The Disappearing Act
A Fictional Sketch with Commentary
Milonga = tango event; tanda = set of four songs
She shifted her weight onto her left leg, letting her trochanter jut out to one side, cupping the bulb of her wine glass in a hammock of fingers.
“You went all the way down to Buenos Aires and you didn't travel around Argentina, see anything else of the country?” her friend asked. “You just went there for the tango? For a whole year?”
She nodded, with a tight smile and raised eyebrows.
“Well”, he said, “I'm going to get another drink. Can I get you anything? No?”
Left alone for a moment, she lifted her torso, straightened her posture, balanced all her weight over her left leg and let her right foot, in its thick sock, trace a large semi-circle on the shiny wooden floorboards and then began to turn, upper body first, checking how far her back could twist with her hip bones still pointing straight ahead and then turning 360°, a top-down spiral, her wine sloshing slightly in the glass. She lifted it to her lips and then thought better of it and took only the tiniest, communion-sized sip. She needed to pace herself, not get drunk—just in case. She had brought her tango shoes, after all—just in case. There they were, dangling among the black wool coats, the chunky scarves, the padded nylon quilting of her parents’ Barbour jackets, twin bulges of cloth, like misshapen, vaguely obscene exotic fruits or deformed bats, the sharp points of their heels unexpectedly poking guests’ hands as they rummaged among their clothes.