The Tango Teacher

The story of a former "Gamin" (Homeless child from the slums from Bogota).

Life and Tango bring him face to face with his greatest enemy: himself. Tango will also bring him love and the self-believe he has always lacked.

1

Blade

 Just one tiny drop of blood. Blade and mind stop. Is it the carotid or the jugular? He knows they both lurk somewhere around here, close to the sharp edge… He used to be so good at anatomy. But he seems to have forgotten all what he ever learnt. Ah! How he wishes he could forget so many other things… The same blade. He always kept it sharp. Twenty four years last Friday.

The blade is still motionless, waiting for a decision. It would be so easy.... Will he ever have the nerve?

2

Juancho

Trails of blood left by the careless gang lead to the body.  So much blood. A torrent, like the tears blurring his vision. He scrubs them furiously, the dirty torn sleeve leaving dark trails. Grime is a form of branding. The brand of the pariah.

  He must see clearly. His eyes scrutinize each corner of the square as he emerges from his hiding place behind the enormous pile of smelly trash, heart pounding, body trembling and not just because it's cold.

A few more cautious steps, his knees buckle and he sinks by the body, oblivious to the general stench. 

He was such a fucking coward. But what could he do?

Not even Juancho, strong and agile as he was, had been a match for them.

They were five tonight. Who was the new boy? It didn't matter. He was just as vicious as the others.

He had seen them from his hiding place, blades glinting in the moonlight, silent and diligent in the completion of their murderous task, under el cabezon's orders, he was sure. Nothing the gang did, especially if cruel, was ever any one else's idea. El cabezon was king of the gang and everyone obeyed him.

Jose laid gently a hand on Juancho's chest, his own heart beating fast in hope. But he already knew. Juancho's face looked so peaceful, a bit paler than usual, eyes still opened to the stars, but otherwise the same face he had looked up to so many times under the same night sky.

He is alone now. Really alone for the first time in his existence or in his notion of it. He knows he was alone before Juancho found him, a tiny bundle under the bridge of La Calle Veintiseis.

But now, Juancho is gone. Who will protect him? He knows exactly who and what awaits him in the streets tonight.

He wipes his nose on his sleeve while bravely searching the broken body for the blade: Juancho's blade, under the uncertain light of dawn, the certain smells of death, decay, human depravity, and the certain fear, gathering in his guts. He hopes they didn't take it. At least it is a weapon. His only defense and his only memento of the only father he ever knew.

Juancho's body lies there, still and quiet, surrounded by the leftovers of greed, perhaps the only appropriate shroud for a dead child of the streets: a mountain of trash piling up around him.

.Tonight they will probably have him again, unless he runs away or manages to defend himself. Fat hope! They killed Juancho, not only much older than him but strong, fast, and good with the blade. They will kill him too. But no way El Cabezon or Poroto are going to have him again. He still remembers the fear and the pain. How they pushed him and kicked him and thrust their swollen members inside his powerless body, one after the other, oblivious to his screams and tears, during that endless night, the only night that Juancho was away,. He remembers their gross laughter; their gross jokes. Until Juancho came back and then they had to face the fury of the little man. Small but strong, a tiger bounding over them, his cut-throat razor flashing in his hands, dancing a mortal dance on his short bowed legs. How much Jose loved him that night. How lucky he felt to be his protégée. Oh Juancho! He knows they killed him because of that. Because of him!

 He hopes they didn't take the blade. No. they didn't. It is still there, in Juancho's pocket! With a sigh of relief he clutches the small but deadly weapon and hides in his pocket. He looks around once more, just to find the enquiring eyes of a scraggy dog scavenging the scraps of rich and poor last week's dinner, one last look at the young body, which will have the honorable burial of so many homeless: left to rot and be eaten by the rats and the vermin, the only happy inhabitants of the big city's trash heap.

 The only father he ever knew, and yet he has to run away, pulling the dirty top  over his blond curls, those curls to which he owes more than one cruel nickname, hundreds of dirty jokes and a rape. Those blond curls that have made of him target for perverts of all ages in the dark slum's streets.

Those streets now swallow him with jaws of misery and want into the hungry, cruel entrails of Bogotá.