Thursday, November 15, 2012

She Spoke no English

Guadalupe Diaz Sr.
             "Would you like to dance?"
“No. No thank you. No English,” she said, nodding and smiling.
"I will show you how to dance." I smiled back and extended my hand.
"I’m good at teaching. Dancing's not hard—you can do it."
“No, I no good," she said, blushing.
“It’s just a Bachatta. It's a romantic dance, really easy to learn. It's one, two, three tap. One, two, three..."
“Yes," she said, but she was shaking her head no. Her Spanish accent was strong.
I wasn't ready to give up. “I know you don’t want to because of what people will say about you, dancing with me. But it's just a dance. Not a marriage proposal."
She smiled and shook her head no again.
"Tomorrow," I said, "you'll wake up in the morning and say to yourself, 'I should have danced with that good-looking guy.' Tomorrow you will wish you would have danced just to see if you could do it. To see if you could have learned to dance like all the other pretty girls. Instead, you will sit here, and I will get up, walk away, and dance with someone else."
She shook her head no again. This time without the smile.
"It’s just a Bachatta, The dance is so simple. One, two, three, tap. One, two, three, tap. You can do that. Haven't you heard this song before?"
Suddenly she pushed me away. I was forced to stand. She arose, and I thought she was going to hurry off to the restroom, but instead she marched to the dance floor, the Latin music still beating loudly, thumping its steady rhythm.
Agile dancers—turning, flinging, spinning—packed the dance floor. She waited for a split second before I reached her, and we began in an awkward ritual of one, two, three, tap. First, in the direction of her right—one two three tap. Then, toward her left we continued, the Latin music never stopping.
We danced to a different song, same rhythm. We moved as one. I showed her the Cradle move, the Vamperia, the Hair-comb, the Yoke. Then her inside turn, my inside turn, and the turn in unison. I continued to teach and she continued to learn. As we danced, the Latin music pounded on, and our steps flowed.
The dance floor cleared then filled.
Then cleared and refilled itself like a tide.
She clung to me in the dark, noisy inside night. She clung to me as if she were drowning, holding on tightly to her life preserver. We floated upon the ocean crust. Together we rode the waves of the music, one score after another of the familiar tempo.
She inhaled my fading cologne, mixed with my sweat—my favorite shirt was drenched. And we were soaked in the sea of dancers and the sound of the crashing waves of loud Latin music. We spun together as one, elaborately in unison. We released then reengaged, smoothly. The music continued without end, as did our embrace. She danced as if it were her first time. Maybe her final time.
Surprisingly, the ballroom lights switched on, as if the sun had risen. A bilingual announcement replaced the music:  "Thank you. Have a safe trip home. Adios, amigos."
We separated from our lovers' grasp. I walked her to her chair. She flung on her coat and bid me goodbye and thank you with her eyes and her smile.  I caught her quick glance at her left hand as she dabbled at her ring finger. It possessed only a faded tan line where a diamond ring once was. The faded tan line symbolized the slow acceptance of lost love.
Sadness now washed across her eyes.
She padded my soaked chest and looked up at me.
A gleaming grin, a flicker of eyelashes, a glance over her shoulder, a hair flip—then she spun and looked back at me, her eyes capturing mine for an instant.  Her high heels clicked on the hardwood floor her as she stepped through an exit door and into the darkness. I realized she spoke no English.  
The End
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