It's a slow night at the dance hall. Admission is less than $2.00. Soft drinks, bottled water, beer, or hard liquor double the price or more. Two no-name, enthusiastic bands cover songs covered better by others. There's enough room on the floor to move without being stepped on or elbowed often.
As usual, women perch on their seats and wait for someone to ask them to dance. Men peruse the dance floor, stroll past the tables, eyeing us, extending a hand or not. Two strangers ask me to dance. I am lead-footed.
Someone I've danced with sometime ago, but whose name escapes me, leads me out again. He pastes his body against mine and whispers, "I am three months without a girlfriend."
I wish him luck in finding one as I jam my arm between us.
We dance apart, then he grabs me, reels me in, and presses me close. "The song says to hug you tightly."
I push him backwards. "Do you always follow instructions?" I ask.
He laughs and allows the space between us to grow. Then, "Are you alone?"
"I'm waiting for a friend." Honorio is meeting me at 7:45.
"What kind of friend?"
"A good one." I thank him and return to my table.
Honorio enters, wearing a suit. "Take your jacket off," I tell him. It's at least 90 degrees. "It only gets hotter."
We talk a while, in Spanish and in English. Work was fine.... His girlfriend, in France, is coming back to visit in three weeks.... His cousin and he enjoyed our jaunt to Tula.... Pancho's university started up again yesterday; he'll graduate in a year, with a degree in economics and lousy job prospects.... The band that played at a friend's wedding in Teotihuacan was well known and really good. They played all night but Honorio's favorite dance partner had taken lessons and was too good for him....
Honorio is a more accomplished dancer than he'd admitted to being. We move well together, but we won't be tapped for Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance anytime soon. I tell him to find some sweet young things to dance with, but he doesn't. We cumbia until 9:30, then say goodbye until next year.
The mosquitoes that torture me must have taken a vacation, found an easier mark, or be planning something special for my last night in Mexico. I fall asleep watching Desperate Housewives, dubbed in Spanish. For nine hours, I slumber. If I dreamed of dancing, I don't recall a single step.