at an angle that is both villainous and flirtatious. I find myself moving back from this unknown creature, as though giving it space to get by me.

Gradually, the lions dance through the crowd, leaping and crouching, shaking their heads as though to disperse demons from their ears.

They head out into the mall and I am on my way, the experience conquering even my new-phone funk.

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