Summer’s Last Tango


Sometimes life makes you believe in fairytales

Ariadne always loved her name, she always thought it gave her a mythical twist. She was a difficult girl, one could say she couldn’t find love in the face of anybody she ever met. Nothing besides excitement, but she was always drawn by romantic gestures and they were carved in her heart the same way teenager couples carve their initials on old trees. The person usually is not as important as the gesture itself and its certain sweetness and warmth. Maybe she expected too much, maybe she had seen too many movies. No, she didn’t wait for her prince charming but most certainly her standards were pretty high.

Her mother’s hometown was a small town in northern Greece. She didn’t like it much. See, Ariadne was raised in Athens, the magical capital of Greece, the city with the historical alleys and bright, beautiful, majestic lights. She didn’t like going at that town, it was too small, boring, full of people so narrow minded, she only visited for the sake of her family. It was mid-August when Ariadne decided to take the train and go back to her beloved Athens. The closest train station was two hours away, at Meteora so her uncle decided to drive her there. Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece and they are located on the top of some very high rocks who seem as if they are “suspended in the air” or “in the middle of the sky.” She was very happy that she was going back home, she could already see the city lights in her head and she was looking forward to her sophomore year in college. She felt so fulfilled, that summer had been very generous to her, she felt grown up but young at the same time. Ready to take on the world, in for the big shot.

Needless to say, Ariadne was extremely confident. She was only wearing her worn out jean shorts, a white sleeveless shirt and her hair was on a braid up to her shoulders, but when she walked into that train looking for her seat she could steal a look, or the attention of any man she wanted in there. It was something about how she looked at them. She was more than a distinct face that you don’t see everyday, more than beautiful eyes, nice hair and body. Something about her made people want to be around. She sat next to the window, it was a 6 hour trip and she wanted to look at the window. She always thought Greece was incredibly beautiful, she almost felt bad that she would leave after graduating but it was her dream. She was convinced that she was made for bigger things. There was something else about Ariadne, everything she did, even the simplest thing, like sitting and reading a book, projected “classy.” Just by looking at her people knew she was the kind of person you could have an actual conversation with about something meaningful.

Indeed, there she was, right by the window, reading her book in the train until this handsome man approached. He placed his bags right above the seat and took his place next to Ariadne. He was a man of average height, his skin must have been originally white but it was August and he was in Greece, so he was very tanned. Ariadne took one look at him and she could distinguish his french characteristics. Yes she was sure that he was French. Time was going by and Ariadne was not only bored but she was also trying to find an appropriate way of approaching the french tourist. Maybe because her options were limited and all she could do was sit in a train for the next 6 hours, but he had distracted her. She couldn’t even read her book anymore, she was just looking outside the tremendous window to the fields, all dried up from the warm summer sun. She couldn’t find any interesting topics about talking to him so she decided to go with spontaneity. Ariadne turned her head to him and directly asked him if he was french. He smiled and agreed. His name was Serge, he was 29 years old and he was from Paris. He was travelling the world, sightseeing all the beauties of it. In his judgement Meteora was one of them. He had gone around Greece and now he was going back in Athens for a tango festival and back in Paris the day after. What is more interesting than a handsome, well educated man who loves traveling and dancing?

The two people started having conversations and Ariadne found herself incredibly enchanted by him. Of course, she didn’t show it, she always managed to maintain her rather distant and mysterious veil that made people want to explore her. Thanks to him those 6 hours were over as fast as a cigarette. They talked about everything, their life, their goals and dreams, their passion for elegance and fashion, he told her she was ready for Paris.They discussed about their philosophies, but most of all they discussed about his great passion, Tango. “Tango is like fire” he said, “If you get very much into it you will get burned.” His passion was inspiring and contagious. Ariadne knew that this was a cliche but she couldn’t stop picturing Serge dancing tango in a hot summer night under the Eiffel Tower. The scent of the french cuisine coming from the small bistro nearby, the lights of Paris, and Louis’ Armstrong  “La vie en Rose” smoothly playing in the background. Ariadne’s romantic side has been awakened. The warmness that this handsome stranger was projecting couldn’t leave her unaffected , she couldn’t ignore the fairytale unfolding right before her eyes. It was getting late.

