The new me is patient and calm. Not even a little deranged or hysterical. Gone is the woman who’d scream Toni-I’m-gonna-crack-your-head-on-the-floor when my husband left the handles of the dessert spoons unwashed. Before, way before, I was the kind of person who didn’t understand the importance of doshas, who ate white flour, had destructive thoughts and drank coffee.
My life changed when I worked up the courage to leave Toni and joined the Biodanza class where I met Ruymán. It was being publicized on the bulletin board of the cultural center. That morning I knocked back a barraquito and started walking frantically around town, totally unhinged, more washed-out than a land crab. I felt tired and alone. My son had just moved to Madrid and stuck me with Miqui, a mutt he’d recently adopted from a shelter for senior dogs. His fur was white and shaggy, curly and dotted all over with burrs. Two days earlier, Toni and I had signed the divorce papers. My thoughts kept cycling between fear and euphoria. One second I thought I shouldn’t have gotten separated, that nobody would love me because I was bitter and ugly and had ugly hair with split ends that looked like they’d been gnawed on by a goat. The next it was like I’d lifted a dead weight I’d been carrying right in the middle of my back, like a kestrel perched on my spine.
I started Biodanza the next day. In the mirrored room of Mayte’s house – she was the woman who ran the class – that smelled of rust and saltpeter, people smiled all the time, talked slowly and made you feel like you were part of something bigger. There weren’t any gross men ripping farts or spitting on street corners. We started with a round of introductions and everyone shared how Biodanza had changed their lives. I didn’t say anything because my mind and body were still attached to my previous life. Before I started this practice, I had all these ideas in my head, said a woman of around sixty with grayish, waist-length hair. Love yourself, respect yourself, live in the moment. But it was only in my brain and once I started coming to classes, I felt it in my heart. Biodanza is a game changer when you’re ready to take charge of your life, said a younger woman in response. People even noticed at work, explained another woman with glazed eyes. My colleagues say, you’ve changed, it’s like you’re happier. Your eyes seem brighter, she finished and let her hand rest on her chest while a man who must have been her husband stroked the nape of her neck. I was scared and a little intimidated. The people in that class knew how to sit on the floor without looking like lumps of meat and to use words in a way that gave them deeper meaning. They talked about themselves as if they knew who they were, when all I knew was that I was on my own after being married for almost twenty years.
After the first Biodanza session there was the macrobiotic cooking class Marina had recommended, followed by workshops on how to shop sustainably, on self-acceptance and family constellations, then there was the one where we designed and built our own compost bin and the one on healthy family dynamics that I tried to get Toni and my son to attend but in the end went to on my own, followed by workshops in African dance, mindfulness, reiki, green fertilizers, contact improv and tantra. After two years of transition and learning, I had unlocked the new me. People trusted me. I had earned a reputation as a woman who was peaceful and knowledgeable about things like growing moringa and Bach flower remedies. That’s when Ruymán showed up. Before he came along, the only men in the group had really long hairs growing out of their ears and their noses.
Some of them smelled of cheap lavender cologne from Mercadona, and there’s no scent in the world I hate more. But then Ruymán showed up. He was chummy with me from the get-go, kept looking my way and giggling. He was tall and skinny, skinnier than a beanpole, except with a broad back. He was more or less the same age as me, forty-three to my forty-five. Big, dark hands covered in veins and hairs thick as prickles. I found him handsome, even though his head was as bald as a scorched field.
We started sleeping together after our Biodanza meetups even though I knew he was married and had two girls. Our classmates, especially Mayte, suspected there was something going on, but no one said a thing. Nearly everyone enrolled in the course practiced some form of polyamory. Well, not me, really. I only started sleeping with Ruymán after I’d given Toni the boot. Still, I believed in the freedom to love many souls at once.