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Tiembla la Tierra

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Outside the dance hall, Buster wanders, another traveler fleeing his past. He remembers playing for Scarlet, songs that spoke of a doomed romance that had torn Buster’s heart to pieces. The city had echoed with her memory and driven him south. Now he found himself here, once again entranced by a woman’s voice.

Tiembla la tierra,” crooned La Llorona.

He enters the café. The woman’s husky voice was hesitant at first, as if not accustomed to singing unaccompanied. Across the hall, their eyes lock, and she smiles, indicating the worn piano beside her.

Who was he to deny her?

He crosses the small café in an instant, putting his hands to the keys of the half-broken piano, and joins her melody. Buster was accustomed to music played for romance, but this, this was entirely different. This music was seduction, heat, desire. He could lose himself in that, at least for a moment. It was better than wandering alone.

No te asustes, algo va pasar,” she sings, not to Buster, but to a woman behind him.

Turning to follow her gaze, Buster sees they were not alone in the café. A woman in pink dances. She twirls, lost to the music, her smile dazzling. Every man in the café seems drawn to her. Buster smiles, half to himself, and returns to his keys.

His fingers move as if entranced. The woman in pink approaches the piano, tossed from one man to another across the worn wood of the instrument. For a moment, her eyes met his, challenging him to join the dance. He considers it before smiling and shaking his head. No, not today. There would be other days, other moments. Somehow, he was sure of that.  

The music reaches a crescendo. Then, all at once, La Llorona’s voice ends. Buster quickly stills his hands. A new Traveler enters the café, dusty from the road. The woman in pink leaves her men, leaves the piano, to join the Traveler in a brief dance.

For one beautiful moment, Buster sees the connections between them. His music joins a duet with La Llorona, yes, but La Llorona has called the Traveler. And the woman in pink, she calls to those that stay. Each of them is an instrument brought together. La Llorona commands them all.

The song ends. The Traveler departs. La Llorona joins the woman in pink at her table, shooing the men away.

Buster plays on.