Victor looked up from the soles he was fixing, to watch at the woman standing in front of him.
Ernestina was looking at him from beyond the workbench, hands on hips and a convinced look.
"Well... yes. Now, the music ban has been revoked, right? Your grandparents dance, so why don't you try it too?" She told him and, although her voice sounded firm and convinced, Victor swore he saw a slight twinkle on the silver signs that decorated her cheekbones.
"I- I do not know... I don't think I'm brought for dance," he murmured, slightly uncomfortable. Although the situation between his grandmother and his grandfather had stabilized, the music topic, for him, was still a taboo. He didn't know how to feel about it. He had spent his entire life ignoring every kind of melody, he could not change his mind in a moment.
Not to mention that he felt a bit penalized. He was the only one in the part of the deceased family who was not familiar with the music. His uncles were born and raised with music, the same for his aunt and his father. They had just given up on music, but they already knew it. Not to mention his grandparents and his mother.
And he? What could he say? Of course, in life, as a kid, he had been attracted to music. He and his sister had always been very curious about it. But then, mama had been injured by dancing and, much later in the years, abuelito died, and the desire to get close to the music had completely vanished.
And now he didn't know what to do. His grandfather always tried to involve him with music, because he understood his difficulties. But one thing was to listen and appreciate the music, another was to dance.
"If you are only 10% good as your abuelito, then you will certainly be a great dancer." Ernestina assured him, holding out her hand: "So? Are you coming?"
Victor looked at her once more uncertainly, but at the end he nodded. He put the sole on the work table and took her hand.
Ernestina took him to the center of the room, that she had previously freed. That day the rest of the family was out for deliveries, or to shop, and this meant that, for a few hours, they would be alone. Nobody would have bothered if the tables were been moved.
The woman turned on the record player and placed the needle on the vinyl. The notes of a song rose up around the room. It was a slow and very basic song, perfect for learning to dance.
“How long have we had this vinyl?" Victor asked, as Ernestina approached him again. Since the music had returned to the family, Tía Rosita and Papa Hector had bought that turntable and some vinyls. They had listened all of them, at least once. Usually, they put a vinyl to have a music background during work or simply in the evening, when everyone gathered in the living room. But that song, he had never heard it.
The woman shrugged: "I bought it yesterday at the plaza. I thought it would be a suitable song to teach you."
Victor raised his eyebrows: "How long have you been planning to teach me how to dance?"
The signs of Ernestina lit up a little: "A few days, to tell the truth..."
Before Victor could add anything else, she continued: "But it's not important now!" She took his hands. "First of all, the position."
She put one of his hands on her side and the other held it up, holding it with her own. Placing her left hand on his shoulder, she realized how taut Victor was.
"Relax your arms and shoulders, you can't dance if you're taut like a trunk."
Victor tried to do as he was told, inhaling deeply.
"To start we have to wait for the right attack, to get into the rhythm of the song, understand?"
Victor nodded and listened to the song attentively, trying to understand the moment to start. He had seen his abuelos and his parents dance several times. He had learned the basic steps and had more or less understood when it was time to start moving. So, when the right note reached his ears, followed by a nod from Ernestina, he moved his foot forward.
"Good! Perfect start!" Ernestina complimented, following the uncertain steps of the younger man.
Victor kept his eyes on their feet, trying to copy his partner's movements as best he could, but she gave him a slight tap on the cheekbone, thus forcing him to look up at her:
"You always have to look at your partner when you dance. Never look down." She warned him.
He did as he was told, and tried to keep his gaze on Ernestina's, who smiled encouragingly.
As the song progressed, Victor's movements became increasingly safer. The more he understood the mechanism, the more his bones relaxed. The more his body became accustomed to music, the more he understood why his abuelos and his parents loved to dance so much.
Seeing how focused Victor was, Ernestina smiled, wanting to try and make things a little more fun.
She moved her right hand on Victor's shoulder and the left behind his back, pulling him closer to herself. Without warning, she rotated her body, bringing the younger one with her. Victor let out a little surprised shout as he was dragged into an improvised dip. He grasped Ernestina's shoulders firmly, to avoid falling, and looked at her with wide eyes.
"You didn't expect it, did you?" She said, looking at him, amused.
Victor didn't answer and he felt his own signs warm up in embarrassment.
Only when she saw his reaction, Ernestina did seem to really realize what she had done, and she blushed violently. While looking for something to say, the grip on the man loosened. To try not to fall, Victor grabbed Ernestina's shoulders more firmly, even trying to get back on his feet, but this only made lose the balance at the woman, who fell on him.
With a thud and a painful blow on the head for both of them, they found themselves on the ground, their lips almost touching each other.
With eyes wide open and signs even brighter, Ernestina quickly pulls away.
"Sorry! I'm so sorry!" She screamed.
Victor just looked at her, his eyes wide and the marks on his face brighter than ever. "No... Do-do not worry..." he stammered.
Ernestina continued to scream: "I'm so sorry, Victor! I-I did not want to... It was just...!"
Shaking her head, Ernestina shifted and stood up, fixing her dress and avoiding looking at Victor, who had just sat down.
"I think- I think for today it will be enough as lesson..." she said, in a low and shrill voice for the embarrassment, going then to turn off the turntable.
Victor nodded, still sitting on the ground.
After the vinyl was put back in place, the two remained silent for a moment, until Ernestina clapped her hands:
"You know what? I still have to finish arranging the shelves at the back! See you!" And with that she quickly left the room, leaving Victor alone on the floor.
He put his fingers to his lips, touching the point where Ernestina's had accidentally posed, and a small, embarrassed smile spread across his face.
Maybe, learning to dance wouldn't be so bad.