Serena feels exhilarated in shimmering Tango heels. Perfectly sculpted to fit and accentuate her slim ankles.
As if the room were her stage, she is ready to dance the Milonga, her own private dance party.
Milonga de la Parda impregnates the air, injecting her pulse with an emotional fever, one that demands a reaction. Back straight, with arms and fingers held up just so, she moves from the Balanceo into her left step. Ankles close, step right, with a poised chin, smiling, she swirls and glides in perfect balance to the kitchen and the copper pot.
Exhilarated, she spins full circle on the wooden floor without spilling a drop of her chilled, pink Prosecco. Today’s Locro would be a spine-tingling soup filled with magical vibrations. Their lover’s bond absolute and binding.
Slicing the flank steak brings rhythmic ease to the air. Aroma and sound combine with the promise of nurturing goodness to come. Locro needs, like the Milonga, precision in preparation, flamboyance in taste and execution. With the edge of the stilleto, she slides the lean meat into the boiling water and watches it bubble, gently at first and then into a surging boil.
Another sip of wine, she steps lightly from one shapely leg to the other, sweeping up a handful of skinny red peppers. Topped and tailed, she tosses them into the pot, they sail jauntily onto the surface before submerging into the liquor.
Steam rises from the pot in tangy, peppery bursts. A rising fever snakes through her damp hair, slithering down her spine, settling deliciously between her thighs.
She squirms in delight at the thought of him, a black shirt skimming the contours of his toned chest. Eyes of fire in water, passion in ice, the curve inside her belly trembles. A spasm releases her momentarily, with mouthwatering anticipation, it rises and dies a little death.
Heat and spice permeate the exotic infusion of dance. Argentinian memories emerge of spectacular glaciers with the mountains of Patagonia. Home, fills her heart, with a mixture of tears and longing, that pulls a little gasp from her breast.
The music pauses, Serena turns gracefully, her purple gown flares. She moves to the player and presses repeat. Pitched flutes, violins and harps drench the room, soaked in its frantic melody. Three steps in two beats come together, these two are one, engulfing their souls.
Serena chops the onions, Spanish chorizo, and pancetta into delectable bite-size chunks and stirs into the marinating juices. Hypnotised in thoughtful anticipation, she adds the final beans and seasoning into the pot, where it simmers, until the meat and vegetables are softly entwined together.
Serena sings of the gateway to releasing the emotions that are held within, showing them both the doorway and key to their tryst. La Parda fades, signalling the arrival of the Orillera. She glides her right foot smoothly across the floor, following flawlessly with the left.
Heels together, she stands, waiting, her stillness is absolute. As the quietness grows deeper, the only sound is her heartbeat, until in those frozen seconds, distant footsteps. Soles moving upon solid ground, making bold progress.
Serena’s smile grows of its own accord, ignited in passion. Breaking the silence, she speaks his name, “Diablo, my love, come close, I’m waiting for you.”
Reaching for the spoon once destined for the high ballroom tables of Europe, now quite at home in her cottage. Made all the more beautiful by the playful habanera, it belongs more in her hand than any other since its making.
Serena knows there’s a fraction of a moment, between when your eyes smile and your mouth follows. That anticipation is as exquisite a feeling as any she’s ever felt.
The vivid orange, red bloom of the food speaks of its freshness and the bold flavours to come. It’s satisfying in thickness, requiring more eating than drinking. The everything soup, that takes any and every morsel that needs eating and makes wonders of it. The flavours have a sweet, scalding brightness as if each morsel were tiny brilliant hot air balloons, ready to explode on your tongue, creating with it, a lustful greed for more.
The sweetness of the stock mingles on her tongue, with the softness of well-cooked meat that’s easy to savour and swallow. If flavours could get up from the table and do an energetic sacada, the stew Serena’s devilled will do that with every fiery mouthful.
The enchantment of Locro is the knowledge of the special ingredient that only the Milongueros possess.
“You, my love, are the right ambiance, the right emotion, the right scene for its entrance.”
“Lover, my heartbeat keeps a steady rhythm until the thought of you arrives.”
“Come, quickly now.”
A telling rush of wind ruffles her raven curls, she speaks in thanks, smiling.
Her first love is writing and has been honing her craft for many years. With painting her second love, her art is locally recognised for its seascapes. Well travelled, she once took a cruiser out to Alcatraz where she was locked in solitary confinement for an hour. "That hour, felt like days," she recalls with a sense of accomplishment.