I first saw her three summers ago at the area where skate dancers congregate in Central Park. Dark haired with flashing eyes, she may have been Latino or Italian or Greek. She threw her body into the music mix, gyrating, swiveling, sweating. At one point she removed her skates and socks, dancing around barefoot, flinging back her long hair, taking on partners, wearing them out. I was exhausted watching her.

For three years, on and off, week after week I came back waiting in vain for her to return. At some point I thought I’d imagined her.

Then, this past Memorial Day, I saw the woman. She was all in white, dancing in place on her skates. She hadn’t changed a bit. If anything, she moved with more abandon, releasing whatever sensuality and spirit was trapped within.

She waved to someone outside the oblong skating area. She danced with many others. Her expression was sheer joy. When she did skate she flew gracefully around the oval, hair extended like dark tentacles. Speed, power, flexibility. Physicality.

And then, I took my eyes off her to check my watch. FOOL! She was gone. GONE. Frantically I searched, then caught her flowing out the exit. I tried to catch up, needing to tell her something powerful, something poetic.

But she had vanished. Not by the volleyball nets, nor the band shell, the fountain, the drum circle. Gone. Again. But now I know she exists.

And if necessary, I will wait another three years to experience that life force. There is so much falsity in this world, but one thing is true – hips don’t lie.

Joe Del Priore is a frequent contributor. Comments on this piece can be sent to: current@hudsonreporter.com.


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group