The side of my face is pressed to yours. I feel your beard against my cheek. The bone of your right pelvis against my own. Your leg gently, but firmly, straddling mine.
You dance tango. But we are not dancing tango.
No matter, it is the sexiest dance I’ve ever had in my life. I’m certain of it.
I have not danced like this in more years than I can count.
I am referring not only to the leg between mine. Or the man, 10 years my junior, to whom it belongs. But to the friends surrounding me. My farnow, the Kiwi word roughly translated as “family of choice.” Farnow I’ve known for 20 years. Farnow I’ve known for just 20 minutes.
We are dancing to Patti LaBelle. Donna Summer. The Cure. New Order. All of us. Like we did in Detroit. In San Francisco. When I was 20-something and it didn’t feel like “a thing” to stay up late to go dancing.
I am sweaty. Low to the ground. All hips and legs. I feel vital. Sexy. Alive.
“You are in a very good place,” my friend Steven tells me. He is right. I am.
But not for the reasons you think.
This isn’t a story about sex.
This is a story about recognizing another one of my teachers. About the universe tapping me on the shoulder, inquiring exactly where I am with the old idea I tossed into Lake Michigan – along with stale bread. the ritual of tashlich – on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, just a few weeks ago.
The day I muttered, “I let go of the idea that I am only good for sex.” Over and over, like a mantra. The notion being that I might be attractive to men for more reasons than this.
Prior to my marriage, I used my sexuality like a calling card. A year outside of its dissolution, I’m not sure what is. Or if I have one at all.
Earlier in the evening, we did a different sort of dance. Flirty. My ass to your ass. My back to your chest. Your leg between mine for the first time.
“Is this ok?” you ask. Yes, I nod. It is more than ok. I cannot stop grinning.
And then…you are sitting on a stool, no longer dancing. I am not quite sure what has happened. I think it has something to do with the girl sitting next to you, but I am not certain.
I do not want to interfere with anyone’s real life. I am on holiday. This flirtation is fun. But I do not want to hurt anyone. So I leave it be. I leave you be. Mostly.
I dance with Steven and Tim. Anja and Derek. Anne-Marie and Tom. Everyone but you. I ask G-d to help me to be to be present to the people who are with me and not to worry about those who are not.
Later, when you are alone, I apologize for possibly getting you into trouble with a girl. You insist I have not. But that you are certain I am one to get into trouble. You are teasing me.
I tell you it is incredibly sexy when you reach down between your legs to tap on the cajon – the box drum – which I saw you do the other night, playing music with my friend, Tim.
I notice you don’t drink. Neither do I. We talk about living life feeling everything. “EVERYTHING,” you say slowly, emphatically, with a knowing smile.
We talk about G-d. That yours is like Star Wars, “The Force.” That mine is magic, poetry and serendipity. The kind of stuff I couldn’t think up myself.
You ask me about my work. My Judaism. My writing. We talk about your music, the religion of your upbringing, and our friendship with Tim.
I tell you I enjoyed dancing with you. You smile and reply that you enjoyed talking with me. I am flummoxed. It is as if the universe is asking, “Remember your taslich mantra? The one about being attractive for other reasons…Are you paying attention?”
We dance that slow, sexy dance, and say goodbye. I kiss either of your cheeks, feeling your beard against me again. I ask if I will see you again on this trip. “G-d willing. Allah willing,” you say, and list a couple of other names for G-d, but I do not hear them. I am touched by your response.
And you are gone.
I go back to the floor and join my farnow and dance until DJ Gerry can play no more. I think about you whispering in my ear that I could surely tango. That I am a good dancer, but I must know this already.
I do not see you again. I am a little bit sad, but not at all surprised. It isn’t necessary. I have received your teaching.
I want to tell you this. And that my meeting you is a wink from the universe – is G-d. But I do not. It seems too intimate. Too much.
So I blog instead. My sober artistry. A kind of “love letter,” sans stamp. Destination: Dublin, Ireland. I sign it,
“Until ‘the force’ conspires for us to meet again. In gratitude, Lesley.”