Do you remember that hilarious short story by O. Henry called "Squaring the circle"? If not, do read it. You won't regret it. It's about a feud between two Kentucky families that "flourished for forty years”. The last two Cumberland feudists, helplessly lost in NYC, meet "in the angles of Broadway, Fifth Avenue and Twenty-Third Street" and shake hands, relieved to see a familiar face . There is a human twist to it as to any other O. Henry story which makes it applicable to … well, anything.
Bear with me, there is a point to the tale.
Friday night I went to a far, far, far away milonga. I had a personal reason for wanting to break away from my tango routine. Recently I got caught up in a tangle of other people's relationships, but instead of taking sides I just went into hiding. I would write it off my chest, but don't yet know how to.
Anyway, on Friday night I found myself out of my natural habitat.
It was a nice enough place: small and snug, smooth timber floor, a friendly DJ and decent music.
The only problem was that no one was there apart from two or three older couples working on their cool moves.
I decided to give it an hour, before calling it a night. So I slumped back into the armchair and closed my eyes.
As I opened them again, I didn't believe whom I saw.
There is one leader in our tango community. He is very good and - borderline arrogance aside – treats those "beneath" him relatively friendly. But he would never, ever dance with me, because he considers me to be waaay out of his league. To make sure that our kind doesn't get any wrong ideas about it, he tends to give us this glazed over "Oh, you here?" - fake smile - moving swiftly on” routine. Most of the time I find such conduct fairly amusing. Once he caught me out bitching about such kind of behaviour, and although I never got as personal as to mention his name specifically, he knew enough to ignore me from then on.
I still don't know how he managed to end up there, in this godforsaken milonga. Hunted by his own devils, I suppose.
He lumbered indecisively by the entrance.
Then he saw me and his face virtually lit up. He waved (I had to look around to make sure he really meant me) and crossed the dance floor to give me a kiss.
And then I laughed. I couldn't help it.
Because exactly in this moment the short story about two foes stumbling upon each other in a big strange city came to my mind:
"Howdy, Cal! I'm durned glad to see ye."