Ariadne was getting hungry and there was not much that you could find in a Greek train. She suddenly remembered the two sandwiches her chef uncle had prepared for her, the mouthwatering sandwiches with chicken and pesto sauce. Serge hadn’t eaten anything this whole time as well so Ariadne kindly offered him one of the two sandwiches and as she had predicted he accepted. He was a gentleman though, he wouldn’t let her kind gesture unrewarded. He offered her a tango lesson as soon as they arrived in Athens and spent the rest of the trip preparing her by showing her tango music. This sexy but at the same time extremely romantic music that indeed makes you wanna dance all night under the moonlight. It was the best possibly way for Ariadne to spend those 6 hours. They had finally arrived in historical Athens. Serge acted like the gentleman he was and helped Ariadne carry her luggage around the underground subway of the city. She accompanied him to his hotel where he requested for her to change into shoes with some sort of heels because that’s the way to dance tango. She patiently waited for him at the lobby while he was changing into sweatpants in his room. While she waited for him the times that she fought to herself what was she doing in a hotel with a French stranger were not few. It was the last day of the summer though and Ariadne could not reject this miraculous event, she wanted to live her magical fairytale.

Neither of them had slept through the night, they were both exhausted by this 6 hour trip, they were carrying around heavy bags in the crowded subway of Athens, but they were still psyched about tango dancing for the rest of the night. They explored the tiny streets of Monastiraki. The smell of evening primrose was hovering in the air but also the smell of different local dishes when they were walking next to traditional restaurants. And then they found the street. It was small and surrounded by Ivy in both the right and the left wall. A bit further there was a small balcony with metal enclosure, a bit rusted from the years that had passed by them. On the balcony you could distinguish the figure of a striking chair. Ariadne could easily picture the image of a young mother putting her baby to sleep on that rocking chair and singing lullabies to it.

Serge set up his small iPod with some portable speakers, loud enough for them to dance; but not too loud. His arms were strong, “Tango is all about leadership,” he told her. And he was, he really was the leader and she followed. He covered her eyes with a blindfold and told her that all she had to do was to trust him, to let him move her body, to let him be in control; so she let him. She let him move her around and throw her back and lift her legs up while still keeping them tight to his body. His arms were strong and no matter how many times he lifted her up she wasn’t scared, she was having fun, she was laughing, she was admiring his passion. They were dancing for two hours until they run out of breath. They were sweaty and tired but they were so attractive like that, two travellers, a dancer with his student, two young people with chemistry amongst them, two people attracted to each other.

When the music was over the magic was completed. Serge let Ariadne slide back and told her to stretch her legs on the front so that she would fall further down and he would be the only one holding her weight. When she did that she opened her eyes and looked at the handsome muscles around his face, which didn’t seem to be struggling, and his smile. “Who is holding who?” he said and then she told him that he is holding her and that she trusted him. That was when he leaned in and kissed her plump, reddish lips. He pulled her back up and gave her another kiss. One on the lips, then one on her cheek, then one on her neck. Soft though, like cotton’s touch, and she just stood there letting him kiss her once alabaster, now tanned skin, giving him control. It was when sharply he pulled her close to his body that she grabbed the back of his hair and kissed him hard, giving him back some of the passion that he had transmitted her through the tango. When they stopped to look at each other Ariadne decided to take his hand and started dragging him around the city.

He was laughing now, he was stopping sometimes when he wanted to kiss her badly. “What is this place?” He asked her. She helped him find solid rocks to step on in order to climb and before he knew it they were up on a hill, under the starry sky, the moon was shinning on her face and her hair and then he pulled her close and danced some more with her, without the music this time. The music was the wind caressing the leafs of the trees, the crickets and their breaths synchronising, that was all they needed. It was there, under the starry sky and the bright moon, under a sycamore tree, that he softly removed her clothes and she removed his and none of them cared that they didn’t know each other because the chemistry they had was beyond all of this pointless little details. Besides, who is the one setting the societal rules? Who is the one telling us that knowing a person for a bunch of weeks makes it okay to give yourself to him whereas a person who you just met but seems to understand your passions and share your spirit is off limits?

“You are beautiful” he told her. It was unconditional, nobody had expectations, all they wanted was to make the best out of every moment they had together. When the shinny moon started to fade away and the sky became red and pink and orange all together they got dressed and left. They stopped at a 24/7 creperie and had chocolate crepes, without caring about how terrible they both looked and then he walked her and waited with her until she found a taxi. Ariadne’s eyes were glowing, she knew what it was and she didn’t want it to be anything more or anything less. For her it was pure magic and when he told her that she is never going to leave his mind and that from now on Greece is associated with her in his mind she gave him one last kiss and whispered in his ear, “don’t get burned in the fire, you have many more starry skies to sleep bellow.”

That was the last time Ariadne saw Serge, she didn’t want to ruin the magic so they agreed not to exchange any contact information. They would always keep that image intact no matter what. I am not saying that it was love on the first time or that they were crazy about each other, but the truth is that they were each other’s summer miracle and they both knew that a movie like experience like theirs doesn’t occur multiple times in a lifetime. After that day every time Ariadne would hear about France or tango Serge’s smile and sparkly eyes would come in her imagination and she would always consider him as her personal fairytale.


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