Salsa Suite

Salsa Suite by Gail M. Murray, circa 2006.
Member of the Toronto Poetry Club.

It begins
slowly, easily
as friendship.

They meet in salsa class
over hardwood floors, beads of sweat
and sensuous latin music.

The students dance in a circular rotation.
“Switch partners” the dance instructor calls.
He’s coming towards her
She looks forward to dancing with him.
He makes her laugh,
teases incessantly
witty repartee and latin rhythms.
She flushes, eyes averted.

Then one night after class
his impromptu invitation
“Would you like to go for coffee?”
to his place.
She trusts this one
his passion for photography and artistic city scapes
let her in a little.

Again, spur of the moment
a Lennon tribute night
bohemian poets and coffee house cappuccino
more stories, histories
conversation easy,
getting to know each other.

Then he tempts the traveler in her
“Will you go to Cuba with me, leave Boxing Day?”
That’s a week away
She doesn’t know him
He’s still a mystery, pieces she’s putting together
so they watch the DVD
of forbidden lovers who share dance and each other
Havana Nights she wants to live with him.

Still, no touching
that’s only safe on the dance floor

At salsa class it’s always there
the verbal banter, constant flirtation and comfort.

What is she to him?
seems more than friendship
not so easy now.

Phone calls from the road
from Edmonton and Vancouver
He travels with his work
tells he’s been jogging,
describes his business dinner.

Victoria Day weekend
his unexpected late night call
he’s en route from a family function at the Falls
good thing he owns a cell phone.

He arrives unshaven
toting vinegary wine
to catch up on her recent trip to Arizona
or flame surfacing desire?

He’s at ease in her recliner
massaging her taut shoulders
taking her to a different reality.
He plays with her long hair
such an erotic thing
a man’s hands stroking your hair.

Sliding into his arms, she curls up
‘His gentleness came down upon her’
Kisses, tender kisses
sweet surprise from a jock
who keeps a gym regimen
races dragon boats and kick boxes.

He transmits tenderness
“It’s you” he whispers
“You bring it out in a man”.
“Did you think we’d….?” she asks
“There’s always been something between us”.
They’re crossing bridges.

In summer sunlight , arm in arm
strolling cliffs along the lake
still easy.
Until he says “there’s good news and sad news”
“You’re moving” she senses it
all this work related travel
Two hours away
difficult, not impossible for a man in love
He’s fast tracking, climbing corporate ladders
Different dreams.

Why did he start crossing bridges?
‘Her blue eyes could melt his soul down to a place it longed to be.’
Dancers spin to a pumping meringue beat
“I thought I’d surprise you,” he says a little cocky
Since the move, she hadn’t expected to see him at salsa
“I can come for dinner next Friday, I’m in town.
Is that enough notice for you?”

Twilight approaches
her garden blooms soft rose hues
He’s only two hours late
driving across the city through rush hour
Is planning in his scope?
He’s missed business flights before.

Scents of vanilla and wild salmon mingle on the patio
It’s dark, chilly now
Time to venture indoors
Kissing, stroking, crossing further….
He’s behaving like a lover
He asks her to dance
Not latin music this time.

Slow, close, not like dance class
More Bridges of Madison County
Is he sensitive to her or does he know how to play her?

He’s good with romantic gestures
as he sweeps her into his arms
carries her upstairs
crossing the threshold.

This lover awakens with tender sensuality
at dawn they stir, his arms enfold

He plants a single kiss on her shoulder
They drift back to sleep
then he’s in her kitchen making breakfast.

It’s her turn to drive the distance to his salsa barbecue
“It’s so far” she sighs
Is this a message she’s trying to deny?
Tiki candles, latin music, dancing with the gang from salsa class
mastering new dance combinations
though she wants to dance with him, solo.

His new house has five bedrooms.
“Which bed has my name on it?” she asks coyly.
“Where are you planning to sleep?” she blushes
“With you.”
“Not if the party goers drink too much and stay over” she says.
She has her reputation to think about.
She still attends dance class.

Candlelight, blue sheets
piped in music from his laptop
Poet meets techie.

He opens to her
thoughts, feelings
in this dawn pillow talk.
“Her blue eyes melted his soul down to the place
where it longed to be.”

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