A Woman on the Wildside - A Dance of Fate in Argentina
'He made me comfortable in a manner usually signifying eminent intimacy. Sometimes such people are guideposts, stationed by destiny to lead you to the next phase of your journey, or as agents of transformation. On occasion, a stranger appears to offer a passionate night or two, a dance with danger, when traveling away from the homeland.'
Please Note: "A Woman on the Wild Side" is a series of blogs chronicling author Anastasia Blackwell's experience traveling in Argentina, and features a mysterious young man named Tamerlane Rivera There are plans for the blogs to be compiled and and published when her adventure is complete..
Tamerlane Rivera removed his overcoat and used it to shield me from the torrential downpour. He guided me from the Recoleta Cemetery to La Biela, a lovely restaurant on the square, known for the common presence of American actor Robert Duvall, whose movie, Tango Assassination, was filmed in Buenos Aires. The restaurant manager greeted Tamerlane as an old friend and offered a prime window table, with a view of the entrance to the cemetery and pedestrians passing beneath colorful umbrellas. It was August, winter in Argentina, but it would soon be spring and the weather was mild
Our conversation began formally, with mutual questions about our backgrounds. The chatter of guests and the soothing sound of rain beating against the rooftop afforded a homey intimacy. He made me comfortable in a manner that usually signifies eminent intimacy. Sometimes such people are guideposts, stationed by destiny to lead you to the next phase in your journey, or as agents of transformation. Occasionally, they offer a passionate night or two, a dance with danger, when traveling away from the homeland.
“I followed the family tradition and went to law school,” he told me. “I come from a long line of attorneys and politicians. But, when I experienced first hand the corruption, in the government and courts, I was disgusted. It is my opinion that there is no justice for the underprivileged in this land, or any other, from my experience. Institutions are created to earn capital, create fear, and control the masses.
He paused and looked out the window pane, streaming with rain.
“Last night, as we stood facing the Tribunal, I saw in your eyes that you had suffered an injustice,” he said.
“To be driven by fear is to ride in the trunk of your own car. You will never arrive at your destination,’ you told me.
He offered an enigmatic smile and the reflection of something else.
“Sometimes the courts will dole out a good result, often published it in the media. It operates in the manner of a lottery or a slot machine, giving people hope and reinforcement that the system works to their benefit. But even then, the attorneys are the real winners,” he told me.
“Do you still practice law?” I asked, and held his provocative gaze.
“I occasionally take cases, to assist those who do not have access to a defense. But, mostly my efforts are centered on working with activists to create an underground social movement that operates both inside and outside the system. Our beliefs are rooted in the sovereignty of the individual.”
"Are you a revolutionary?”
“I am a Transformationalist.”
“I’m not familiar with the ideology.”
He paused for a moment and drew a forefinger across his lower lip.
My group organized the demonstration you attended. We provide political speakers and the trucks used to haul stage set-ups, video and audio equipment, and banners. I keep my eye on the spectators to make certain the crowd remains in control and the police are kept at bay. That’s how I found you, although you would not be hard to miss at any vantage point.”
I blushed at the compliment, though not entirely convinced his beguiling manner wasn’t universally administered, as heir to the machismo porteño culture.
“I presumed your appearance was more than serendipity,” I said.
“What path led you there?”
“I asked the ticket seller at the train station what stop to take to arrive at Arenales and Suipacha. He told me to get out at the Tribunals exit.”
“Then it was fate.”
“You got off at the wrong stop.”
Our waiter, who moved like an invisible puppeteer guiding him by strings, arrived with a silver platter of steaming coffee and dulche de leche dessert, a delicious Argentinean favorite. Tamerlane switched to his native Spanish tongue and engaged the man in a banter that accented the deep melodic tone of his voice.
A melancholy drifted over me as the pouring rain beat the window, obscuring our view. The world dissolved into a blur, leaving only the security of the present. As he spoke with the waiter I admired his impressive physical attributes.
He had intense, soulful brown eyes, a strong jaw with a faint cleft in the chin, full lips, and luxurious dark wavy hair grazing to his shirt collar, an expressive chest straining against cotton, long legs, and muscular thighs. His high cheek bones would have made him near model perfect, were it not for the horizontal scar below his left eye socket. I wasn’t certain of his age, although he was clearly younger. Yet, he hadn’t flinched when I told him my boys were grown. Tamerlane reclined in his chair, raised his cup of café con leche to his lips, and observed me with curiosity, as the waiter departed. His skin held tawny color, yet was translucent, naked, like still water - tranquil, yet teaming with life. He was clearly a man who had never experienced rejection or failure. His eyes held keen intelligence, a radar that searched for subtext and anticipated the next move. Deeply complex and masculine, there was a hint of vulnerability lurking beneath that charged him with the illusive aura of charisma.
“Is your family buried there?” I asked him, looking out the smeared window toward the gates of the Recoleta Cemetery.
“Yes. They lie next to the murderous general.”
“Is there no other choice of destiny?”
“Perhaps,” he said softly, and I saw the first crack in his resolve.
I shifted my gaze to a painting on the paneled wall of a beautiful couple dancing the tango. The raven haired beauty wore a low cut red dress, slit to thigh, and a shapely long leg was wrapped around the leg of her sultry partner. They were either drunk on love or Malbec wine, and their infatuation was tantalizing.
“Would you like to learn to dance the tango?” He asked, and broke into a grin that revealed an enviable set of teeth
“I’ve heard it’s very complicated,” I answered and cut into my dessert, oozing with warm caramel and chocolate.
For the man it’s complex. A woman only needs to learn a few moves. The man controls the dance and the woman follows his lead.”
“It seems women will never break free from that blue print,” I said, with a dash of playfulness cutting through my sarcasm.
“It takes discipline to understand how to get into the head of your partner, to learn how he thinks, to understand his weaknesses and strengths, while introducing your own spice and personality. Done properly it transcends the partners and alters the essence of the dance,” he said.
“I’m not good at following. I like to be in control,” I said, and met his gaze dead on.
“To be in control is to be out of touch with your instincts,” he said, and I thought he might take my hand - but instead he motioned for the waiter.
“I call Tango the Dance of Fate. The man defines the nature of the journey and the woman uses instinct to follow him, while introducing her own stylistic accent. At some point in the dance, the woman begins to influence the instincts of the man, and the dance takes on a life of its own.”
“As the couple falls in sync, they inspire each other to create moves neither would have never imagined, if left to their own volition. Art is created when that happens, and sometimes the passion bleeds into the bedroom. But not always,” he said with a seductive flicker of his eyes.
“I have experienced what you describe as an actress working with a highly skilled partner. It’s what drives my passion for the craft. But I view it more as a duel.”
"Duel implies a loser, " he said
“A duel is a game of strategy," I answered.
He flashed a charming smile to the women seated beside us, a quartet of coifed matrons with suits buttoned to the chin, primly sipping tea and taking dainty bites of flakey empanadas, who had ceased their casual chatter to eavesdrop.
"There is an underground club where the greatest tango dancers in the world practice for championships, away from the eyes of the gawkers and those who steal choreography. If you like, I will take you there."
“Do you dance?” I asked, and finished my espresso,down to the last drop.
“I used to compete – when I was a student at the university. Now, I enjoy it for recreation.”
“In that case, perhaps you can recommend a studio for me to learn a few basic steps before you introduce me to the dance floor.”
“The rain has stopped. Let me walk you back to your hotel,” he said. “It will be dark soon.”
TO BE CONTINUED . . .