When I arrived at Saturday's milonga, I felt I was in no condition to dance. My ears were ringing, I was exhausted, distracted, melancholy. Friday brought news of the death of a friend - a stupid, senseless death. I was angry at fate, maybe even at God, for taking a friend from this world in such a heartless way.
It's been long enough now that I at least recognize that it's better to go and sit at the milonga, to listen to music and talk with friends, than to sit at home contemplating the unfairness of it all. Still, I was in no mood to dance. But I can't help smiling when I walk into Esquina Tango. No matter what's happened, how my day has been - walking up the steps to Esquina is like going to the home of a favorite relative. It's cozy and warm and welcoming.
Milongas at Esquina always bring pleasant surprises. I don't know why or how that happens - but it happens every time I go. Tonight brought an old friend I hadn't seen in almost 15 years. I couldn't believe me eyes when I saw her after so long. Loss doesn't work like a balance sheet, but finding an old friend in the same 24 hours as getting the news that I'd lost another - I had no way to process that timing.
The mini-beginner class started and I got up to join in. I'd planned on doing some walking to the music and the usual pre-milonga class exercises. Nothing too taxing. Just another way to enjoy the music. When it came time to actually practice some dancing, I returned to my seat. But they were a woman short and so I got back up and joined the partnerless leader. This was the first time I would be dancing socially with this gentleman though he'd been in my classes.
The music started and I closed my eyes. The ringing in my ears stopped. The music got through the haziness in my brain and it felt wonderful. I didn't think about it, I didn't apologize for anything, I didn't warn him that I was tired. We just danced. How on earth did I think it would be better not to dance? Each song we danced I was completely surprised by the end. How did it go so fast?
When the milonga started, I danced and danced and danced. I chatted and caught up and hugged. Glover was wonderful. Fil played outstanding music during the breaks. I sniffled through Pat's birthday vals. The milonga was over before I knew it.
Maybe the best time dance is when I think I can't.