A ONE DANCE STAND—By Jose Gainza An absolute fact about the culture you find yourself is that an individual has to work. What for? The saying goes, “To fill his sac”: a filled sack, among other things, will keep one living. This fact is so obvious that most people are barely aware that they already made the choice to keep on living, and breathe the air of this delightfully scented earth. Our entire education system, even those schools that are on the free market, is geared around the student getting a job. Teachers get paid to teach. This has been the case for at least two hundred and thirty years. And this seems to be a principle of man’s nature—because even the Greek, we can read, received metals for trading some other party his function. I n the first sentence I spoke using the word “yourself”: I was even speaking to a man reading this tale 1000 years from now. I am confident that the responsibility of work applies to my brothers a million years down the road. Walking the streets of Toronto will grant the observer a constant opportunity to watch human beings pursuing their place of work. People have homes too. But work is a primary for there are no houses without money. In fact, there is such a large degree of an implied selfishness in our culture that most people don’t go around building homes for free. The average guy, who has the necessary funds in his bank account, will not just write you a check just because you need it, or because you’re pretty. Some rich fathers make their children work for their first car. And there once lived a wealthy father who had an artist as a son; very proud; the industrialist gave his son as payment a very expensive gift for each masterpiece he managed to create; as a typical father would give allowance, the father we speak of bestowed gifts upon his son, such as a condominium, three high end vehicles, and a one year stay in Hawaii. This artist boy, by the time he was thirty, had produced ten great works. Working is a moral lesson—always. And then there is the almost organic function of money banks in our cities! … As pseudonymous, turn of the twentieth century short story writer, O. Rangey, once pointed out in a story, a city has a voice. You can hear the voices as one whole, the most dominant of premises combined to express the majority’s theme and style, even by synonyms. Ridley began his morning singing in the shower, a few tunes by Nat King Cole. The highlight, the one by which his voice sounded the best, was one called Love, “… even more than anyone that you adore/can love/is all that I can give to you/ Love is more than just a game for two/ two in love can make it/ take my heart and please don’t break it/ love/was made for me and you …” Ridley now walked down the cemented path on his way to work, wearing a plush grey tracksuit, with 7 thin white lines running down the length of the garment’s side. The rhythmic tapping was coming from his big bleach white tennis shoes. A woman remarked with an unusual “wow!” at the sight of a man with orange hair. The sides and back of his head were cut very short flowing into a top that was exaggeratedly long in relation. His hair waved towards the sky. She had reached the end of the path at Niagogreen Street, when she stopped suddenly, realizing that she had to talk with the man with the hair. She ran in a proficient style to him who was still walking south, while the giant needle dominating the vista sped towards her—Toronto’s unique observation tower; the tallest thing in the city. “Buddy, wait!” He stopped, turned to the caller, and smiled at her instead of speaking in response. She continued, “How did you get your hair like that—it’s awesome!” “Thanks. I rather not say.” “Why not?” “Because I rather not have anyone else in this city with hair like mine.” She looked at him puzzled then asked, “Isn’t that selfish of you?” “Yes it is.” He walked away. She remained stunned, just looking at his departure, ashamed that he was indifferent to her. “I’m a dancer!” She yelled out almost desperately. “Orange” stopped suddenly and turned around. He walked back to her. “So am I.” “I have my own studio. I have my own style. I combine tap, jazz, swing, and orchestrated Latin American tropic jazz.” “Sounds fun.” “Come to my studio some time, we can dance some time together. Where do you normally dance?” “I dance in my living room alone.” “Ha! You admit that?” “Yes. I go to movies alone too, even though I don’t have to.” “So how about it?” “That is improbable. I’m very busy this year.” She remained silent and her face almost revealed her sadness. He smiled at her, “Let’s dance now.” “What! here?” “Yes, of course. Look at the museum over there. Look at the north wing. They’re building a new wing. It will look like a glass crystallization from the original boring structure, like a star bursting out from the past. When you walk here some day in the future, with your husband, you can tell him that you once danced here with a stranger, while the star was being built, ‘we danced during a sight that will never be seen again unless men decide to tear down the new, expose the wine coloured beams in removing the glass that is now there.’” “That’s beautiful … what shall we dance to?” “This morning in the shower I was singing Cole’s Love. I’ll sing it for us.” There was a woman in existence with whom he had wanted to dance to this tune but who has always refused out of shame for her lack of grace and loathing of