Friday, December 18, 2009

Dancers in the square

of all the things i've seen today --
  • a pink plaid store
  • mayan women making tortillas
  • the panaderia cozumelania, lost for two days but appearing suddenly right where the guidebook said it would be (though, regrettably, not until early afternoon)
  • the peacock blue of hotel las anclas's walls in the slant afternoon sun
  • lunch in someone's living room
-- none was as beautiful as the couple dancing alone in the square tonight. the band was from merida and excellent, playing latin standards with such energy and skill that they warmed everybody against the wind storm. our couple, she in slim dark trousers tapered to the ankle, he in a long white cardigan buttoned at the bottom and proper men's dress shoes, danced the steps they learned in the '40s. they were light on their feet, precise and nimble, if a little less showy now than then. you could see the frailty, but you could also see the joy, the tribulations, the blessings, the losses, the daughter living in america, the redecorated living room, the shrine to the virgen de guadeloupe (shabby now), the ninos who don't speak spanish, the comforting sufficiency that comes from decades of living in this place, and the things they don't admit, each one promising instead: fear not, my love, i will always dance with you.

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