India, though, was sympathetic to the simpler mode of dress, even though she was well into her forties. I once asked her why, even in Buenos Aires, one sees so few women who take the trouble to dress for tango the way she did. She nodded and sighed.
"It's the economic situation in my country. It's always bad. The government. Corruption. So women there don't have the money to dress up like a two-bit tart." She smiled and lay a hand on my shoulder. "The way I do," she said.
India was five inches taller than Federico in her stocking feet. So, with heels she was seven or sometimes eight inches taller than he. She did not slouch when she danced with him. They looked like a pine tree dancing with a shrub. She appeared to love Federico as though there were no other lover in the world.
One evening I was cadging some cheese from the kitchen of a milonga in New York, sneaking around in the refrigerator. I'd found a little bread, some gouda, and a knife, and I was happy.
As I turned to return to the milonga, I saw India leaning in the kitchen doorway crying. She resembled - this evening - Ida Lupino in sunglasses
"India," I said. "¿Qué pasó?"
She looked up at me and I could see tears running down her face, melting pearls covering her cheeks with silvery light.
"Oh, it's just that ..."
She looked away. I found a roll of industrial paper tissue on the sink.
Tearing off a square of it, I approached her.
"It's just that Honey Bun doesn't love me any more," India said, taking the tissue from me.
I would not have equated Federico with the notion of being a honey bun. Glancing out to the dance floor, I saw that Federico was dancing with a portly blonde woman. Ada Falcón's voice floated through the kitchen. Tu cariño me enloquece. Driven mad by affection. The middle finger of the blonde's left hand was caressing the back of Federico's neck.
India sat down on a wooden chair and leaned forward, her elbows on her knees, her lower legs splayed out to the sides. She placed a hand on the back of her neck and grimaced. I felt she was on the verge of explaining some sort of secret to me, an internal solitude of some kind that would explain how she could give herself over so completely to such sadness.