Single In Another Language
Strobe lights are glaring on black skin. Music is dripping from from the speaker and pouring over every inch of this club. Entranced in “salsa choke” my hips are gyrating like second nature. Strobe lights are glaring on black skin. Music is dripping from from the speaker and pouring over every inch of this club. Entranced in “salsa choke” my hips are gyrating like second nature. Finally, I had found a “black” club in Ecuador. I was at ease, sipping Pilsner beer in a small plastic cup. He grabbed my hand, tugging in the direction of the dancefloor. I yelled over the music into his ear “no puedo bailar salsa” (I can’t dance salsa). Even being from Miami, it was something I had never mastered (I’m more of a Bachata kind of girl). He responded “solo sigue los manos” (You just have to follow the hands). And we danced. I’m not sure if the multiple beers that had given me the confidence to dance like no one was watching, but I bit my lip, and just kept moving my feet. The opaqueness of his skin contrasted by by a pretty white smile had me unable to hold back mine. This needed no translation. Smiles are the same in every language. We danced to so many songs I convinced myself that I knew what I was doing. And when we couldn’t dance anymore. He asked me to go outside. The crowded club and constant movement had us both in need of fresh air.
He leaned on the hood of a stranger’s car trying to look as “suave” as possible. Moments after catching our breath and chuckling about the recent past, the silence between us gave way to a separation body language had connected. He so asked “Como te llamas” (What do people call you) “Sunni” I replied. I felt anxiety turn the warm sweat on my brow from dancing cold as ice.
I had been here before I knew exactly how this would end. Knew the ending like I knew my last name. We would engage in a few “get-acquainted” questions and answers. Where are you from, what are you doing, and how long have you been here questions. Soon after, the beers would wear off and my over analyzation of Spanish verb conjugation would kick in, and he would become frustrated with my requests to use a synonym for a particular word I couldn’t comprehend. And if, we made it past that point, I would grow weary of not being able to express myself fully. As an artist it is an aching feeling. More than being without expression, our deepest fear is not being understood. It’s funny the things we never take to the time to think about until there is no escaping it. Like flirting, no one ever teaches us how to flirt. I mean sure we exchange tips with our friends and they give us advice, but we maneuver through it mostly alone. When you are learning a language, nuances can’t be mastered yet. We can’t say “Where have you been all my life?” or “How’d you get so handsome?” The sentences are crude and unpolished. Because I am still learning Spanish all of my sentences are blunt, and it doesn’t help that I am a Sagittarius. And often when learning a language we only know one phrase or word for something, which is not how we communicate in our native tongue. So when he asked where I wanted to eat, I said “No me importa” (I don’t care) because I couldn’t construct “Mientras estoy contigo, todo está bien” (As long as I am with you, it’s all good.” ) Without a friend on hand to translate, these subtle language differences has left me in the friend zone at the end of almost every Friday night. I haven’t given up! I am still taking my lessons and practicing everyday. Who knows, maybe fluency, like love will find me when I least expect it.