After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tanguera Tales: The Beauty Part 2

Don't think that the Argentine women don't resent us because they do. We fly in, dance with their men, some of us sleep with them and then we leave. There is deep resentment against foreigners… But I had experiences on the dance floor of intimacy, seduction, sheer perfection and creative genius.
---Melanie, a norteamericana

There was no neon sign announcing the small hotel, a transitorio, where you could pay by the hour. Santiago seemed to have found it by radar. Sarah lurked in the corner of the dark reception area, conscious of her short black dress and fishnet stockings. Santiago dealt with the desk clerk who was sealed behind a window, probably bullet proof, she thought.

The room at the top of the stairs was all mirrors and pink satin, and very clean. The bathroom was also the shower, and Sarah turned on the faucet and watched the water spray over everything, including the toilet and sink. There was a squeegee in the corner for drying the tiled floor. While he took a shower, she quickly got undressed and wrapped myself in her black fringed shawl.

The headboard of the bed was like the cockpit of a jet plane: controls for everything—different lighting combinations and effects, radio, the TV. She wanted the light out so he wouldn’t see her and her body scarred from illness, age and childbearing, but at the height of his acrobatic zeal he flicked the switch to turn it on. She needn’t have worried about him scrutinizing her body, because he had eyes only for himself in the mirrors around and over the bed.

They were interrupted by a knock on the door by the reception clerk. She hadn’t signed the credit card slip, and it was passed through a sliding window making opening the door in flagrant delecto unnecessary.

Afterwards he was tender and gentle, and explained in simple Spanish about his family, his many brothers and sisters, the death of his mother when he was fourteen, and now how tango was his life and family. It was amazing to her that she could understand him. Before he slept he had her repeat in Spanish that she was his woman. Sarah de Santiago. How ridiculous, she thought while enjoying the conceit, and the sound. He had a throaty way of saying his name that was like a purr.

She couldn’t sleep. By the window’s moonlight she marveled at his halo of jet black hair on the white pillow and his strong profile with his striking Indian nose. He was the most physically beautiful man she had ever had in her bed. How odd at this time in her life! And why was he naked next to her? He was wildly attracted to her? Hardly. She was easy? Maybe. He wanted something else she had? Money? But she had made sure he understood she had no money, hadn’t she? But of course just being a tourist meant she had more money than most Argentines, and she knew her American passport made her infinitely more attractive.

She heard the clop clop of the junk man’s horse-drawn wagon, and later the laughter and bustle of children waiting under the window for the school bus in the dark morning as she lay there feeling Santiago breathe and her heart beat. be continued.

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