↓ Transcript
Dee: You can read it if you like.
Zoe (email):

Dear Dee,

I hope you are well, and that you had fun last week (it looked like it). I just wanted to apologise if I was weird or rude or anything. I was nervous about seeing you. I thought maybe talking would be easier if not face to face. So, email!

Was it okay that I requested all those dances? I think it's very cool. Did you have to learn them? Or did you know them automatically, like Em says you do with languages? She also says you have no brain or muscles or bones. What do you like about dancing? I play a lot of sport, and I like the way it feels to move, without thinking, because my body knows, and I like the feel of my muscles working and my blood pumping and and pushing my limits and all that. I was wondering if any of that's comparable for you at all, or what you feel.

I hope it's okay that I'm writing to you, since I flipped out when you wrote to me. Sorry about that.

From Zoe

Emily: Oh my god! Please be friends! That's so exciting!
Dee: Doubt it; I clearly still freak her out. But hey!
(He writes back:)

Dear Zoe,

I'm glad you wrote to me! But please don't worry, you weren't rude, your feelings are perfectly natural. Please don't feel obligated to interact with me in any way.

I had a fantastic time! I wasn't sure I would.

I learned to dance by copying people. I have to teach myself to imitate most motions. (But yes, not languages, even sign languages. My handwriting is shaky though.) I like a few things about dancing! Realising that people sometimes perform motions that are just aesthetic was the first way I comprehended the idea of beauty. Then people associated some kinds of dance with me and I realised I could have a go, so I started with those. I'm interested in the social aspects too, but I'd never danced with living people before!

You're right, I probably don't feel the same things when I move as you do, but I do have some kind of proprioception. I have no idea how the sensations would compare to yours, but what you say about moving without thinking rings true; and I like the awareness of my body, the flow of energy, and rhythm. It makes me feel real and part of something.

Kind regards,

Emily: Very nice!
Dee: I hope so. (He hits send.) Anyway, what was I - Oh yes! So! Emily! What are you doing next year?
Emily: What do you mean, what am I - ? Have I not - Oh my gosh have I talked about this to everyone BUT you!?
Dee: Oh no, you don't have time for me anymore... Your affections, too divided... you used to tell me everything... Nah I know you were deciding between physics and medicine?
Alt text: He's actually forgotten that he had to learn to perform all movements associated with languages too; innately knowing (most of) the meanings made it much easier than everything else he's ever learned. It was pretty cool when people started communicating more and more complex ideas, but because he could just do it too and because he still didn't get to talk to anyone he didn't think much of it, except retroactively. I don't know which came first out of language and music/dance and whether these developments were connected; but symbolic dances weren't that confusing for him, only ones that didn't seem to 'mean anything', because the idea of beauty was ABSOLUTELY INCOMPREHENSIBLE for quite a while. Also he focused on his job too much to notice any of this stuff very quickly.