Sunday, February 17, 2008

Break My Heart

I adored him because he held me in his arms as if he would love me forever. During his favourite songs he would hum them as he danced, lending his aire of musicality another dimension. And I danced with him as if he were apart of me, an extension of my heart come to life in milonga form. This was his draw to the followers, he would hold all of them as if he'd love them forever. Young or old, no matter, they all felt like reincarnations of Grace Kelly and Ginger Rogers when embraced by him. And I fell, though at the very least pride would not let me become the proverbial ton of bricks. I fell the way Rome fell, slowly and with some cajoling and a whole lot of decadence.

I met him quite randomly, as we meet everyone quite randomly at tango festivals. He liked to wink at me, sometimes before and sometimes after he cabaceo'd me to the floor, my heart pitter-patter-ing for his gracefulness. When in close embrace I would be eager for his heartbeat and when in open embrace his dark eyes would light a fire inside mine the way Vesuvius lighted Pompeii. Sometimes he would purposely seek me out when his favourite songs appeared, saying "I feel like a cheeseball singing this song into anybody else's ear." And I would tease him, replying "oh? Probably because you're trying to impress everyone else!" And we would tease each other on and off the floor, with our words, our body parts, our ganchos and boleos. In his arms, ochos were not just ochos but a divine compilation of my body and his sweetness. He was always and of the utmost, a gentleman. It's not every man who considers a woman's height, weight and style to his own and adjusts accordingly... and then escorts her back to her seat at the end of the tanda. By the time the sun was rising through the windows, my head was laid upon his shoulders (I don't do this just for anyone, you know) and something just fit somewhere in the ether.

He asked me out for brunch with his surviving friends as the time drew close. I declined. I already had plans with friends, I said. Code of honour had it that I never blow off friends after making plans. But I would like to dance with him again soon, I said. And so we did the next night. And the next night. He asked me out again but again, I already had dinner plans with friends. Somehow it happened that his friends and my friends were at the same dinner table that night. He wouldn't sit next to me however, a preference for sitting across from me, all the better to look into my eyes easily, he later confessed. We connected on so many levels and of course, ultimately the dance floor. One time he even plucked a flower off one of the tables and placed it in my hair during a tanda.

I'm not quite sure where the beginning ended and the end began, but we didn't dance anymore. It's not easy to carry on a romance at a festival when everyone is so far from reality and then to maintain that romance ongoing. At a later festival I'd try to catch his eye, watching him catch someone else's eye. I'd watch him hold someone else in an embrace that spoke of eternity, swearing I could hear him hum. But it wasn't for my ears, as the arms holding him were no longer mine.

Tango is the dance of love, passion and sensuality. Having your heart broken is the price you pay for having too much of that passion and sensuality centered on any one person at any one time. For the ladies that journey to BA in singledom, beware. The proof can be seen with redden eyes in darken corners and the sniffling in the ladies' room. Though I don't mean to intend that this happens only in BA, mine was broken in Paris. So not only was I another statistic, I was also a cliché. However, it did prepare me for BA.

And this isn't just for the ladies alone - the gentlemen of my acquaintances have had their hearts broken as well. There are so many lovely ladies with passion and charm, all waiting to melt into a desirous connection. What surprises me is that it doesn't happen more often! Yet I will be glad for my own sanity anyhow, that it doesn't for me. Not only did I lose a wonderful lover, I lost a favourite dancer! I learned my lesson. Once bitten, twice shy and all that - dancers are dancers and lovers are lovers and ne'er the twain shall meet! Or at the very least, my heart and I will tread thrice carefully.

Foreward: Some time passed, and it happened that that same gentleman caught my eye in Denver. He cabaceo'd me and I stared back. I deliberated. Should I? Shouldn't I? If I did, would it still be the same? If I didn't would it convey I'm still smarting over trifles? I deliberated long enough to make him wonder. Then I smiled and nodded towards the floor. We danced. It was fabulous, but nowhere near the time when Rome fell.

1 comment:

Mark Andersen said...

Thank you to the two women I tangoed with last night at ODC that mentioned how much you loved Sappho's "Break My Heart" post. I was also captivated. Or, as one emailer said, "Holy crap! I couldn't race to the end of Sappho's Confession fast enough to see what happened!"