I write less these days. I'm still thinking, dreaming, and being overwhelmed by tango. The words just don't make it to the page fast enough. Everything seems to be going by me so fast. An entire year has gone by so fast. And now a life gone so fast.

Yesterday I got the news that a friend and coworker had passed away. I'd known him for 6 years. Breakfast tacos at 10am, the #5 bus in the afternoons, watching him glide down the street on his bike in terrible weather - routines that formed the fabric of a daily work life. Undone. He's gone and all of those tapestries he was woven into are unraveling. Made worse by so many other routines unraveling at my work. Like every other organization, we're worried about our jobs. Our processes are changing for efficiency's sake. We must all daily justify our worth (and expense) to our organization. No wonder we all feel like unraveling. When people are fearful, it's hard to join together. Empathy seems so risky. We scan the horizon with our tired, nervous eyes - for changes, threats to our security, the next cut. Our friend is gone, but it's strangely quiet. Public displays of grief, of pain, of loss - while they are present, they're subdued by this organizational feeling. We mourn in our silos.

My work day ended. I met my friend to talk about what happened, but still found it so hard to talk about anything. Nebulous feelings of isolation. I thought about going home instead of going to the milonga. I thought I'd be poor company. But every time I've skipped tango because I was feeling rough, or sad, or tired, I've regretted it. I went.

I put on my shoes before I even got in the car. The feeling started then - a little lighter. Still heavy, still weighted and sad, but just a fraction less so. The car ride was quiet. Streaming tail lights and street lights made my already tired, red eyes water. My friend dropped me off and I trotted across the parking lot. Outside was cold and dark and sharp-feeling, but the doorway shined gold and warm. I had no idea how much I needed this. I tumbled in, grateful I'd already changed shoes, and greeted my friends who had arrived before me. I think I smiled. I meant to.

My friend, "So, how was your day?"
I faltered. Tears threatening.
Me, "I'm just so glad I'm here."
She, "Well, so are we."

How could I have thought of not going?

I danced. Not as much as I usually do, but I still danced. I was held and hugged and enveloped by music and friendship and tango.


Margo Romero said...

This is a lovely post. You tangoed your way through sorrow. Really lovely, thank you for sharing.

Tango Therapist said...

Mari... Tango therapy's good for grief too. At the next milonga let's dance a tango-wake song (a milonga) in celebration of his life, and that he will finally be dancing tango -- the official dance of heaven. Tete will be teaching the beginner's class, I hear.

Kirra said...

Thank you for this Mari.

Tango (and the community that surrounds it) helped me through illness, more than one death, two births, and countless cranky or sad nights.
Welcome to all tango has to offer off and on the dance floor. :)

Keno said...

Thanks for the thoughts. tango has changed allot of lives and it will always be in someones life. Enjoy the music, the dance and remember you will always be dancing in your dreams.

Anonymous said...

Tango is all about feeling feelings. It is the safety net that catches me when I fall, and the bridge that gets me from pain to joy. So glad you went.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing..

Mari said...

Thank you everyone, for your kind words. The news continues to get worse as we find out more of the circumstances surrounding our friend's death. Healing will be slow but we come together where and when we can. For me, all I can do is be thankful for the moment and keep dancing (and writing).