It was summer of 2000 something.

I can still hear the sounds of that steamy July night: boom thump boom— boomboomboom. thump boom thump thumpthumpthump.

I made my way to the bathroom in the middle of that song. The reverberations shook the stall, my chest thumping to it in time, a deep sigh escaping my wet lips. I sat with jean shorts pulled down to ankles, my polka dot thong resting within them, heels raised with stiletto grace, elbows perched on lifted knees and a wad of toilet paper rolled up in my right hand. No one was waiting for me to dance, I was there alone. 

Or so I thought.

As soon as I returned to the song, she wrapped her arms around me and felt the skin beneath my shirt with gentle fingertips. Eyes looked up to mine and lips parted with a sweetness yet discovered. I spun her around and could have kissed her right there — it would have been alright. She was asking me with her eyes and lips and her subtle lean into my body. 

I wonder what would have happened if I did. If I let myself go and the drunkenness of being needed and wanting love could just overtake me and allow myself to lock lips

with—

‘What’s your name?’ she asked of me, prompting me to ask the same of her —

‘Kelly.’

Her friend danced closely nearby, keeping an eye on our hands and lips.

A man with a lovely beard and dreads and bleached white jeans told me an hour earlier: ‘I like your hair,’ walking past me to go dance with another. I had smiled and said, ‘thank you,’ and continue to sip my Tito’s and seltzer, sitting alone in the back of the room, watching the blackness and whiteness of bodies move and the faces laugh and the energy rise with every track from the hip hop DJ.

Now, he placed his arm possessively around my hips and pulled me away from her, telling: ‘give me your number.’ Because a moment of locked eyes and a shared smile and a single compliment must mean there was a connection, a reason to demand.  I assure you there certainly was not.

Kelly looked alarmed, thinking I was hers in those moments in the heat of the dance floor. I stroked this man’s beard softly and said,  ‘oh, I am sorry’ (not)

but ‘no

you cannot,

go and enjoy the rest of your night.’

Disappointment shook the walls as the man and the woman possessed me and I resolutely walked away.

I walked away from the dark club basement, leaving that Kelly and the hip hop DJ and the Tito and seltzers and the man with the dreads, the bleached jeans and started the slow walk home. I walked away to be outside in the night because I couldn’t bear the thought of getting into a cab and driving much too quickly to an apartment that still didn’t seem to belong to me.

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