Another exploration of traditional elements, Korionto’s work sets itself under the hints of a post-apocalyptic world where abandoned temples host power cells and dancing can recharge batteries. But it’s not really the dancing that gives energy—it’s the collective care that queer people show one another, the care needed to be able to overcome their internalised transphobia and other prejudices, allowing them to love themselves fully.
“Have we considered not dancing in circles to recharge my bike’s battery?”
“Have you considered time efficiency?”
“I see you. I hear you.” The courier clasps her fingers in faux-thoughtfulness. “And to that I raise the question, what if I stole another power cell from one of those abandoned Wats in the countryside?”
“Be my guest.” Her partner shrugs, nonchalant. “Pretty adharmic of a former monk though, no?”
Satthavuthi harrumphs and falls onto her mat. “You don’t even believe in Dharma.”
Selachey takes another sip of wine. “But I do believe in artistic integrity. Those temples mattered to the people who put their lives and efforts into crafting them. You don’t need to take any more than you need to, especially since your battery is rechargeable.”
“Dancers,” Satthavuthi mutters. “Okay, fine. I’ll try doing things your way.”
“Great! We can get started when Soma gets back,” Selachey chirps.
Satthavuthi buries her face in her pillow.
“You want to dance?” Soma almost drops her glass.
“Want is a bit strong,” Satthavuthi deadpans.
“I’ll need to recharge the battery for my bike so I can make my deliveries this week for Auntie. Our wonderful partner over there—” Selachey winks. “—has successfully guilt tripped me into not committing theft on abandoned religious properties.”
“I—okay. We can set up the circle outside now, if you’d like.” Soma carefully places her glass back on the table.
“Sounds like a plan.”
“Alright. You can fetch the wood for the bonfire and Selachey can get the chalk to set up the energy circuit. I’ll get the audio player ready.”
Left, right. Time my footwork to the beat of the drums, Satthavuthi repeats to herself. Position the palm this way, angle the wrists this way. Concentrate on the drums, use the dance cycle to draw in the ambient energy…
As she curves her wrist up, her attention falls to the back of her hand. She grimaces, trying to ignore the sight—a strong hand, inclined more to ball into a fist and throw a punch than perform the gentle sweeping motions of the dance. It’s ungraceful. Rude. Intrusive.
Of course, dancing itself knows no gender. Masculinity is no impediment—Selachey, a rising star and master, would gleefully attest to that. No, for Satthavuthi, the problem is the idea that she is masculine. The fear that such a beautiful action cannot be hers to claim.
She tries to move her focus from her hand, but the wind chooses right then to pick up on her back. It flows off and around her broad frame, as if to poke at her rigidity and sharpness. As if to tell her that she was hewn from stone, better left in the dark—just like an abandoned Wat.
But as Soma would fussily remind her, those Wats house stone statues of women—goddesses, who are made corporeal not merely through a mold or an image, but by faith from those who believe in them. Devotees through the ages have sought not just grace, but firmness as well. Power.
None of it is hers, though. It can’t be. She can’t be like them—
No, Satthavuthi stops herself.
This isn’t what gentle, warm Selachey would want, whose guidance is at her back as a warm southerly wind. And firm, stalwart Soma would admonish her for thinking ill of her partner, the one she’s invested her time and faith in.
This is a body that can create beauty. This is the body that Soma and Selachey love and care for. It’s now my turn to care for it.
Satthavuthi leans into the wind and dances with a renewed fluidity, as the energy circuit below her grows slightly brighter. She doesn’t notice the smile now adorning her face.
Satthavuthi takes a seat against the wall, beholding her now fully-recharged battery. Soma lies down beside her and leans against her shoulder, putting her hand over the back of Satthavuthi’s and weaving her fingers in-between.
“Thanks,” Satthavuthi whispers.
“Never forget that your everything is our everything, too,” Soma says softly.
Selachey chooses then to enter the room. “Told you so.” He doesn’t try to hide his smirk.
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Satthavuthi sticks out her tongue at him.