Tuesday, 16 February 2010

2009: A Club Odyssey pt. 7

"Look," he said, in between mouthfuls of chocolate orange, "I can withstand a lot. We're going to go in there and do whatever we are going to do. I cannot pretend to be neutral though. Neutrality? Neutrality? Fuck that. Really - " he paused to bite and eat again, continuing, "I can reconcile almost anything, for the sake of peace. She - " he stopped short. He shook his head. "Love is not the problem here. Or maybe it is. How stupid I was sometimes! But you know damn well the only person who is more naive than me is her. I dream about her; I cannot help it; I do. There with the open box. On the floor..." he starts to cry a little; his friend rubs his shoulder. "And I know she dreams of me, I know she does. For all I know she is throwing up in a stall in that club, or some guy has her all drugged up and who knows what is happening. I have my allies there, I know, but..." "Let's go there then and get this agony over with. She could meet the richest player there and be left cold. Fact! You know it." "Oh shit, I just ate two of these" he said, throwing the second wrapper away. "I'm going to be up all night. Just as well."


And so they went. The club was small and yet elegant, exclusive without being that snobbish. There was feeling of wealth in the air, to be sure, but with that a certain anxiety, and the oppressive heat of the room is what first hit them. He could not see her, was not able to see her; it was packed and humid, restless, girls smiling at him even though, objectively, he looked like crap, his friend not really much better. "We have to go in disguise, windypants. Yeah, I know, you weren't consulted, but this is the only way. She can't know. They can't know. I know how you like your privacy."

He was determined to enjoy this, grimly so if necessary, and felt no real need to rush anything. That was one of the things that puzzled her about him, after all - his seeming passivity. How he could and indeed did just sit there and look at her sometimes, even though from her objective there were far prettier girls around. Here he could free his mind, as a student's mind will go blank before an exam, before the great outpouring. He noted the protesters coming in, wondered why they seemed to be following him and then laughed that off, all the while quietly waiting for her.


He returned with another drink. "You can have this, you can have as many as you can handle," he smiled, handing it to her, "and whatever else you want. What you have is...nice, but I can give you so much more. I can give you whatever you want."

She smiled inwardly at the irony of this, as so far as she knew he could not get her the one thing she wanted. He held up a ring. It sparkled pink and gold and blue, so dazzling it seemed to be in some separate dimension. It entranced her in spite of herself; but she shrank back and shook her head, which unfortunately only made him more determined. The drink got into her and lulled her to a dull somnolence; she took the box and the ring fell out of it, underneath her chair and on towards the wall. She slumped down, and he smiled, easing her up and carrying her off like so much wet laundry.


He woke up from his spell in an instant; the spell caused, to his shame, by a girl who was most definitely giving him the eye. He grew tired of this now, a bit contemptuous even. She was in trouble, he knew she was; but he still could not see her or figure out who to ask, even. So he got up and wondered. She said it was forever, well, here goes forever. He felt the song dance through his ears, marching him up around the stairs and towards her almost by its own will. He had to give in to the music, be like her, to find her; it really was the only way. He even began to dance a little, though it was more rhythmic walking than anything else. His friend was close by him, but not too close, patient, frowning at some men, high-fiving others.