embarrassment. This was an opportunity the orange haired man did not want to pass up. Besides, he was impressed by his confident spontaneity. “I know it. Sure. But do it with great enthusiasm and more speed. We’ll dance holding each other, spinning, and twirling.” “Yes.” “What’s your name?” “Ridley.” “Baila.” He took her by the hand. A young man, dealing with a psychological problem, one of repression, in his own mind, witnessed this spectacle. He heard Ridley singing, “… ‘L’ is for the way you look at me/ ‘O’ is for the only one I see / ‘V’ is very very extraordinary / ‘E’ is even more than anyone…” He saw them spin and turn with expertise. He could not move; he had to watch. He felt ashamed because he knew he could not dare to dance like that in public. But the sight gave him courage. He decided still to give the couple their privacy. He thought they were in love. Walking away he knew that he would have the courage to tell the people who mattered to him what he had been keeping a shameful secret for years: His desire for happiness. A ten year old girl who was with her mother noted Ridley’s hair, and saw the dancing as something perfectly natural. The mother found primacy of this question order peculiar. “How did he get his hair like that?” “His eye brows are very dark. It would take some time to get his hair that orange. I suppose he dyed it blonde first, then red, then orange. Notice he has blue highlights. His hair looks like fire … especially in the sunlight.” “I want to dye my hair that colour!” “We’ll have a debate at home.” They decided they would wait until the show was over. An old cane burdened Italian man, dressed like men of the 1920’s, in earth tone colours, stopped with delight at the sight of the dancers. Instantly, he began to tap one leg and snap his fingers, his emotion more mobile than that now possible by his body. Seeing this old man gave the young girl the idea to dance where she was. Her mother joined her. The breeze began to grow in strength and the weeping willows began to dance themselves. And the leaves on the maple trees shook, glistening in the sun. A woman at the observation deck of the CN Tower watched them too with the power of a good telescope. She was so shocked to see the couple dance that she dropped the instrument on the floor, shattering the lenses. She ended up paying with a twenty dollar bill to rent the telescope of the stranger next to her to continue watching. The tower stood at the edge of Lake Ontario, and the dance floor lay several miles North. The observation deck stood 100 stories high, and the dancers from that height were microscopic. The power of her telescope gave her the capacity to see them magnified in size. She first noticed Ridley enter the small long park at Niagogreen Street, and follow the path south and towards the spy miles away and miles high. She had witnessed the female dancer approach him. And in a moment she saw them dancing. A pause in her sight occurred suddenly, and a money exchange later, she regained the sight of the spectacle. Knees oscillated forward, heels tip-toed and quickly rested only to raise again, arms gliding vertical and horizontal, forming semi-circles and sometimes full ones. Hand met hand, they held, they tightened grip to extend the other’s arm away, then to bring it back spinning. Pelvises pressed for a moment then spread apart, wiggling a little. Bodies separated from each other and tapped away wiggling to their own theme, their unique interpretation of the music. What the dancers had in common was a deep joy that they expressed, always glad to show itself; for one, though glad, she was very reluctant to express it, except in her studio (for her a special realm where she escaped to). The woman spy saw the dance end in the man’s dipping of the woman. Soon after, they walked away from each other as if they had never even met. The woman wondered what song the man sung to this seemingly stranger dancing girl. She looked at the sun to hurt her eyes. Thus, with “…was made for you and me,” ended the dance Ridley and Baila. Ridley’s body ended it with a dip. Ridley shook her hand and walked south alone, looking up at the tower with a smile on his face. The orange of his hair had only occurred this morning. When his roommate left in the early morning, he took the opportunity to prepare his hair. He was looking forward to surprising her later in the afternoon. He made it a habit to pass through the pathway beside Toronto’s biggest museum on his regular peripatetic walks. His latest hairstyle had great symbolic significance for him. It was an emphasis on the current stop that his life had taken. It was not that the engine of his mind stopped achieving. It was rather that so much had been achieved and his rise needed a momentary rest to contemplate the struggle. The plateau was that he was now a full time novelist. A year ago he was married to a woman he loved. He had a confidence that every subsequent book would be a best seller. He had recently finished his second. The sales of the first book were still supporting his life. His spirit was beaming. Two years ago he would not have danced with that woman on a bright sunny day for other eyes to see. Then he had no time. The hair also symbolized the idea of not having to impress one’s bosses. The morning meditations were his way of pinpointing the most crucial literary duty of the day. Some days he decided that he needed poetry, on others