Alittle respite from these sultry summer nights…
She stepped off the bus, partially consumed by the exhaust dense in the frigid night air. She was stocky and squat, almost square, her actual shape concealed under a heavy coat. A thick wool scarf knotted at her neck. A hat pulled low, fur ear flaps resting on her shoulders. She wore bulky boots. Had she not carried a purse, one might have assumed she was a he.
Turning onto a dimly lit street, she walked the short distance to an old storefront. She unlocked the door, turning the lights on as she stepped inside.
She crossed the studio floor. In the back room, she slid off her coat and scarf, shivering slightly as she hung them up. The hat and boots remained, while her dark silk dress flowed over her body like a lover’s hands. The image she presented was comical.
Static sparked as she pulled off her hat. She drew her hand idly through her charcoal curls as the hat joined her coat on the peg. She sat on an old wooden chair to pull off her heavy boots and slip her feet into dancing shoes, the aged leather soft and thin with use and love.
“Bon soir, Chérie ! Tu es la ?” he called. “Are you here, my darling?”
“Oui, oui. J’arrive,“ she answered. “Coming.”
The strains of Piazzolla’s Oblivion sounded. A tiny gasp escaped her. The tango. That tango. Heart breaking, yet filled with love. Intimate. Passionate.
His back was to her as she entered the room. He was long, elegant in every move, even as he draped his coat across the chairs. His features strong and handsome. His hair had passed from grey to white years before. He saw her in the mirror and smiled. He turned and bowed deeply as she approached. One arm extended in an invitation to dance. She accepted.
He was tall, she was not. They were different, but in this world, together, they moved as one. Grace personified. Intimate. Passionate. Complete.
The music ended. For a moment they were reluctant to leave their reality; reluctant to discharge the intimacy, the beauty, the love.
Applause broke the silence. Tentative, at first, then wholehearted. “Brava!” “Bravo!” “Encore!” the small gathering enthused.
Startled into the present, they let go of each other. ”Oh, my! You’re here,” she said.
They bowed graciously, blushing. “Merci. Merci. You are too kind.”
She clapped sharply. “Now, Class, let us begin. Une valse, s’il te plait. A waltz, please.”
The Dance by Caroline Harrison