When the world has too many parts and mine don’t fit, tango is another way to touch her. It can’t get me in trouble and always seems to please her, and I can drop in any time I have ten dollars and an evening hour free and wait my turn. I plod through most days like a load of cement; here I glide before I ever reach the door. I see her through the window with the one who’s come before me. She laughs up at him in a way I recognize, except it looks like pity when she does it for him. The music of her laughter over the plaintive accordion tango is rhythmic and lush, or so I imagine from the sidewalk, through the window, from my memories. I think about my shoes; are they right for dancing. I think about my hair, my age, the other men you see. I haven’t danced in days and I’m off-balance. I lean in your direction and where your body should be encounter nothing to keep me from falling. It would be romantic to say we fit together like spoons— romantic and wrong and frankly creepy. Reality is more inventive. You do the work to turn us into partners; you stretch and shift to match your limbs to mine and give us the illusion of fit. I’m obligated by convention, I know, to lead, but I’ve noticed how even dancing backwards girls with a special grace can guide. I see you now; you’re free. This is my turn. I only need to place my fingers on the small of your back to restore my equilibrium. “What’s that? No, no problem. You’re leaving early again. I understand.” There’s the look I love. “My wife will be disappointed. She notices my progress.”

Copyright ©May 25, 2007 David Hodges