With my ear lying on the towel, I heard all the grains of sand scratching each other, rubbing each other, producing warmth with movement and contact. Every grain rubbing the ones surrounding it and so many chunks rubbing other chunks of grains of sand or grains of sand rubbing chunks or vice-versa. It could never be precisely said what was rubbing what and when, or if grains of sand were being separated or squished together, but there was movement and sound. My brother was about five meters away from me, but still his heavy falling hands were good amplifiers of the sound or maybe the ground under me was just an astonishing sound conductor. One would almost be tempted by spiritualist explanations of relationality between my auditory apparatus and the group of grains of sand being activated, for so contrasting was the distance of space with the nearness of sound. Like feeling inside and outside at the same time. On the one hand because of the distance to my brother, which made me feel like observing from the outside. On the other hand, because of empathizing with the moving sand as if witnessing it from the inside.
My brother was digging a whole in the sand.
His hands were falling and moving around, diving into the sand mass and mixing it like bread dough. The movement itself was not clear. It was not clear when it ended, when it started, intensity levels would merge and measured force would oscillate between 5 N and 10 N.
The weight of his elegant body was supported by his cracking knees. He would change in regular sequences from having them touching the sand to having them bent over his feet to having them slightly bent in a right angle to having them stretched and holding the tip of his butt towards the sky. His arms were vigorously fast and precise. From the hole to the pile of sand and back. Biceps and brachioradialis playing in simple triple, hamstring group, gastrocnemius and achilles tendon dancing to a waltz in santeuse, clavicle, radius and phalanges blinking through the tanned skin and conducting everything, playfully wrapping texture and sound to the body that could be called my brother. A whole planet of the momentum orchestra, as unique and ephemeral as every moment of his growing body, synchronized and coherent, beautifully harmonious in the way of involving different levels of musicality: bones, skin, hair, muscles, moving moles, shadows and bits of flesh accumulating and forming striped patterns. Sand adding the back vocals. Everything was moving and being moved, five meters away from me. Sadly I was stiff as a rock. And yet maybe not so sadly, since being so still was enabling me to listen to the body-material momentum orchestra.
My brother was digging a whole on the sand, reaching deeper and deeper down with the tip of his hands. The deeper he went, the more sand would stay stored under his fingernails, the less surface of his body he would use to remove sand from the bottom of the hole and to place it on the pile on his right side. The more he dug, the more his feet moved, since the space between the picked up sand and the pile of sand expanded. And by moving his feet he would also move his legs that seemed to be opening and closing without any reluctance. The deeper his hole went, the more textured this music of the movement would become. It would become gradually louder and throw more stimuli at me. There would be too many things to look at and to listen to, but still from perceiving only the parts of the music that you perceived, you would get a satisfying impression of the whole. Understanding that that there was much more to listen to would not lead one to hopelessly give up on giving their attention to it, because it would not be impossible to get a whole notion of the complete set. It was an incredibly well composed piece.
The intentionality of the way in which he was doing it was not to be put in question. But besides from that there was also something somehow exterior and not rooted in himself that was making the set of movements possible. Not only was my brother embodying a synchronized and organic set of movements that he himself decided to manage, but he was also allowed to move and be moved in that way. And the reason for that was his himness.
If it was for me, I would also be in that exact same moment moving my body from one place to the other, using my limbs and playfully piercing the air around. I would move my legs around with the help of my feet, airing them by letting them be spread and attached to each other without any reluctance. I would allow myself to make my muscles visible, give them the opportunity to slightly cross the threshold of my skin. I would turn my body into geometrical forms and, use my joints to make beautiful angles, draw straight lines crossing or bending together. Because that was exactly how it felt right.
My brother was digging a whole in the sand and his body was enjoying itself.
If it was for me I would also be moving like that. I don’t like not to move, I don’t like to stay still. I like to feel my muscles and bones working together. I like to jump from one place to the other, using every moment to (re)discover a new set of movement combinations or patterns of my body. I would use every moment to become something different, taking inspiration from my favorite animals, my favorite cartoons, my favorite plants, my favorite songs, my favorite colors, the sea and the clouds to move around.
Some years before I would have followed my brother and helped him out with the hole. The deepness of the whole would not be a reflection of my motionlessness, but rather of my entertainment. It would not be a reminder of something concrete that I couldn’t be, rather it would be a possibility to understand what I could potentially become. But somehow now I was not only growing inside my body in directions that would shape these movements in different ways, but by doing so, I would also get the look of the eldest ones trying to help me out dealing with this growth. There was a time I used to move around like I was wishing to move in that moment, but sometime before I started to get more and more reactions from people. My aunt told me I looked like a little crazy one. My grandmother said I looked like a jungle monkey. My father mentioned that I was still young and would soon reach the time when I would understand to be a lady. My dentist told me it is not appropriate for a girl to spread her legs like this. My mother’s hairdresser asked why I didn’t want colorful nails. My best friend’s mother said that my fingers would become thick and boorish, my shoulders would expand and my legs would be covered with plane solid muscular fabric. The woman working at my school’s canteen told me that it was ugly when girls played with food like that and that my arms had to stick to the sides of my torso. My aunt taught me to walk with my feet parallel to each other. My mother said that I could do whatever I wanted to do, but I would have to expect that people looked at me in this or that way.
No one really told me to be this or that, but everyone told me what not to be. I was always free to choose my roots, but dangerous roots would still be presented as unwanted.
My brother was digging a whole in the sand and I was envying it. Not only was he intentionally making it possible, but he was also allowed to do so.
He was allowed to make music with his body, to draw and shape figures and I was not, in the same way that maybe I was allowed to stay still and he was not.
Firstly I was not allowed as he was because of his himness or my not-himness. Secondly, I was so fascinated by the straight perfect lines that my brother would draw with his body and, adding up to that, judging from the critical posture that most of the adults had towards my behavior, I was relatively afraid of drawing lines with my not so dry clean elegant body that was now growing two little stones on my torso, growing hair on my armpits and developing a sinuous waist prolonging my love handles. The lines wouldn’t turn out to be straight and clean and the patterns wouldn’t be aligned. They would rather turn out to be something asymmetrical, curvy, irregular. And that didn’t make me feel secure, because it was not natural for me, as the straightness, geometrical cleanness would be. Contrasting with my brother’s natural grasp of his own body, I felt detached from mine. So, instead of finding a way of drawing with my body that wasn’t my brother’s way, I just stayed still, motionless, petrified, because the only way I felt secure about adopting seemed to be prohibited. So I just laid there still on the towel, looking at my brother.
My brother was digging a hole in the sand and the deeper he dug, the stronger he kept me laying static and unmovable on my towel.
And now came the final crescendo. The first cymbals crash when my brother’s feet land on the hole’s ground. It was already deep enough to cover his body until his shoulders. Now he just made the sand fly over him – the cymbals scratching each other – and land directly on the pile of sand – violins playing in a fast staccato. And the palm of his hands turned to his face repeating a straight line from the bottom hole to the top of his head. With a sudden beat of the bass drum whenever the hand stopped over his head, the sand would be projected to the pile.
I was listening to a harmonious geometrical orchestra of color and texture playing in front of me and stayed still with my breast facing the ground. I was not even able to produce sound waves below 20 Hz or above 20 kHz, not even colors coming from light waves below 390 and over 700 nanometers. I was just a frozen music player, a hairless paintbrush, a block of stone that lived forever without ever being sculpted.
My brother was digging a deep hole on the sand and made me feel outside and inside at the same time: looking at my brother from a five meters distance and envying him for his himness. Feeling the sand from the inside as if my brother would excavate me with every single movement he did or was allowed to do.