My first gig at Tannourine, in October 2011, and you danced with us. You were the one who gathered us to do Puja.
Blue Diamonds Belly Dance (Tannourine Restaurant, October 2011)
I will never forget the gig at Club OMG. It was Halloween 2012. We had fun, didn't we? The gig came from you and you said you thought about me when you talked to the owner about us for Halloween. Well, it is a gay club, so that made sense. That evening, someone committed suicide on the tracks at Embarcadero BART station and my train stopped at MacArthur for at least an hour. But it was one of the best gigs ever. Two Indian-flavored sets. You chose the songs. You sent me a text message asking if I got home safely that night. I still have the drink coupon that the club owner gave us.
Then Devotion Kickstarter party came. That morning, you had a performance at Rakkasah. It was a back-to-back thing, and you came late as we were discussing our set. I told a friend that I thought you were being unprofessional, but we were all high-strung. I didn't say it to your face, though. Yeah, I stab people from behind.
You were late, I am not Mr. Goody Two-Shoes, and they can only mean one thing: we're humans. A life-form. And death is inevitable for all life-forms. Only yours was too quick. Unexpectedly so.
Stasi, you were there at Tribal Fest 13. This was Saturday, May 18, 2013. I saw you in the left wing. I greeted you. We hugged. Then you moved to the center seats with Laura, Sandi, and me. You sat with us. You laughed with us. You applauded our dance sisters, the Blue Diamonds Belly Dance, as they performed on stage, their devotion and hard work shone through their smiles and confidence. You zaghareeted with us.
And then you were gone.
The Blue Diamonds ladies said you were there in the green room, wishing everyone good luck. As e-mails after e-mails poured in, everyone agreed: you were charming, you were bitingly funny, you had that sarcasm that I greatly enjoyed, you could let things slide off your back with ease, but you were also human.
Now you are more than that. Now you are boundless, limitless, and I shall carry your energy, your strength, your smile, your courage, and your presence in my Puja, in my posture, in my dance.
Rest in peace, my dear friend.
Anastasia Martin (8 October 19XX - 20 May 2013)
Second photo by Shelly Swanegan Hamalian.