The Mysterious Dancer – Excerpt from Call to My Soul – Dancing the Path to True Love

…Occasionally Steve and Alice would give parties, Flamenco fiestas that lasted all night. Flamenco artists from all over the Bay area would come, drinking, eating, dancing, singing, and playing guitar until dawn. I lived for these fiestas, for the high that followed being in non-stop, group Flamenco land. Living with Freddie kept me in the Flamenco flow, but the parties took it to a new level. Some would last three days.

One night, Jenny whispered to me, “You have to stay up until four in the morning to see this one guy dance. He only dances then, and he is really good. He is also really cute.” So the next night we both made plans to watch together, and sure enough, as the night stretched toward dawn and many people left, a handsome, young, dark haired man arose to dance to the guitars that played unfailingly, the soul of the music growing with the length of the night. I found out much later, that the dancer, Roberto, who also became a singer, was too shy to dance earlier, which is why he waited until fewer people were awake, to get up his courage to dance. But at that time, to Jenny and me, he just seemed mysterious and otherworldly as well as very good. 

©2022  Marianna Mejia 

No Longer a Frightening Mystery  – Tuning My VW – Excerpt from Call to My Soul – Dancing the Path to True Love

I would make the half-hour drive from Watsonville to their house in my little blue Volkswagen Bug. After I had learned to tune its engine, I was feeling competent and powerful in that knowledge. But one time, when I was driving there, just after tuning the engine, I heard a loud pop and was barely able to pull into a gas station before the car sputtered to a stop. Looking under the hood with my newly found expertise, I saw that a spark plug was out, so I stuck it back in. But it didn’t stay. There was a bigger problem. I had made a costly mistake.

Because my how-to manual had not cautioned me to only hand tighten the spark plugs on this model car, I had used a wrench and inadvertently cross threaded the plug. Unbeknownst to me, the next time I had tuned it, there was nothing to hold the spark plug in. The whole engine and to be pulled and fixed. A Heli coil had to be machined in. My step-brother was studying mechanics at the time and he generously did the work for me. I was disgusted because it was such a preventable mistake. After it was fixed, I decided that only mechanics should work on my car and that I should stick to dancing. It was dance that grabbed my heart, not mechanics. But I remained happy that engines were no longer a frightening mystery to me. 

©2022  Marianna Mejia 

And Then There Was Freddie – Excerpt from Call to My Soul – Dancing the Path to True Love

Freddie’s exotic looks came from his Filipino, Mexican Indian, Spanish, French and German background. His five-foot ten frame was long and thin and strong. His mind was curious and competent. In 1948, when Freddie was nine years old, his mother had put him and his older sister Dorothy in a Flamenco dance class. “She loved Rudolph Valentino,” Freddie told me later, “but she couldn’t find a Tango class, so she figured Flamenco was good enough. It would do.” 

Because Freddie was very shy and felt uncomfortable dancing, he asked Ramón, his teacher, if he could play guitar instead. “Yes,” Ramón told him, “when you get a guitar.” But Freddie’s widowed mother had very little money and couldn’t afford to buy him a guitar. Freddie’s father had died when Freddie was six years old, and his proud, struggling mother worked hard to take care of her family. 

… However, the fates must have already had a path for Freddie. A short while later, a neighbor boy spent the night at Freddie’s house and peed in the bed. The little boy felt so bad that he gave Freddie his guitar. And so, at nine years old, Freddie began a lifetime as a Flamenco guitarist. …Flamenco had grabbed Freddie’s soul, as it later would mine. 

©2022  Marianna Mejia 

Electricity – Excerpt from Call to My Soul – Dancing the Path to True Love

My senses felt fed. Freddie, the cute Flamenco guitarist, was sitting nearby, taking a break from playing music, and he offered to rub my feet at the same time his friend was rubbing my neck and shoulders. I accepted, naturally. When Freddie’s musician hands touched my feet, electricity immediately connected our flesh, causing an involuntary tremor through my body. But I made myself relax, breathing and luxuriating in the many sensations, erotically held together by the music. The fire flickered and danced with the overhead lights and my body surrendered in ecstasy. The smell of the burning wood mingled with incense, hashish and forest. The stars outside flickered and a sense of serene peace wafted over us.

         Suddenly the power failed and the lights went out. Everything stopped. Freddie took my hand and, in a trance, without thought or talk, we walked into the night outside through the curtained door. Somewhere in the dark, on the other side of a haybale, we came together in a ferocious and consuming passion that overtook us, making love in the dirt and weeds. When we strolled in after the lights came back on, we must have both had twigs and hay in our hair. And we must have glowed.

©2022  Marianna Mejia 

Dancing with Snakes – Excerpt from Meeting Freddie –Dancing the Path to True Love

Dancing with snakes felt sensual, the cool skin gliding over my body, but I had to be careful that the snake didn’t get tangled in my jewelry or coil around my neck. Once, while I was Belly Dancing in a performance at the New Riverside Szechwan, a large and fancy Chinese restaurant in Santa Cruz, my snake, Julius Squeezer, wound the tip of his tail around the back of my loose-fitting necklace, twisting it around and around. As the chain tightened, I started to choke. Afraid I would pass out and no one would guess the cause and I would die, I felt a dizziness and was struck by the absurdity of the situation. Knowing that I had to do something soon, I danced up to one of the musicians and whispered loudly, “Break my necklace!” I lifted my hair seductively and turned my back to the musician, smiling at the audience as I undulated my stomach. Turning my head, I hissed, “Just yank it off,” briefly pivoting toward him when he hesitated. The chain finally popped and I inhaled a deep breath as I continued moving my body to the music. I lifted the snake high for the audience to see and then let him coil again on my arm and belly. I don’t think the audience knew what had happened, as I glided on the music through the rest of my dance, minus one gold colored costume necklace from Turkey. 

©2022  Marianna Mejia