Monday, 1 March 2010

2009: A Club Odyssey pt. 11

And so they remained, united though apart; she rubbed her thin skin and looked out at the crowd, knowing she could not be seen. They began to grow a little easy within themselves, however, and both began to grow lax to things they should have seen coming, but could not. Still, she could feel that underground stream, ambling along, steady, taking its time, and sat back down for a moment.


On the floor, in the meantime, there was a drunken sense of freedom in the air; and it grew and grew as the night went on. And it did go on, past any sense of reasonable limits. He grew sharper and saw her; she was outrageous in context and he could not look away from her. She, who had been there all night luring, or at least attempting to lure, men, all by being forward and backward at the same time. It worked, of course, and while the players knew of her and regarded her as one of their own, he had never seen her before. His friend said, in passing, "She's trouble. You can't let your guard down. Shut your eyes, don't look at her. Go deaf if you can."

Not that this did very much good.

She stared down from the booth at this insolent girl and grew fearful, despite any tidy inner reassurances. This was exactly what she was afraid of; she looked away. The DJ picked up on this by osmosis.


The music could not save her. It was too much. The girl was like her, a mirror image almost. She felt sick. She wanted the place to be done, the exhaustion and longing to end. And yet the music dragged her in despite herself, like that whirlpool she had dreamt about. She knew he was there, she didn't know he was there; every man was him, no man could possibly be him. The dancers danced, the music bounced off the walls and ceiling to the floor, the bass and beats created and destroyed everything to the pulse of her own heart. She was the music, she felt, she had to give herself up to it; it was like stepping into the dark, not knowing where your foot would fall, or what it would touch. She had to be sick first before she was well, and she may as well be very sick before that wellness could possibly arrive. She left the booth with the DJ's permission, hiding herself and staying near
the wall in the shadows, as close to invisible as she could make herself be. She was noticed by the green-eyed radical, of course, and he grew a little tenser.


The music energized him as well, but in a vitalizing way. It was like the blood transfusion all over again, and he began to dance with the girl in a way that was sincere, earnest, awkward. It was not the dance he liked to do, but he was desperate to dance with this girl nevertheless. She wanted him and he was flattered; but he felt as if he was testing himself again, to see if he would withstand her attentions, her looks, the shapes she made and remade with every step. He wanted her, he wanted her, he didn't want her, he was sick with longing, it could be so easy, so incredibly easy and who would know; but then everyone was here, she was here. He knew it.

He had spited and cursed himself before for even wanting this, and now he was getting close to something and suffering for her; for them; as if this stood for everything.

The girl didn't understand the complexity of this, could not read it, and thus didn't know what to make of his ability to withstand what no other man could have withstood. She tried again.


She held her breath; this was not easy. Even looking was not easy. For once she felt nauseous, not just physically but emotionally. She was with him, whoever he was - did it matter? - and she had no way of measuring herself against this other woman. She wanted to melt into the wall; or become invisible and omnipresent and loud like the music itself. She had clear edges, but this girl was all over him, all over him without actually touching him; this she noted with some puzzlement. The curious look he gave her was like that arrow; she only hoped the arrow would miss. I have no rivals, I have no enemies, she told herself, I can create and recreate myself at will; I could be her. I once was her.

She sank to the ground, numb, sick with envy that was pointless, the sounds flying around her and cutting her like so many birds' wings.


She sang from her heart, and the DJ picked up on this song; yes, she was heartbroken, dammit. If he was here, then he should know. She was not going to hide it anymore; there was no point.

And so she danced, and he saw her dance. The girl didn't see her at first, up on the table, mouthing the words. The green-eyed radical smiled; it was as if she was throwing off a veil.

He watched and forgot the other girl; he watched as she pointed to the sky, the sea, the desolate beach, watched her mime the strength she pretended to have. She could have gone through the floor with her stamping, flown up to the ceiling with her exhortations. She was not going to just sit there, she was never going to just sit there; but being visible to him meant being visible to all, and the player saw her and grabbed her before the song was over, dragging her off without much warning nor fanfare. He watched and was astonished; his friend reassured him that she was not going to be hurt. But he doubted this. Clearly she was hurt beyond all measure.