April 18, 2010
A Stranger's Embrace
The handsome milonguero stood alone by the dance floor. He cast his eyes towards her. Her fingers stroked the stem of her wine glass. She nodded. He offered her his hand. "May I have this tango?"
Her eyes widened. "Yes, please." She gingerly took his hand. They walked silently to the dance floor. She stepped into his embrace. Chills danced across the nape of her neck.
If he would only hold her close for a few minutes, maybe her heartache would cease. She hoped the music and his touch would quell her melancholy. He moved her slowly, tenderly around the floor. With her eyes closed, she drew his scent within. She floated, wrapped safely in his arms.
She longed for her absent love. Every dance for her was a dance of dreams - wishing to be whole again. Four minutes at a time, she pretended she was complete, when the one she yearned to dance with for eternity wasn't coming. He would not embrace her. He would not cradle her.
Although her face smiled, her soul cried with every passing step, every fleeting embrace.
He'd been watching her move about the ballroom, smiling and laughing, talking with the guests. From the first moment they met in the receiving line, he couldn't keep his eyes off her. They'd exchanged the normal pleasantries, but when he shook her hand, a rush of energy flowed through his body, and his heart suddenly beat faster. What just happened to me?
She smiled coyly and moved on, mingling in the crowd. He gazed at her from a distance and when he caught her eye, he smiled. She lowered her chin, lifted her blue eyes, and smiled back.
She was radiant. Blonde hair framed her heart-shaped face and complemented her skin, so soft. Her shoulders were small but strong, and she sashayed when she walked. Everyone she touched smiled. Her voice floated across the air and landed straight onto his soul.
Every chance he could, he smiled at her. He watched her dance with the young, the old, both men and women. She seemed to know when someone wanted to dance and coaxed them onto the dance floor.
He’d dance near her. He wanted to talk to her, to engage her in conversation, and stare at her beauty until the sun rose. He wanted to watch her sleep in his arms while he gently stroked her hair. He wanted to be next to her.
She acknowledged his presence by batting her eyelashes as she flitted from dance partner to dance partner. Every time he danced close to her, the same electricity raced through his veins. I need to know her.
When he saw her at the bar enjoying a cocktail, he joined her.
"Hi again. Thank you for being such a great hostess."
She laughed. "It's not my party, but thanks anyway."
"No, you've made it very enjoyable. You've danced practically every song. You must love dancing."
"I do. I especially love tango," she added quickly. "Do you dance tango?"
His heart stopped. "No, but I've been thinking about it."
She cooed. "Oh, I love tango. You will too if you start dancing it. It's amazing." Her smile got bigger and she leaned in closer. "It's like being hugged for hours." She closed her eyes, sighing sweetly.
"Really? Tell me more." Tony shuffled his feet a bit, closing the gap between them. I'd love to hold you for hours.
"Oh yes..." She opened her eyes and continued, "Some things you should know about tango. Traditionally, when a man wants to dance with a woman, he tries to catch her eye and asks her that way. That’s called the cabeceo. It can vary from tango community to tango community. We're a lot more relaxed about it in the U.S." She laughed. "It's funny to watch a man and a woman trying to catch each other's eye or working hard to avoid it!" She moved her head to the left, to the right and up and down, mimicking people avoiding eye contact.
He laughed along.
"There are two ways to dance tango: open and close embrace. Some people prefer open embrace, like this." She stepped in front of him, put her hand on his shoulder, and placed her other hand gently in his. His pulse quickened. "See this space between us?" She cast her eyes down her nose toward the emptiness between them.
"This is open embrace. Completely acceptable way to dance Argentine tango." Their eyes locked.
"And close embrace?" He was mesmerized.
"I think you can guess." She smiled coyly and withdrew her hands. She finished her drink. "In tango, every dance is unique, and no matter how many times you dance it, it's never the same. It's an unspoken conversation between a man and a woman that never goes stale." She paused and smirked. "If only all conversations between a man and a woman could be that way, think how many relationships could be saved!"
He laughed and nodded, fully under her spell.