6.1.2013 Journal Prompt

Dance Hall, Juarez, Mexico, by Timothy Fadek. From Verve
Dance Hall, Juarez, Mexico, by Timothy Fadek. From Verve

June 1, 2013: They came to dance.

3 Replies to “6.1.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. They come from Nogales and Sasabe. Every Saturday for months at a time. They come in beat up trucks and cars with the windows rolled down so you can hear their siren singing. They come on hot nights and they come for dancing.

    It had been so for their mothers before them and for their grandmothers before that. They’d heard stories running through all the years of their childhood, stories of the dancing and the men dressed in smart suits with their hair oiled and their skin smelling of cologne and sweat and grease; and the girls in their best skirts, their hair curled and lacquered and they carried fans the waving of which was a language to itself. That’s how it had been for the grandmothers. For the mothers there were no fans, but the movement of their hands and the crossing and uncrossing of their legs and the eyes turned this way or that, everything was a signal.

    But it wasn’t just dancing. See the whooping cranes in the salt marshes and how they move to impress each other and on such dances are marriages made and families begun. So it is at the hall at Naco.

    The men drink more these days and the girls wear no dresses but come in their jeans and t-shirts and some do not wear underwear. Men stand around in groups and they talk of what it would be like to wake with Marcia’s breasts as pillows or Carla’s. And they lick their fingers and make rude gestures to one another. And when there is dancing, the floor shakes and the air hums and the smell in the hall is sour and sweet at the same time. It is what is.

    The music is so loud these days that it hurts the ears and there is no room inside the hall for conversation and so they venture outside where it is dark and their ears still ring and the night is studded with stars above and the firefly bulbs of cigarette ends below.

    Sometimes the girls take the men to their cars; sometimes they don’t. It’s all part of the ritual. And if he kisses her right and is gentle and not rough, then there is a different kind of dancing and the car sways to no music and the breathless air is filled with sighs and grunts and moaning. The girl carries foil packets of protection in the glove-box of the car and they call them gloves and they do not tell their grandmothers what they do.

    Theresa goes for the dancing, too, and when the men do not choose her she dances with Pennia, and they dance so close that they touch, and the men clap and whistle and stamp their feet. And afterwards, when they are outside and their words can be heard, Theresa says men are such fools and she kisses Pennia then and Pennia lets herself be kissed and the men do not know what they are missing.

    They come for the dancing, as they have always come; but the music is different and the dances are different too, and the mothers and grandmothers shake their heads and wonder what the world has come to, and they look back and wish for what has been lost, and they tell their stories over and over but they are just stories now.

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