When she saw his profile name on the dating site she said to herself “Yes, that’s it. I am also in search of duende.” He had removed all spaces, removed all stops and made it into one word – insearchofduende. Mona craved the feeling of passion and wanted to break out of the cycle of grief and loneliness. Years earlier the thought of never feeling passion again made her feel sad but now there was nothing preventing her from doing and feeling whatever she wanted.
Mona told her friends that his profile name drew her to him and as usual made the whole encounter into one of her amusing, flippant dinner party stories. One day, after a particularly vehement argument he asked her “What do you think duende is. You said my name attracted me to you. Tell me what do you think duende is?” His disarming and direct questions always left her stumbling and she hesitatingly said something about passion and flamenco realising that she had no real understanding of the concept, only that she had wanted to feel a burning passion that would awaken her mind and body again.
Mona knew about Flamenco and duende and had even imagined the dark life force surging through her body during her flamenco class many years ago. That’s about all she knew about it – flamenco was the embodiment of duende.
According to the Spanish poet, Lorca, duende is “a force everyone feels and no philosopher had explained.’ Great ammunition to counterattack her inadequacies. She didn’t feel so stupid after all.
This mysterious force was the spirit of the earth and Lorca says that all that has dark sounds has duende”. Those dark sounds are the mystery, the roots that cling to the mire that we all know, that we all ignore, but from which comes the very substance of art.”
He was looking for the essence of the dark mysterious force that drove him and his quest for finding meaning through art. Mona’s was a search for a darker, burning passion trapped inside her. Could the dating site come across with someone who could satisfy both of them??
“Like your name – and if you find any duende on this dating site please let me know!” was the opening email starting the repartee that flew back and forth for a couple of weeks. Both of them were trying to outdo each other with life changing stories and coolness.
Mona’s initial non-interest changed into curiosity at this interesting man’s carefully worded cool responses. His profile photo didn’t knock her out. He looked like a serious young man trying a little too hard. One photo was a side angled shot looking unsmilingly into the camera with his head slightly cocked. He was dressed in black with a heavy leather jacket .In the other photo he wore a stylish coat and white shirt – still serious and unsmiling. A third was a lone man walking along a beach into a golden sunset. The mysterious character was wearing a hat and carrying a trench coat like a private detective from a 1950’s film. It all seemed very contrived but was certainly more interesting than the other dross Mona came across – “looking for a soul mate” “GSOH” “ Want to share my life with someone.”
Finally they arranged to meet and ignoring all suggestions about never having the first meeting at her house she invited him to lunch. Mona spent all morning pampering herself and tidying the house. Everything was perfect and she felt like a young woman again, heart beating in anticipation of a date with a new man. The doorbell rang and she descended the stairs and tried to quickly sum up his appearance through the screen door but the glare of the sun prevented her from seeing what he was like until she had opened the door. How to greet him a kiss, handshake? She settled on the French greeting of side kisses on the cheek -possibly seen as pretentious but he was European and would understand. He was wearing jeans and a white linen coat, and had a beard! Of course he was Slovakian. The beard looked ok as Mona was not a fan of beards on men but this v-shaped Eastern European kind suited him and was kind of sexy. Then he spoke and that smooth mellifluous voice had her hooked.
They sat outside and ate, drank and talked and sat in the sun. Everything was perfect and she was feeling relaxed but still didn’t have that old bravado of being the initiator. As the afternoon wore on the air became heavy with expectation. She offered to make him a coffee. He wandered into the kitchen and said “OK what now”. She mumbled something unnecessary. He came up to her and placed his hands on her shoulders and kissed her. There it was that feeling she had been craving, melting into a kiss whilst the rest of the world disappeared.
Mona didn’t know how to proceed so he took her and went to the bedroom, undressed her, caressed her and whispered words with his enchanting voice. She was hooked even deeper.
“You look as though a huge burden has been lifted from your shoulders” he said as they lay on the bed.
Was it a dark mysterious force that had overcome her. It felt more like a life affirming spirit had entered her body. She naively thought it was love at first sight but maybe it was the spirit of duende.
Mona smiled and kissed him.