Philomena Carmen Silva July 28, 1967--Sept 13, 2020 A year ago today, my four siblings and I had to decide whether our stepmother should have to share her birthday with the anniversary of our older sister's death. I argued that we could not do that to our stepmother; we should wait one more day. She … Continue reading I am sorry
Not even 24 hours after Philomena took her final breath, I search through our family photos on the cloud and download one photo after the next, realizing it's nearly impossible to properly label these photos because nearly every one is, "Philomena Smiling." That's what comes to mind when her five siblings think of Philomena. She … Continue reading A Sister’s Tribute
Photo Credit: Matias Baglietto/Reuters @ https://www.ft.com/content/5fbef231-4e3d-4750-9f20-53d131571cdc I put on my mask. The cool dollop of Purell soothes my anxious hands. Her eyes crease above her mask, a gesture that signals that she is ready to dance. I walk toward her in the middle of my living room, lift my left arm, and invite her palm … Continue reading Tango is More Than the Embrace
...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing....Ecclesiastes 3:4 When I told several of my friends that I listen to COVID-19 … Continue reading A Time to Mourn
"You're alive for another birthday," said Tia Helena, who called earlier on FaceTime. According to the John Hopkins COVID-19 map, 118,854 victims worldwide won't get to celebrate another birthday. Indeed, I am grateful to be alive for another birthday. After 35 days without human contact, strangely enough, I've gotten used to it. This is my … Continue reading My COVID-19 Birthday
In 2020, a new threat surfaces and hundreds of millions of single people around the world have to figure out how to date in the time of corona. Love guru and sex advice columnist Dan Savage, who once discouraged people from engaging in long drawn out text exchanges on Tinder or Bumble before that first date, now encourages his readers and listeners to court via text like World War II pen pals. Some recommend finding a corona buddy, someone you can trust to receive physical touch and emotional care. This may work for lifelong friends or close confidantes; however, this is far more complicated between two individuals who hardly know each other. Where the standard protocol in the past was to ask for STD test results and a glass of red wine to get into the mood, I am compelled to ask the most intimate of questions, such as, "Do you sing the ENTIRE birthday song while washing your hands?" And the sex? How do we even make that work when respiratory droplets naturally expel from our bodies, especially at the moment we peak together. Masked sex sounds like the most logical solution in this case. I guess it would be better than nothing, but 90% of what makes sex so pleasurable, and possibly worth dying for, is what happens behind that mask.
Day 21 It has been 21 days since I have touched someone. For most people, touch has taken on a whole new meaning. Seven days ago, an Amazon box arrived at my doorstep, and this pretty much sums up the incident: Picking up the Amazon box, putting down the Amazon box, walking into the house … Continue reading The Touch Chronicles
Last night my best friend and I FaceTimed, tried to do a women's tango technique class in our living room, which basically sounded like this for an hour: Me: Can you see my feet? Her: How about now?Me: No, turn the other way.Her: How about now? We made the class work, joking often about climbing … Continue reading Day 12 Without Touch
My Tango Life Cancelled: March 11, 2020 One by one, milongas, practicas, festivals, tango classes, and seminars cancelled worldwide. My facebook notifications screen looked similar to an airline terminal monitor during a snow storm, one cancellation after the next. Sadly, I had to do the same and postpone indefinitely our weekly milonga, which had debuted … Continue reading My Tango Life Cancelled
In tango in the States, men have apologized to me during practicas or milongas; however, their threshold for what constitutes an offense is much higher. For instance, a leader may have just learned a new complex sequence or technique and wishes to experiment with it and often apologizes when it is not executed fluidly or effortlessly. Women, on the other hand, often apologize for nearly every instance of instability, which could be the result of the leader's actions, which may be due to the congestion on the floor, which may be due to a bunch of out-of-towners overly excited about the first D'Arienzo tanda of the night. What women identify as an offense or fault of theirs may actually have nothing to do with them.