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February 19, 2024

Tango 11

By Beate Sigriddaughter

Chapter 11: Tara's Unease

I had no idea how to respond to Kevin after I read Robin's notebook entry which he must have typed up. There was something bold and admirable in his sharing this with me. I hardly recognized him in the writing. In the fragments of reality in which I knew him, he hadn't come across as uncaring and indifferent. It made me sad to think of the many holes left in this world by withholding whatever it is we keep withholding from each other.

The next Friday I went out dancing, I decided to leave all my anger and resentment at home and look at the scenery, whether I got to dance or not. It was always iffy, especially with Kevin still absent. Once at a dance I had met a woman who was busy making drawings of the dancers. I sat down next to her to admire some of her work. She wore a cast on her right leg.

"What happened to your leg?" I asked.

"Broke it. Doctor says I need to stay off another six weeks. But I so love the tango. So I figured I'd come and make at least some drawings of the rest of you until I can get back into the fray again."

I'd felt sorry for her. If I couldn't dance myself, I'd be far too envious of everybody else out there having a marvelous time, I thought. Now I understood her a little bit better. Looking around -- especially while not dancing and therefore not even tempting Maricela to remind me of that one little thing of not looking around -- and feeling all these dreams swirling around me was a magical experiment. I realized that everybody dancing out there on the floor had a body housing a soul filled with wonder and desire, as did everybody sitting on the edge of the dance floor hoping to dance later, or hoping to score sex later on. I watched a lovely young woman with a black long fringed dress and golden high heel sandals who paraded from table to bathroom to table again several times. She was part of a group of five. The four others were couples and she was the beautiful outsider. Nobody asked her to dance. Her lovely face wore a shadow after an hour or so. What were her dreams? Especially way back when she stood in front of the mirror at home putting on her gorgeous dress and her dramatic makeup?

And the men sitting on the bar stools, looking like they had no intention of dancing, but checking out all the beautiful dancers, especially the women, I imagined. What were their thoughts? Predatory? Melancholy? Lonely? Hopeful?

Despite the fact that no one thus far had danced with me, I felt an openness toward everyone. Until, that is, Lalo came over and told me he wanted to introduce me to some friends. Three men and a woman. I was hopeful. I sat down at their table. Lalo left. One of the men wouldn't look at me at all. One of them explained he was a student at the university and couldn't dance at all -- though later on I saw him dance quite adequately with a lovely young Indian woman. The third man tapped his feet to the music, but didn't ask me to dance. Only the woman was friendly. So I stood up and left to return to my own table again, feeling sadly deflated. And even so, I kept thinking, what were they dreaming? What were they hoping for? And why were they so closed to me even when someone made the effort to introduce us? Was I exuding too much glumness again? But no, that couldn't be. I had been feeling such warmth and compassion for all of us.

I suddenly remembered the beautiful red-dressed woman I had seen dance on my first night at the club. I had never seen her or her arrogant partner again. Probably from out of town then. But many other faces were familiar now. Many names.

It was getting late and I didn't have a sketch book on me. I did have a small notebook and a pen in my shoe bag, but it felt awkward to pull it out and start writing in the middle of a milonga. What would people think? Just as I decided to go home and try again some other night, Doreen and Jake came in. He went to get them drinks as Doreen joined me at my table.


"Hey, yourself. I was about to leave. Not much action. For me anyway."

"Well, we have some news. We're getting married."

"Wow. Congratulations. That's fantastic. Deserves a hug, don't you think?" We stood up and held each other for a while. "Fantastic," I repeated.

"It is indeed." Doreen was glowing even more than her usual black fox glow, if that was possible. "You'll be getting a proper invitation soon. By the way, do you have Kevin's address? You seem to be chums. I want to send him an invitation, too."

"I do have his address," I said, "but he's still out of town."

"No, he isn't," Doreen said. "I saw him at the grocery store the other day. He wasn't looking very good."

"That can't be," I said. I felt gob-smacked.

"I'm sure it was him," she said. "After all, I've been plastered to his masterful chest often enough."

"Well, I'll find his address for you when I get home," I said and started gathering my belongings and drinking the last of my club soda. It barely made it down my throat, so tight had it become. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it.

"Kevin," I emailed, still reeling from an odd feeling of betrayal. "Doreen said she saw you at the grocery store."

"Yes," he replied. "I'm back."

Article © Beate Sigriddaughter. All rights reserved.
Published on 2020-10-12
Image(s) are public domain.
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