Esperanza loved the dance. The stomp of the feet on waxed wood, spinning red lace and shrill tongue twirls.
It was the sound and the movement that captured her heart.
As a small child she would sit on the floor to feel the rhythmic foot stamp that her madre created. Lace caressed Esperanza's face as her mama spun by.
Once she was old enough, her Madre opened a large armoire and presented Esperanza with a small red flamenco dress. She slipped it over her head. The lace grazed her cheek while she pulled the dress down her neck. It cascaded around her small hips and draped perfectly at her knees.
“Mama it is beautiful!” Esperanza gushed. She leaned into her Madre and planted a moist kiss on her cheek.
“Next my child you will learn how to dance just like your own mama.” The mother had great hope for her sightless child.
Ever since Esperanza was a baby she would lie on the floor taking in every step, stomp, and spin. She wanted to be exactly like her mama.
The circus train chugged along the rails making its way from the last town towards its next stop.
Esperanza shared a train car with the rest of the flamenco dancers. They each had their own sleeping compartments. Esperanza brushed her hair as she relaxed in her sleeping room.
“100 strokes with a horse hair brush.” She thought back to when mama would insist.
The train slowed and came to an abrupt stop. Esperanza lifted the shade and pressed her ear to the window so she could listen to what was going on outside.
The window felt cool and damp on her cheek. She could hear voices yelling chaotically. Something about a cow on the tracks.
A knock sounded on her door. “Adelante” Esperanza replied.
A petite, young woman opened the door to Esperanza’s sleeping compartment. “Miss S” she began, “They say we have hit a cow on the tracks and we will be stopped until the animal is cleared.”
“Thank you Maria” Esperanza replied “I could only hear low voices and wondered if there was some foolishness going on outside.”
“Quite the contrary” Maria replied. “All the men have pitched in to right the situation.”
Esperanza patted the bench next to her. “Maria, please join me in a nightcap. I can also braid your hair before you go off to sleep.”
“I would love that Miss S I have a new pair of castanets that must be fastened together. I will get them now.”
Maria was gone only a few minutes before she returned with the four small round pieces of wood, plus the cord needed to create a pair of beautiful hand held instruments.
“Miss S you create the finest castanet knots. How about I braid your hair first as you tie my castanets together. “
“I would like that Maria.”
As Esperanza held out her hand to receive the pieces, the train suddenly jerked forward to continue their journey.