Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wonder in a backyard garage

The rain is relentless. It forced us from our riverside picnic to the home of Jaime, father of the newly 5 years old daughter Fani’s birthday party. The tres leche cake is on a small portable table hastily set up next to the newly-wiped-from-outdoor-dirt chairs on a porch attached to the garage. Mowers, ladders, and extra household flotsam have all been unceremoniously purged from the garage to make room for a dry dance floor. It is Hispanic family , and extended family, and a few close friends; like me. Some have ventured forth in brief intermissions of the deluge, but return to our close backyard refuge as the drops become sheets again. The dancing has to be restrained because there are so many in this small space. Everyone is in a good mood. The rain is just a part of the day.

From a side door, enter a few very young children. They briefly watch the adults Bachata, Mambo, and Swing. Everyone is in motion. A boy of about 4 is rapt in his attention. His eyes are wide. His legs begin to flex in time to the music. He makes attempt to move immature muscles in ways new to him. He actually gets a little hip action going. A five year old girl in a flouncy sundress and maryjanes impulsively grabs his hand; first, as if to lead him; but then as a partner on this strangely gyrating floor. She, too, begins a sycopation. Could it be called flirtatious? The boy does not pull back or resist. She has him now she begins a twisting in time to the heavy beat. Soon, the adults notice. The two holding hands together, moving in time to the music. There is a great delight and a "come see this" tug is passed from blouse to shirt, and adults gather; more and more; until the garage entrance is backed up to the rain line outside with gawkers, all trying to see this handing off: this bridge between generations. The continuity of Life.

One father tries to insert his own son into this mix. That child is having none of this, and , throwing his hands in a swipe, walks away. "How dare you !" is the conveyance. Now, our host introduces his feted daughter into this dance of sweet innocence. By the legs and shoulders, he sits her down onto the concrete next to our dancers. Our originating girl frowns, pushes the new suitor away , and takes "her" boyfriend by the hand and exits, leaving Birthday girl Fani bewildered. She runs and holds to her father’s leg.

The adults disperse; the show is over. I sit in my chair, just watching the rain and a solitary couple on the garage dance floor. Our little girl appears again at the side door. She sees the audience has departed and drags her smaller partner back onto their stage. She has not had her fill. They start again. She has found her man; she has protected him, and now she claims his limbs again as her own, to move with her to the music. Two more songs and our little younger soldier is getting weak in the knees. He falters, and plop sits as his joints buckle. Our little siren takes him under the armpits and pulls him to his feet, making sure he can stand on his own, and gives him a quick buss on the cheek before she heads off to some new adventure. I wonder if they will ever dance together again.

How could you not be filled with emotion at being able to witness the wonder of humanity in purest form. This was the beginning of love, of protection, and of celebration. All in a small garage on a rainy afternoon.

1 comment:

bobK said...

The reason so many love you J is your ablity to ask that question
sincerely and unabashedly ask friends to be joyous with you.