I dragged into the hotel lobby with my performance group Director after our more than four hour flight delay and paying triple the cost of a cab ride because transit was closed. There were no smiles on our faces and everyone could tell we were exhausted. A smile found the way to my Director's face when this thin-framed man walked up to her and spoke softly in Spanish while hugging her with a bear hug of an old friend.
He turned to me and asked my name. She introduced me and he immediately took my hand, looked me in the eyes, said what a pleasure it was to meet me and kissed my hand. (All in Spanish, of course). I returned the kind greeting in English and he asked my friend/Director if I spoke Spanish. She assured him I could understand him and he continued our conversation in Spanish as I returned his answers in English. He said he would talk to us over the weekend as we dragged ourselves to our room.
I had many interactions with him over the weekend. Every time he saw me he kissed my hand and told me what a delight it was to see me (All in Spanish, to this day I never heard him speak English). As I mentioned in my previous post I was sick most of the weekend so I missed his class on Rumba but got a lesson in the roots of Salsa and how most instructors are not teaching it properly in the U.S. over breakfast that Saturday morning.
I am always told I have an old soul and my spirit connects with people. I wondered why he was drawn to me in my group of 6 ladies, many of which he had met years before. I can only say that old spirits connected like they had known each other for years. Maybe they have known each other way beyond anything we can comprehend in this lifetime.
I received the news through the Salsa connection that he recently died. I had no idea he was sick when I met him in San Francisco. I had no idea that chance meeting with him would be my one and only interaction with a man who touched the dance world way beyond the Rumba/Afro-Cuban/Salsa teacher I knew. My description of him in this tiny post in my small blog does not come close to touching the tip of what a gift he was the dance community.
I do believe that everything happens for a reason. Our spirits met again in this world and I am looking forward to being lucky enough to meet him again in the next. The dance world has suffered a great loss but I smile every time I think of him kissing my hand and saying what a pleasure it was to meet me.
It was a great pleasure to meet you as well, Pupy. Rest in Peace my friend.
Until Next Time,
Peace & Blessings...