“Listen,” Max said, holding Dolores’s eyes. “You told me once that passion in Tango stays within each dance. No overflow. I’m skeptical. My best dance recently was with a long limbed African beauty who smiled secretively as we held each other close, our bodies in sync with Di Sarli’s urges. But you know all about Fairouz. Did I mention her pink silk dress? She reminded me of the complex inner parts of a white orchid. I longed to forage in her scented folds and recesses. And this longing grew as one dance followed another. When the music stopped, the everyday took over, but Fairouz still roamed through my mind.”
“Tell me more,” Dolores said. She sipped her vermouth, eyes half-smiling, her lips moist on the sharp curve of her glass.
“Last week I had a private lesson with Florida Takashi,” Max said, “this time at a rented beach-front condo. We danced in a small sitting room, all the furniture pushed back, with picture windows overlooking a porch and the surf beyond. Florida drilled me in nuances of tango balance, intention and passion. Afterwards, spent, changing back into my everyday shoes, I sat for a second on the edge of a glass-topped table. With a loud concussion the glass shattered into shards, sharp as scimitars. Florida’s languorous Tango ambiance vanished instantly, and embarrassment and confusion ensued.”
A warm breeze from the marsh stirred the ribbon in Dolores’s hair.
“I’m glad you had a class with Florida,” she said, “I can already feel the difference in your dance. But the smashed glass table has sapped your passion for tango, which alone would have healed you. When you break or drop anything, stop for a moment and look inside; something is not in harmony with your soul.”
She looked out towards the harbor, where an ocean liner edged into the dock, a tugboat at her bow and another at the stern. Max watched as bats flitted and dipped across the marsh, and thought of premonition and synchrony. The soundtrack in the background paused for a moment before resurfacing as a tango waltz. He took Dolores’s hand and she came into his arms. His fingers rested gently on the cool supple flow of her back, touching and letting go as the music drew them closer. She closed her eyes and let her body be guided by his, and by the liquid notes spinning their familiar weft and weave of tango.
“I’m wary of drops and breaks,” he said as the song ended. “The smashed glass table distanced me from Tango. But when the bandoneons and violins sounded in the humid aftermath of tropical thunderstorms, I thought of Charleston and the ruin of the Hotel Fakir. I wanted an end to intrigue, to vengeful overflow from Infanteria Septima, and to ignorant confusion of damaged ego with Tango. I thought of you, Dolores. You came here for Ignatio’s sake. Now that we’re rebuilding the Hotel Fakir, won’t you stay a little longer?”