So I walked into this club called Treba on a very unfortunate and pointless valentine’s day.
Unfortunate and pointless because I was single. Not because of any of the other practical reasons like, it being just an excuse for chocolate companies to increase sales or the debated origins of who on earth St. Valentine actually was.
The years prior I wasn’t single, and those were the years where I celebrated the overrated festival with full pomp and glory. From crafty gift ideas, to more gifts. I’d make sure I’d give him a bunch of gifts one crafty enough to look like the brainchild of my immense love and creativity and one that was expensive enough to look like my salary could afford it, you know a watch or something.
Oh yes chocolates and a card was mandatory. I was a romantic. Not in general, I was a romantic for him.
Sigh. Those were the days.
Okay so back to Treba. Now, Treba is my favorite place to celebrate any event, or not celebrate at all. I could drink enough to drown my sorrows and not my wallet. Also, the vibe there was always sensual, it excited me. It wasn’t the kind of place where you’d find the clichéd over the top candlelight dinner, champagne-drinking, seaside-facing, LBD-wearing-woman and blazer-wearing man who never pulls out a chair for his woman but because it is valentine’s day decides to be extra chivalrous and pulls out a chair for her, opens the car door and all that jazz.
At Treba people ate tacos and quesadillas with their fingers, the music was live and played over anything else audible, heck you wouldn’t hear a spaceship if it landed right outside and the people were warm and interesting enough to walk into the club single.
You must have guessed by now Treba was a little Latin club, and unlike other places, every night was salsa night.
I for one loved salsa, my father was great at it and that’s how I learned.
Never took those classes.
It was dad and I, at every family event bringing the party to life. Be it birthdays,anniversaries, reunions, weddings or just dancing at home with daddy when we had nothing else to do.
My ex Harry, was also a professional salsa dancer,he competed nationally but I was still his favorite dance partner. At least in my mind I was. Dancing was the only thing that kept our relationship for as long as it lasted. We had nothing else in common.
I made my way to the bar and the pretty bar lady moved to the back to get my usual apple martini.
It wasn’t even 10 minutes till a sweaty shirtless young man who looked like he was 30 approached me and asked me to dance. His body was so perfect, with every vein, every muscle just working to please the female eye. It would be a grave sin if he put his shirt back on. It was like God was partial when he took the time to create him. That face was carved out of magic, brown hair, gray eyes and golden skin. If you know salsa and you’re at Treba you never say no to anyone who asks you to dance and if i said no to him i’d never forgive myself. At Treba you move from one partner to the next till you can’t feel your feet anymore. So this man had the most clichéd, predictable Spanish name, Rico. Rico had a really firm grip when he held me, like he knew me forever. This time there was bachata music playing which is a lot more sensual than salsa. The music began slow and our foreheads touched, his hands around my waist and mine round his neck. We moved in sync with the beat and then the music got faster, and as he twirled me around the floor I felt like a happy puppet in his lead.
I remember the times Harry and I used to dance that way, Harry my ex whom I mentioned before. Somehow in Rico’s arms I felt the same way I used to feel in Harry’s, under the strobe lights, in my dancing shoes, dancing so close I could feel his heart beat against mine.
After Rico I danced with Pete, and Ricardo, Joe, and after that i didn’t remember their names anymore. I felt accomplished, happy, sexy and I knew I couldn’t be in any other place having candlelight dinner or making gifts, or trying to put effort in to make another man’s day when all these salsa dancing men made mine.
There was no planning or anxiety involved, wondering if he will like your surprises and gifts.
I wondered why I felt the same kind of joy with all these different men. Were they all capable of making me feel how Harry made me feel or was it something else? It was the most beautiful exchange of energies, from my body to my respective partner’s. I closed my eyes and felt my heart jump, self healing, putting its pieces together. I felt the light leaking through the edge of every piece of my soul that began fixing itself, through my soul, through my ribs and out on the dance floor.
It was then that I realized, when it comes to dance, it’s not the person who you’re dancing with. It’s the dance itself. Salsa had a way of making me feel like I had a purpose, it fixed my broken heart, it made me love myself, it brought me joy and I never felt alone. I always had something to be passionate about.
So this valentine’s day it is perfectly okay if you’re just doing something you love and not someone.
Happy Valentine’s day!