My Moment with a Mexican Moses
For the first time on this trip, the cocaine looks unappealing.
“I think I’m over it. I’ll just drink.”
My mood is low — mind and heart somewhere else, with someone else — and in this brief moment, not even the exotic evening charms of Isla Mujeres can hold me here. I let my mind wander and guiltily fantasise about home, blasphemous as it is to do that whilst island hopping Mexico’s south coast. Ruby straightens up from her hunched seated position on the bottom bunk and reaches across the tiny dorm to pass me the tequila bottle. Outside, we can hear the wild exultations from the beach party dance floor; potential vacay lovers meeting for the first time, bartenders yelling cocktail orders over each other, and momentarily, the lyrics of ‘Hotel California’ beckoning to us before being switched to an RnB temptress that I cannot name.
I take a last stealthy sip of our cheeky hostel contraband and shove the tequila bottle and my sadittude into my travel pack, stuffing the whole heavy lot under the bed. We navigate the maze of floor-dwelling towels, lone shoes and general dorm-room crap and exit, shutting the door behind us. The music amplifies quickly as we step into the sticky sweetness of the night. A sense of wild alcoholic freedom washes over me, paralleled only by the euphoria-inducing waves of the Caribbean ocean, a mere 100 metres from where we stand.
We glide toward the dance floor, the centre of the party. It is a small wooden stage, built up on the silky sand, and is completely packed; the entire hostel is already there, mixed in with knocked-off staff and a few random beach walkers who have obviously stumbled into the out-of-their-world island night they were looking for. We find ourselves a tiny tasteful corner where we can flail and body roll ridiculously together without too many filthy looks from those who are there to actually DANCE.
And then… there he fucking is.
Enormous, of stature and energy, he divides the dancefloor like a modern Moses. The dancers – in a truly bizarre display of obedience – part for him as he makes his way to me, grinning.
“Whaaaat is happening?” I murmur in soft panic, reaching a hand out to Ruby who is (yaay) no longer by my side. A nervous giggle escapes me as he continues his advance. My lone-lady panic amplifies as I try to squirm deeper into the gyrating crowd that has now, in an act of fierce betrayal, fast dissipated, leaving me straight up exposed.
The dramatic giant then stretches out a hand, palm open and mouths a weird movie-scene, Trust me. My only remaining defence is to offer a freakish Wallace and Gromet-esque smile. But — holy shit — he’s unstoppable. It’s a mere half-second later and his hands are on my hips and my feet are off the ground.
Now. It is here in this moment that my life’s trajectory shifts, hurtling me into a climactic scene from the cinematic great that is the Step Up movie (the one where they grind outside in the rain). I am now the wide-eyed support to my giant’s talent-burdened lead.
The dance floor is cleared in seconds. Open-mouthed partiers back away in excited disbelief, because wow they too are in the movie! The giant spins me expertly across the floor, lifting and throwing me as though I’m a two-kilo bebe, wherein I very almost experience a just-as-cute bebe spew. In a moment of abstract motion, my mind takes a drunken snap shot: Ruby at the edge of the dancefloor, frozen like a cartoon in the half-motion of turning, and staring at me incredulously. The cocktail man in the bar behind her is also paused, mid Pina Colada storm, his expression mirroring Ruby’s.
The song thuds on and my knight in flouro pink havianas continues to twirl and flip me to his soul’s highest content. Not once during this dramatic display do I even for a moment inject a single ounce of effort. Arrested by tequila handcuffs, I’m a glammed-up ragdoll cat, and by way of shock and wild impressiveness, he has stolen my fucking heart.
Our sweat has blended. We are one. An unstoppable duo of otherworldly fluidity, with the whole world moving to the beat of our dual dancer’s hearts. We cannot be tamed.
But then the song ends, and in a final flourish, gravity resumes ownership of my bod and he places me right back on my feet. With unwelcome finality, I am returned once more to the 5’1 (5’2 in a shoe) hobbit that is my true nature. He delicately raises my hand all the way up to his lips and upon the back of it and plants a swift kiss.
“Dank you for dat, little sweetie!” he half shouts over the music as the crowd begins to swarm rapidly around us.
“How did you do that?!”
“You are a half of me, it is eesy, like throwing a pizza dough!”
In another whirlwind moment he bows to me, swivels on his heel, and in a final display of dramatic perfection, disappears from my life as rapidly as he entered.
Ruby’s face is all of a sudden nose to nose with mine.
“Whatthefuckwasthat?!” Her big blue eyes threaten to abandon her. “I wanted to go and get my phone so I could film it, but I didn’t want to miss a SECOND! How was that even REAL?”
Someone starts laughing maniacally. It’s me.
I am drenched in the sweat blend. My giant is gone. The scene has ended.
The night resumes as though nothing has happened and my life’s trajectory snaps back. I stand there, still in the centre of the dance floor, on a Caribbean island, forever altered by that mysterious giant, and knowing deep in my soul that no one would ever believe me.
Cover by Alexander Popov