He didn’t expect to see her there tonight. It had been years since he last saw her but he still recognised her immediately. When she walked into the room, his heart started palpitating and he felt that familiar constriction in his chest he used to get whenever he’d see her. He was glad they didn’t have to use words to communicate. He wouldn’t have been able to utter a single one. He felt like a teenager with his first love.
She smiled with her eyes as she waited for him to invite her to dance. Stepping onto the dance floor, they dropped behind them like old clothes their roles, obligations and preoccupations. As they followed the line of dance counter clockwise the years they had spent away from each other melted one by one and they returned, rejuvenated, to the first tango they had shared in each other’s arms. Time and distance no longer existed. The only moment that mattered was what was happening there and then and the only distance that mattered was the one in between them.
Protected inside their embrace, a dormant love awakened. He didn’t have to speak, the tango that played did all the talking for him.
No pretendo remover las cenizas del ayer
de ese ayer inolvidable
solo quiero hacerte ver
que aunque no lo quieras creer
hay amores imborrables.
‘I don’t hope to remove the ashes of yesterday, that unforgettable yesterday. I just want you to realise that even though you don’t believe it, there are some loves you can’t forget.
Despues de tanto vuelvo a hallarte
y que emoción siento al mirarte
siento un loco palpitar
en mi viejo corazón
y es que al fin te vuelvo a hallar.
After all this time, I find you again, what excitement I feel when I lay my eyes upon you. I feel a crazy palpitation in my old heart, to find you again at last.
Pocas palabras vieja amiga,
Pocas palabras es mejor
ya ves el mundo sigue igual
sin nuestra union sentimental.
Pocas palabras de lo de antes
no conversemos más de amor
de aquel amor que ya pasó
pero que aun no murió.
‘Few words, old friend, it is better that way. You see the world goes on the same without our sentimental union.
Few words about what’s over, let’s not talk more about love, of that love that is now gone but that is still not dead.
He wondered if she could tell by the way he held her that he had feelings for her, like he always had. He had never risked bringing it out in the open it for fear of ruining other affections, which he realised as time passed by that they were just habits that he didn’t have the courage to break.
Neither of them said a word to each other during the entire tanda, not even during the breaks. During the cortina, they looked around, avoiding each other’s gaze although they still held hands shyly, hoping that it would go unnoticed in the crowded room.
When the tanda was over, he walked back to his seat and ordered single malt scotch. He remained seated for a few more tandas after that, regretting how late he had come to realise that he could have been truly happy had he risked the unknown of what his heart wanted rather than stayed with the known that logic dictated.