“Passion (or seduction)” by Carmen James, NYC

Love and Heartbreak July 27, 2011 17:35


Standing over the bridge on Puerto Madero I felt I was sailing. The bright sun and the seemingly effortlessly elevated bridge suspended me, the rippling water, the cool-constant breeze the blue of the sky tempered by the grey of the harbor. In my airborne state I felt at peace. It was a short walk from there down Avenida Defensa to the Sunday fair of San Telmo which was teeming with people and quite overwhelming. It was not so much the shouting vendors and the tango music, but the constant bumping into people and the feeling there was no where to move or turn to. It turns out all the students here are on vacation and tend to flock to these sorts of fairs, though there also seemed to be a large number of tourists. It was a contrast, not only in design, modernity and wealth but also in feeling: the cobblestone
street and bustle of San Telmo, narrow and antiquated were a marked difference from the clean swooping lines and open space of Puerto Madero. The tango music in the daytime streets mixed in my mind with the tango music of the night before, the bandoneon players, the solo female singers whose body shook with the force of her voice, and the
lone couple who danced with grace, sweeping, kicks and swoops of the body leaving me breathless even though I had not moved. Her face, as she glanced down in the crook of her partner’s neck just before the dance begun was one of quiet passion and love, not for him, it seemed, but for the dance she was about to begin. Her lips pressed and her eyes lowered, her face softened in a way inexplicably –like a swan landing on a still pool of water and resting and poised for flight in one moment. Her face in that instant before the dance begun hovered in my mind next to the face of the old bandoneon player, who bent over and grimaced and sighed with his eyes and cheeks as he moved the old bandoneon back and forth, his fingers pressing both sides to release sighs and moans and quickening breathes of passion. In the dark narrow space of a bar on a deserted street in San Telmo the night before, I felt I had travelled through all a thousand and one nights on Buenos Aires. Without a fire, there was the mystery and romance skirted by death in the shadowing figures of all who dance and played captured on the stone wall behind them. My breath caught for a moment in a sudden hip sweep, rapid kicking tango sequence and I thought of the waitress from dinner before, standing behind our table as we ate meat from the parilla, watching Argentina play a soccer match, gripping her fellow
waiters hand, holding her other hand over her mouth, her body shaking with every almost kick and dogged opportunity, the quick gasp and tightened grip making me jump and look for her lost lover every time.

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