Love in the Time of Coronavirus, #2

Iolanda & Dasmara dancing Kizomba at B.Leza 2017

Coronavirus is still something in the background to my dance-work-vacation in the Canary Islands and Lisbon. Nothing has hit me yet, and I have another great couple of days.

“¡El faro!” The lighthouse. That’s the one thing I wanted to see on the Grand Canary Island, but mostly because my godmother loves lighthouses.

Oddly, Elias asked if I didn’t mind stopping at a grocery store. Once there he made a point of asking me, excitedly, what I wanted multiple times. He offered to buy me a new pair of inexpensive shoes to replace my boots that were falling apart. He said he wanted to so I would remember him whenever I looked at the shoes. He also insisted I use my expert squeezing skills to pick good plump fruits and veggies for him.

Something inside my ridiculously sentimental self wanted to cry. bawl. sob continuously. but let’s not let anyone know how far gone my sentimental side is… sniffle.

I’ve gone on one date in the past year, if I’m not mistaken. In all earnestness, I’m too happy and busy to try to fit someone incompatible into my life right now.

I know what you’re thinking: “why try to fit someone in who is compatible when you can experience the joy of kicking yourself for trying gel with someone who is incompatible?”

The sniffle-reflex wasn’t caused just by the simple act of going to a grocery store, but Elias’ attentiveness coupled with his desire to integrate me.

Even those experiences of going to the store are cherishable when you are with the right person.

Our date to the lighthouse was beautiful, but not exactly all rosy. There was a slight tug-of-war from morning all the way until the navy night whether to go to his home, but I was adamant. No. And he was a gentleman.

We managed to enter into deep conversations about spirituality, the origins of man, God, society, our families, our dreams, all the way to my hostel.

The flight to Lisbon was early the next day, after all. Preparations had to be made.

Swept by our emotions, we were affectionate… somewhere between PG-13 and rated R. All was going so well that you could have felt the love spinning around us like a tornado. It was actually palpable. For a split second I thought “what if I just stay in Gran Canaria this week? Or forever?” but practicality and purpose blew that thought out of my mind.


Ahem. I must take a moment out to ask Rita, the owner of the hostal where I was staying: I hope you don’t have security cameras on your stairs. Just…. don’t look.

Somehow we managed to tear ourselves apart, I entered the hostel to get some sleep, prepare my bags, and get on the plane the next day to Lisbon.

Lisbon, Sunday 7 March

Bus, flight, hostel to Lisbon all goes smashingly well. I feel so secure, I only use the mask when I’m onboard for a short time.

The Kizomba class at the regular matinee 7pm event at B.Leza, an amazing dance club on the riverside, is a breath of fresh air. The teachers brilliantly decided to dedicate their hour with the 60 or so students to exercises that will reinforce the “gentile” side of dance.

You know. Where someone asks you to dance and waits for a reply, instead of blindsiding you and pulling you towards them with your hand.

The female teacher employs almost the same cabeceo concept of Tango, where the person seeking the dance makes eye contact from across the room, nods with the “can you read my eyes, would you like to dance?” hopeful look, and the other party either rapidly, desperately tries to avoid eye contact (knuckleheads, you should take this as a “no”) or nods in ascent (“yes”). Then when the next song begins, the asker gets up and walks towards the person who said yes.

Except in this case, for our exercise, there’s none of the yes/no, nodding. The students all standing in a circle, the teacher arranged it so that one person at a time quickly makes a b-line for a person they are making eye contact with from across the big hall. That person, in turn, must recognize that someone is coming for them, and as they approach, must make a decision as to who to look to next and make a b-line for someone else. Repeat until nearly everyone has been given the chance to react when they’ve had eye contact and seek to reach out to someone else. Absolutely brilliant.

Similarly to Tango, the teachers request that you say hi, take the time to enter into a nice embrace, not rush into complicated steps, but to just feel each other out and enjoy the first notes of the song.

I also have to wonder if they created this big circle of individuals, instead of couples conscious of coronavirus?

After this amazing class, the night progresses at B.Leza, the dance floor filling up for the social part of the night. After only a couple of hours and a couple of guys asking me to dance who are obviously trying to get laid, I leave.

Elias writes me, keeps in touch, I’m on a high from his love and attention, our emotional conversations, and from a great start to my birthday dance vacation.

I sleep so I can feel well-rested and ready to work remotely from my hostel for eight hours the next day. All is perfect, right? Coronavirus is not the protagonist. I am. Elias is. Dancing. Traveling.

…But as we already know, coronavirus is creeping in the background.

Click here to read how the shit-show unfolds, part 3 of my real-life Love in the Time of Coronavirus series.

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