Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Cliched Tango - (Argentine tango, romance

Published in Doble Ocho Magazine

Imagine how is it to question if love exists. Grab hold of a feeling that no one could love you, why should they? What is there that is special about you? You are not beautiful. He never says so. He points out things that make you shy and unconfident. People on the street take more care and time to notice you, than your own lover. You do everything wrong, like putting the wrong seasoning in a meal you are lovingly making or use too much washing liquid for the dishes. Little things you never thought about before suddenly become something to avoid because of criticism.

YOU are too young and inexperienced to know that love can be something more. Not this strange in between world where you slowly close off from yourself and the person this lover was first attracted to. You become a nothing, he leaves you and then you have to piece yourself together again.

All this might have been avoided if he could simply say he was insecure about our age difference. Which was big, almost 20 years. That he found it difficult when I danced with other men closely. I own that I had too few experiences of relationships at 18 to hold my own ground.

One ‘tango romance’, my first, left me with these feelings. It took me 3 years later to put this newfound scepticism to rest. I found a love in a completely unexpected place. I had heard all these stories about the flirtyness of Argentine men, but I found one that defies the clichés. Or maybe it’s more apt to say he found me. We danced one night about 4 tandas, anyone going to Buenos Aires will know what that is supposed to mean. But we had only just met; we talked in our broken English and Spanish all night. Sharing experiences of everything from teaching tango to past loves. We sat under a moonlit sky, with waves of warmth surrounding us from the humid and sticky day (many clichés) that had been. He kissed me and then asked if it was ok. We kissed again (me smiling).

The next night we ended up sitting on my doorstep after a milonga, talking in the new day. Watching the sun rise and become engulfed in buckets of rain that drenched everything in seconds. Soaked to the skin we went up stairs to get dry. Later we sat naked and watched a meteor shower, hundreds of shooting stars. You are supposed to make a wish if you see a shooting star; I wished the night would continue forever in the calm, loving warmth of this beautiful man. The weeks I was with him shot by, I was so ill one night that I expected him to leave. I thought it was just fun us being together. But he covered me with a blanket and lit candles all round the bed. We talked for hours asking each other’s secrets. He told me he loved me. I was deeply surprised. He told me I was beautiful but timid and shy. I told him of my past stories and he understood. He told me of his and I understood. He was older than my first ‘tango romance’, but so completely different. Like dark skin and white. But I had to leave, return to my real world where love doesn’t exist.

We said goodbye, but we wrote everyday for months until I finished it. It was too much to feel so deeply for someone who wasn’t there. I transferred all this to another man 9 days later, only knowing this in hindsight. That story finished and I was going back to Argentina again. The first night I was there this beautiful man opened his arms and embraced me. We found another doorstep in some barrio, and caught up on the stories of the last year. He told me he had fallen into a relationship to get over me, but he was here now and nothing had changed. He loved me. How could anyone care so much about me that he would still love me after all this time? It might sound like ego, but I honestly didn’t believe until after this moment, that someone could feel this way about me. And more importantly that I feel the same way about him in return. I realised love isn’t about the clichés but how it feels to be present and loving with someone. There is often a good cliché that defines love but goes nowhere close to describing the rawness of feeling both wonderful and terrified in any one moment.