A fog of curry drifted over the Bazaar, leaving Ofir's mouth dry. The sweat dripped from his light hair down his thin face, his narrow frame perfect for sliding through the crowds.
He shifted through the wide marketplace, between groups of women with baskets on their heads, men arguing loudly, and donkeys passing through. He was so busy, in fact, that he could barely see the ornate decorations adorning the buildings, the drapes of purple and scarlet silk.
He needed to find Aarav, fast. The boy had been at his side until a second ago, and if he didn't bring him back to his Mother, he'd be done for. He had to tie his shoelaces at the exact moment a band started playing nearby. That kind of act would've gotten him a stern look from his commander. He followed the noise, a percussion of drums with a harmony of sitars, bansuris, and pungis. The crowd dissipated as he grew closer to the music.
It was through a small crowd that he saw Aarav race back to him, with his seemingly lost Mother in tow. The two of them shared smiles as Ofir found his sister and nephew.
"The crowd is spreading and getting thinner. What's going on?"
Noa turned to her brother, a head shorter than her, and replied back in their native tongue. "It's another big wedding going on. They're having a big dance before the reception."
"In the middle of the market?!"
She smirked. "It's only a few minutes. Besides, it's beautiful to watch, and we have an enjoyable view from the middle of it."
They migrated towards the sidewalk as the music grew louder and more harmonious.
Hundreds of women in scarlet satin slid down the street in synchronized swaying. Their henna-covered hands reached to the heavens as the music crescendoed into a ballad.
A woman, dressed in yellow and adorned with henna and sparkling jewelry, sashayed within the group of women, the sounds of Hindi flowing melodically from her lips. The group moved as one, dancing with the band to their own rhythm.
Farther down the street, an assembly of men stomped to their own swing of the same song. Dressed in green tunics and headpieces, only one of them stood out, a red flower in a field of living grass.
"Ofir, we should join them!" Aarav tugged at his mother's and uncle's pants.
Ofir's eyes lit up, to Noa's concern.
"What a great idea! Noa, can we-"
"Oh," Aarav moaned, shoving his hands into his pockets and shuffling his flip-flopped feet.
"Can I at least go?"
Noa looked down at her brother, raised his head up, and in the calmest voice she could gather, said:
"You're 16. If you could travel to India from Tel-Aviv, then you could certainly do this. Just remember, if anything happens to you, Imma will kill me, and then you. Hevanta (Understand)?"
"Ken (Yes). Hevanti (I understand)."
To Aarav's protest, Ofir raced into the Men's dance, entering the field as the red flower contorted and waved his hands above and around his body.
Being on the outside of the circle closest to the women, he got caught as they danced towards each other. The two groups raced towards each other, then between each other. In his tan shirt and khaki jeans, he looked like a piece of dust in the sea of green and red. The red and yellow flowers danced as one, with the rest of them dancing in a different flow.
Soon enough, Ofir caught on to the beat and mastered the dances. Soon he looked like a flower as well, dancing along with the women in red and the men in green. The group circled the two flowers as they danced atop a growing podium in the middle of the marketplace as if planned in the architecture since the beginning. He wanted a better look, so he moved in closer to see the two lovebirds as the priest married them on the spot. Only when he felt the rice hit him did he realize that they had just gotten married.
Now he became stuck in the inner circle. With no way to get out and relearn a new dance they had just begun, he resorted to doing the one thing he wished he didn't have to do; dance his own way, among strangers, in the middle of a celebration that must have been planned for weeks, including rehearsals...
Then the dancers saw him miss steps, clap at the wrong times, and as the music stopped, see him continue to dance to his own rhythm.
He never made that many people laugh at once. Even before he found his super-power, he never had been able to pull it off. Even Noa and Aarav couldn't stop laughing.
He grinned along with them. He knew they were laughing at him, but in this case, it was perfectly fine. Since he found his power to make people laugh, he knew that he was going to be the butt of the joke. Yet that was a risk he was going to learn to make.
Ofir Yitzhaki traveled to India to figure himself out, similar to most Israeli soldiers on Holiday. Yet after discovering this power to make people laugh, he ponders what that will mean for his life. With the help of an Ethiopian girl and his supportive older sister, he'll learn what it truly means to make people laugh.
Learn to laugh, learn to live.
While this story was planned for later, I'm curious what you think about this concept. Would you want me to write about this now over everything else? Let me know! Thanks, bye!