Standing in front of the window, glancing out. The day had long since started, yet it was dark outside. It was pouring down, despite being mid-winter. He saw through the rain. He saw through the house across the street.
What he saw was her smile. Her dancing cumbia in the kitchen. Her explaining the concepts of “cheta” and “negro”. Her expertly preparing a mate. “Her standing on one leg in the Comme il Faut showroom, trying one shoe while putting on a second while asking for third pair. Effortlessly. Her standing in front of a man like a woman standing in front of a man. Her radiating as only a bride on her wedding day.
These memories of happy moments were all so vivid, yet he did not smile. Instead tears found their way across his chin.
Behind his back he heard laughter from his little boy, but he was thinking of a little girl that had lost her mother. Still so young she may not remember her mother when she grows up.
He remembered the message to let him and his wife know that she too, was _embarazada,_ just a few months after she with a teasing smile left the gentlemen alone and went for a girl talk to check out the tummy of his wife where the little unborn boy was growing, still almost invisible. They would become compañero y compañera, that’s only natural, she joked when the babies first met.
He closed his eyes.
It was not the sorrow of a daughter losing her mother. It was not the sorrow of a husband losing his wife. It was not the sorrow of a sibling losing their sister. It was not the sorrow of a parent losing their child. It was not the sorrow of a tango dancer losing his partner.
It was not the sorrow of a student losing his teacher. It was my sorrow. The sorrow of losing a friend.
Of course she changed my tango. I never knew what profound experience walking in an embrace could constitute until I learnt if from her. For these lessons I am grateful. Sometimes people say that young people cannot feel the true tango because they have not experienced the pains that accumulate over a lifetime. They say it like it is something to strive for, something admirable.
With her passing she will again change my tango. I will always bear the sorrow in my heart, and it will come through in my tango. It is a change I cannot withstand.