An Open Love Letter

I am in love with the small of her back. While I am eating, I watch her in the mirror, laughing, talking to her tables, remembering names. She is quiet and elusive; sliding away even as she makes a joke, looking into your eyes as she takes your order, smiling just slightly when you do. It’s a skill, I know, to make even forgetfulness appealing, to make each clattering diner individual and special, but an irresistible one. You realize her professionalism even as you believe in her charm.

She is tall. At the counter I have to crane my neck to meet her eyes, which are brown. She is polite in her tallness; she never dips, never stoops, never kneels. She pays you the compliment — and you feel it — of being full-sized, adult. You are brave, she says, you can look up and not feel threatened. We are all friends here.

I think about dancing with her. She moves between the kitchen and the dining room with a crisp efficiency. I think about the tango. My hand in the small of her back, our eyes looking over each other’s shoulders, slow progress and sharp turns, and the march of the bandoneóns.

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