Freddie first moved into our small, silver Aristocrat trailer that Marc used when he had to work out of town. … The little trailer was perfect for a single man. When Marc was home, it sat empty, next to the garage and Elun’s swing set. A small rose garden brightened the area. Freddie’s presence brightened things further, with the sounds from his Flamenco guitar filling the air we breathed, and his cheerful energy infusing our lives. Obsolete thoughts of romance were easily replaced by Freddie’s and my deepening friendship.
We spent hours together – I would dance freely to Freddie’s music, Belly Dancing, because that is what I knew. Freddie began to teach me the Flamenco compás (rhythms), moving my hands to clap in the rhythms, or tapping the beats on my thigh, helping me learn the complex counts and accents. I was one of those weird people who danced almost exclusively to the melody, and I had to specifically learn to incorporate the rhythm into my consciousness. Perhaps it was the ballet and modern dance that I had studied as a child, which did not stress the rhythm the way Flamenco demanded. But now I had to develop the rhythmic side of dance with intense focus and concentration.
Flamenco permeated my life. In my house I heard Freddie practicing outside the window by our koi pond, the sounds both calming and exciting me, wrapping me in their world. Often Freddie would sit on the couch in the small dining room area that opened into the kitchen, playing music while I cooked. Flamenco filled my being. I played Flamenco tapes while I slept at night, wanting the complex rhythms to incorporate themselves in my psyche.
One evening, Elun toddled out of his bedroom in his pajamas while Freddie was playing guitar. Loud semi-musical sounds were wailing from his three-year-old mouth. He looked proud of himself and he was definitely not crying. “He’s singing!” exclaimed Freddie, impressed. A love of Flamenco was ingrained in Elun from that early, constant exposure. While he never became an artist, an affection for Flamenco has stayed with him. He tried to learn guitar from Freddie when he was a little older, and the tips of his tender, little fingers were blistered and raw from practicing. But the guitar didn’t call him enough to keep him.
©2022 Marianna Mejia