Your seatmate from Heathrow to Copenhagen is a beautiful young Estonian woman who, thankfully, is talkative. You are starved for conversation. You were alone at Heathrow for several hours with nothing but your vodka to talk to. She lives in Tallinn, a beautiful city. You were once there in December in the old town and the architecture was breathtaking behind the falling snow.
Her name is Annika, and she has been traveling since early this morning from Buenos Aires, where her boyfriend lives. She is interested in literature and humanitarian work and makes her living as a tango instructor. You tell her you have a foot in all three worlds at once: you have written a novel about a torture survivor who dances tango.
“You dance tango?” she asks.
“I wish. I’m terrified of dancing.”
“With the terrified men,” she says, “I start out only walking with them to help them find the rhythm to their bodies.”
Her casual acceptance that some men fear dancing convinces you that this woman was sent into your life to liberate you from that strange fear. “Are there many men like that?” you ask.
“Everyone is terrified of something,” she says, and her young eyes grow distant. “Some are terrified of dogs, some of cats, some of rats, spiders, of prison, of flying, of elevators . . .”
You wonder what terrifies her, but think it inappropriate to ask. You lean back your head and contemplate her list of fears. You don’t really have any of them. It occurs to you that instead of fear you have vodka. You think of telling her that fear changes with age, the things you fear when you are young are less specific. Is that true? Instead, you say, “I’m sure that you are the only person in the world who could teach me to tango.”
“But,” she points out, “you live in Copenhagen, and I live in Tallinn.”
You tell her you have scads of frequent flyer miles and it is only a hop from Copenhagen to Estonia.
“You would really come to Tallinn to learn tango from me?”
“Sometimes people meet for a reason,” you say. More here