Sootie is a mute observer of my black dog as I leave home and cross the lawn, duck under an orb spider’s golden web, and step out onto the dock. The sky at dusk is overcast, and bulrushes sway in a stiff breeze out of the north. An incoming tide bears grassy flotsam and iridescent organic swirls. Off to the east, far away across the marsh, a thoughtless suburbanite stabs the night with a thousand watt security light. My black dog edges closer. I turn my back on the intrusion, sink onto the bench at the pier-head, and watch drifting clouds give way to stratospheric flashes of jets heading west. I think of the leisurely stroll of milongueros and the electric contact of souls sensing communion half-way through the first tanda.

I reach for my phone and fire up Di Sarli’s “El Once”. My black dog backs off. I imagine that even Sootie, still as night at the edge of the marsh, stirs and yearns to be free. As I do. Two years and counting have atrophied neural circuits whose sole function is to transform physical contact into rhythmic synchrony, induce graceful transcendence of the everyday, and carry me off on a musical wave in a protective embrace. No wonder Sootie stirs. Instead, two years and counting have conjured up an unwanted but faithful black dog that trots at my heel, rejects all frivolity, and insists on dire interpretation of life as we know it. But the black dog cowers on hearing the seductive weft and weave of Tango casting its spell over the wide horizon before me.

And so, I get to my feet and await Sootie’s arrival. She comes to me and we face each other for a moment or two, close and still, save for the almost imperceptible sway of our bodies as we anticipate the next musical phrase. And then, with a quiet introductory flourish, I make a long slow step into her space, and another, and another, while Sootie enticingly retreats and accommodates me, gathering me into her embrace. We dance as if the pandemic, and not our nestling, is just a dream. At last the song concludes, and I reprise my initial flourish as a coda to Di Sarli’s final note. Sootie and I prolong our embrace for a few seconds, until an admonitory growl from my black dog intrudes. Sootie disappears, a wisp dissolving into the night. I make my way back along the dock, hangdog at heel. The wind picks up and the first drops of rain follow me home.

Story posted by: Adam Smolka

About the author: Writer from Charleston

Published: 13 Oct 2021 @ 00:26

Last modified: 30 Oct 2021 @ 04:20

Comments (0)

Submit comment

Other stories

Essays & Opinions: Hace ya bastantes años, cuando practicábamos bailes de salón, nos propusieron en la a…
Paco Castellano | 13.01.23
Essays & Opinions: In which the lady doing tango drills at the playground reveals why she started a podc…

About stories

Share news or videos. Write reviews, interviews and essays. Blog about anything and everything ‘tango’. It’s completely free and everyone is welcome. Login (or Signup) and tap the ‘CREATE’ button in the menu.

Explore stories
Join our worldwide community and post your tango events and stories too: Signup or Login
Tangofolly Cabeceo

Keep in touch

Get a periodical roundup of all the events, stories and other news straight to your email inbox. You don’t have to be a member to stay in the loop and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Tangofolly Facebook Page Tangofolly Twitter Page Tangofolly Tumblr Page
Copyright © 2022 Tangofolly Ltd | A Follyfox Design