one of his still not completed stories, and there were days when art was completely discarded for the tasks of strict philosophy. The woman with the rented telescope up in the tower saw the beaming smile on his face and let out a grimace. It is safe to say that the woman was not a misanthrope. As he walked away while the woman on the tower still watching, his smile turned into one of worry. Ridley felt guilty. He was aware of it as guilt because it was rare. “Why? … That song!” he spoke aloud to himself. “I shouldn’t have danced to that song with a total stranger or another woman at all.” His frown turned back into a smile for he had found the solution to the bothersome feeling. His place of work was a writing nook in the attic of his house sitting in front of a large window in the ceiling of the house, a bay made out of an addition of finely designed wood. Ridley’s writing was disrupted in the afternoon by a previously scheduled meeting with his publisher. He went to the fridge, took out a brown paper lunch bag, and left his house. He entered the office of the “beautiful witch” but gave the secretary the proper name of the woman. That was her office nickname. She was so beautiful but she was very commanding of her subordinates, and often aroused fear; she made clear the urgency of the tasks at hand. That she was the boss but so young inspired an underlying resentment. “Go on right ahead Ridley, she’s expecting you.” And she giggled, probably at the spectacle of his orange hair. When he walked into Rebecca’s office, he noticed immediate anger on her face. He put down the paper bag on her desk and stood to face her. “Why are you angry?” He demanded. “I broke my telescope today.” “What did you need your telescope for … how did you break it?” “I was attacked by a moment of jealousy.” He smiled and sat down on a chair in front of her desk, reclining casually, with an obvious face of curiosity and amusement. She continued. “I went to the CN Tower this morning.” “Did you have a breakfast meeting? I didn’t know.” “No. I went alone. There was something I had wanted to see for a long time.” “What?” “I saw you walking at Philosopher’s Walk.” “Really—what else did you see?” “I saw the whole thing.” “It is too bad you couldn’t hear what was going on.” “I’m curious.” “She said she was a professional dancer. She has her own studio.” “For a moment I was horrified to think that you were another playboy.” “I was playing though.” “Then I put myself in your dancing shoes. I asked: would I ever dance with a stranger on a sudden whim? … There could be circumstance for such a thing. I thought that if I ran into Cyrano DeBergerac I would surely dance with him, no matter how bad I felt I looked. And I thought that if you ever ran into Dominique Francon, that you should certainly dance with her (if you could even get her to dance). And I was up on the CN Tower because I wanted to see you from that distance, so close by the power of my telescope, yet so far, invisible, by distance and height. It promised to be a very erotic vision. To see you dancing so expertly when I wasn’t expecting it blew me away.” “So I’m glad you’re not mad.” “There is one thing that I’m upset about. I will not tolerate regular such occurrences. I don’t like other women touching you, being that close to your sweat. Remember, when you have those moments of spontaneity, that you’re mine.” “Yes, dear … I did feel guilty for a moment afterwards—” “—That’s what the grimace was about.” “Yes! Guess what song I sang … Love by Nat King Cole.” “You sang that in the shower.” “Yes, the shower which you would not take with me … no matter how beautifully I sang … I know; you had to get to work.” “It was painful refusing you.” “The thing is: that’s the only way we ever dance. Granted, we dance that way a lot. But we never actually dance like I danced with that stranger girl. I thought that you would by now lose you fear of learning how to dance, and looking mediocre in front of me.” “I’ve already signed up for dancing lessons … I found the place in the telephone directory. Baila’s Dance Studio.” “I would like to go with you.” He said this grinning. “Of course you are! I love you too.” “Riddie, I have to tell you something before I forget later on. Later on your way home can you pick up some honey? I want to make up for not joining you this morning in the shower.” “We’re out of condoms too.” Ridley looked at the picture frame on her desk. He was wearing a black tuxedo and his hair was black, long before he had died it orange. Rebecca was wearing a white gown, long with a leg exposed from her thigh down. “I’m glad I married you,” he said as he blew her a kiss. “You’re hair looks nice. How long are you planning to keep it?” “When my work speeds up. How long do we have before we have to meet with your colleagues?” “40 minutes.” “Why wait ‘til you get home tonight? I brought vanilla pudding.” And he flicked with his middle finger released by his thumb the paper bag he had brought. “And then we can use the honey when you get home tonight.” “Lock the door.” She ordered. The secretary outside that door heard a metal clicking sound, and the rushed sound of heavy feet marching away from the door, her smile reflecting on the computer monitor as she typed a marketing letter for Ridley’s upcoming book. Soon in Rebecca’s executive office could be heard clearly the opening of the violent concerto by a nineteenth century barely know master. THE END.