Dance With Me

Image thanks to

Image thanks to

Once I was back in Colon I resumed my secret passion- dancing! I became interested all over again in going dancing following the radio promotions for dances to be held in Colon. I gathered the nerve to ask my buddy Nick to loan me a jacket to attend a pretty hot dance that was coming up. I had, in fact, begun to replace most of my Sunday best clothing that I had lost in Bocas. Taking a good look in the mirror I also became aware that I hadn’t had a decent hair cut since my odyssey in Bocas and now, it seemed, I must have appeared pretty menacing.

Recently I had come from the Gold Roll Margarita area where I’d gone seeking work early one morning and the long walk convinced me to seek the services of one of the impromptu balcony barber shops where a guy we all knew as Valentino or Val promptly dressed down my hair. It wasn’t long before I started looking like a half way attractive young man again; someone a girl might want to dance with.

After my haircut I waited all day anxiously for night to make it over to the dance hall. I knew that Armando Boza´s Band had just started playing and it reminded me how I really loved to hear them play. I paid my way in, was ushered in the place, and proceeded to pass up the guys at the the open bar. My glace immediately turned to the area in the middle of the place, crowded and surrounded with young guys looking for a drink. Before I could get any further into the dance hall, someone stopped me dead in my tracks. “Don’t you hear someone calling your name hermano?” said the young voice. “Honestly I don’t hear” I said. “Would you point out the person calling me.” “Look its coming from up there!” he said pointing excitedly up in the upper balcony area that overlooked the dance floor. It was then that I saw the girl I knew as Millicent Edwards, one of the girls who seemed to swoon over me at Abel Bravo College. I made it straight for the stairway to go check her out as a dance partner with no intention of starting any amorous relationship with her.

Honestly, I was very glad to see her since I had heard from people who knew us both that she had been appointed a teacher somewhere in Bocas del Toro Province. I was overjoyed to meet up with her and we sat down to just talk. “I thought you were in Bocas?” I said to her. “I too was in Baseline working.” Suddenly, we both got quiet and, feeling uncomfortable, I prepared myself to resume searching for other friends. Millicent must have read my thoughts, however, as she quickly blurted out pleadingly. “Cobert, you think that you could just dance with me?” The request kept ringing in my ears “Cobert, dance with me…” for my eyes had seen that eagerness and the lovely girl it was coming from. She started to appear more enticing to me as I had mentally followed that dark skinned beauty since the first moment I knew her when I remembered how sexy she looked when she would chase fly balls durng her softball practice sessions on the school field.

I detected from her request that she would be satisfied with just a couple of dance numbers. Secretly, I had plans to take off to look for Barbara, my regular dance partner and some of my other school friends. We continued talking but very little about her stint as a teacher in Bocas Province although I revealed to her of my own desire to be appointed to a teaching post there. But, she wasn’t interested in talking about work as we stood up to dance a number meant for couples in love.

Whatever my plans had been, however, that night Millicent and I danced and danced and danced like a couple who had met after being absent from each other for a long time. After a couple of numbers I was suddenly rewarded with a long meaningful kiss and although I thought it had been for my being a good sport, I could see that it meant a lot to her. It would turn out that that night of dancing would be one of the last times that I would dance in the City of Colon.

The dance ended the next morning about four o’clock A.M.. We walked her home together and although I was expecting some more luscious kisses of gratitude, she simply, and sweetly, said goodbye and ran upstairs leaving me wondering if we would ever see each other again.

During the day, after I had gotten some sleep, I left the room making my way down the popular Central Avenue of Colon on the way to the market to have breakfast at one of the stalls and sat at a stool waiting to be served- at peace with myself, for once

This story continues.

2 responses to “Dance With Me

  1. Living in Colon back then, do you remember the retail store, Mama Inez?

    • Nina,

      To tell you the truth, back in that year 1953-1954, the economy of the City of Colon was taking a downturn and many businesses, stores and shops formerly owned by West Indians were having to close down for lack of business. Many people- young people- were worried about ever finding sustainable work. Mama Inez sounds like a store I might have visited but since cash was becoming so scarce then that I visited very few stores.