When I wake up on Saturday morning I have 2 text messages and a voicemail from Roberto. I do not want to call him until I cool down. My American personality is coming out. My phone rings and it is him. He knows right away I am angry. I listen to his excuses and count to 10 but I still erupt. He has never heard me be this way. "Tranquila, voy este noche" (Calm down, I will be there tonight)he tells me.
I get to Cachafaz at midnight. Roberto is still with the Italian woman. She is with her husband and another friend. I nod to them. Roberto gives me the don't come over here look. I go to my table. I have a reserved table in this milonga. Finally Roberto comes over. "You look so beautiful tonight, so elegant." he says to me. This is the Argentine man's answer to every heated argument. Tell the woman she is beautiful to shut her up. I give him what one of my old employees once called my death look.
He tells me the Italian woman will pay him to 1:00 am, and then he is free. I decide to ignore him. Jack comes into the milonga. He sits at the table. I tell him Roberto is here, but busy. I explain how this woman pays him to dance with her. I point out other Americans. He is surprised when I tell him most of the people here are not Argentines. I explain that the Argentines are seated up front and the foreigners are seated in the back. "I am lucky to have this table," I tell him. Foreigners almost never have reserved tables in this location.
Diego comes in with his camera and sits with us. He tells us he is late because he wanted to watch a movie. Diego tells me I must dance. I tell him Roberto is busy. A friend from the Bay Area invites me to dance. It is like being pushed around the floor by a bulldozer. We pass Roberto, he and I give each other a look. He has told me dancing with her is like dancing through wet cement. I feel the same way...this is torture.
Diego busies himself snapping pictures of me. He asks me to be natural and comfortable. People are looking at me. I rearrange myself several times, I get up, I sit down. Diego is taking all these pictures. People have curious looks. What is Deby doing now? Who is that woman?
During a milonga Roberto comes to the table. I introduce him to Diego and Jack. He explains that he will be back to dance with me. Diego is happy that Roberto "looks" the part. A japanese couple does an exhibition. The foreigners are crazy for them, the Argentines do not clap, they know that these people are copying styles of other dancers and are dancing steps. I think they are good for what they are. I explain this to Jack.
I realize this must sound so snotty to someone who is not in our community. We are very critical of the dancing. I tell him the best is yet to come with Sergio and Alejandra. To me they are spectacular. I love to watch them dance. As always they are magic. I ask Jack if he sees the difference. He only sees that they are smoother. Oh well...
Roberto invites me to dance. We go to the floor with Diego following us. It is funny that Roberto is nervous. I close my eyes. I can feel and hear the flashes of Diego's camera. Roberto dances very simply with me. Just basic steps for a milonga. After the tanda he sits me down. He must go back to "work". I send him another death look, he turns to me and says "Well at least I am paid to dance with bad dancers." I want to kill him. I would stick out my tongue but here that would not be a good thing.
A very handsome Argentine who I have seen around comes to ask if I want to dance. I size him up. Normally I do not dance with men who come to the table. I have seen this man dance before, I know that he is good. He leads me to the floor.
He is the opposite of Roberto. He has me in lifts, complicated steps. This one is not camera shy. He is dancing for the camera. I know that. It is probably the main reason he asks me to dance. At one point he tells me to slide. I am a little embarrassed to be dancing this way in the milonga. Diego keeps flashing away.
The dancer introduces himself to me as Sergio. We talk a little bit. We continue to dance. He is as I assumed a professional dancer. He makes sure to dance me by Roberto's table. I find that mildly humorous. When the tanda ends he tells me not to leave. We dance another tanda of tango, one of rock, one of of tropical - salsa, rhumba. This guy is a great dancer. I am having a blast.
I ask him why I have never run into him before. He tells me that he usually does not go to milongas but tonight he is hosting a group from Denmark. The fate that sooner or later falls to show dancers who want to eat. He tells me that he has seen me around but was always working and could never ask me to dance. Ahhhh the draw of a popping flash has its lure.
We dance again another tanda of tango. He says we should get together and dance some more some time. "I would like that" I tell him. He looks me right in the eye and says "You should dance with a younger man." Oh these Argentines...the games these men play...with each other.
Roberto ignores me the rest of the night. I dont care. Diego has his photos and he is happy. The ones with Sergio he tells me are very passionate. Too bad Ithink to myself..he is most likely gay. No big deal, he dances well.
Finally Roberto comes over to the table and sits next to me. I ask him if he saw me dance with Sergio. He tells me no. What a lier! I know he saw me, but does not want to give me the satisfaction. Later on in the conversation he asks me "Why do you want to dance with a gay?" I say to him "I thought you didnt see me." "I didn't have to. Everyone was talking about it." He says. Yeah right....pullleeze.
It is 4:00 am. Diego tells me to meet them in Boca tomorrow for one last round of pictures. I ask what time. He says is 12:00 OK. I tell him no way. We settle on 3:00 pm.
Roberto asks if he is to come too. I tell him no. I am to dance with Guillermo. He looks at me, and then finally asks me "Do you want to come with me to Italy to teach?" I look back at him as ask "Who's paying?"