A Study in Scenery

The club is packed, and the crowd is slowly transforming. The Friday night 9-to-5ers are leaving, finishing their week, and the dedicated party nuts are heading out to start their weekend; two different worlds crossing in the common space of the music and drink. I’m not sure what I’m doing here, and soon I will be out of place, the business shirt and formal pants an odditity instead of the standard. But she’s here. It’s always about a girl.

She is dancing, lost alone in the music. You can see her across the floor because she wears a white halter and skirt, bright white that draws in the dim light of the club and amplifies it. She throws all her energy into the dance, dark hair flying as she performs for herself, or perhaps for those around her. It’s all the same, because she has her eyes closed, and the small smile on her lips shows she is immersed. The drink disappears down my throat and I untuck the shirt, instantly dropping the formality. Perhaps I can pass for an overdressed student.
Her eyes open and she spots me. The smile turns into a grin, and she keeps eye contact, dancing out the song. I’m fixed to the spot. I turn around and order for us, her timing perfect as I turn back to hand it to her.

“You’re late,” she says, leaning in close to be heard over the music.

“I know,” I return, feeling the softness of her cheek, her hair. In the club, under the loud music, such intimacy is standard, even necessary.

“How long?” she says, sipping.

“One drink,” I reply, clipped sentences enforced by the music, its beat rising to a creschendo.

“No fair!” she shouts, barely audible, pouting. She finishes the drink in one long swallow, and races back to the dancefloor. It’ll have to be one set.

* * * *
Outside, it is late summer. She sits on my bed in shorts, short, powder blue, and t-shirt, babydoll, powder pink, hunched over a laptop. I’m at my desk in sweat pants and a college shirt, on my own laptop. Hers controls the music right now, always on for us both, music freaks, on the wireless speakers throughout the apartment. Studio-style, two bedrooms, huge loungeroom, great views, far from bargin basement. I pay for most of it.

I look up, watching her for a minute or so.

“Didn’t you just play this?” I say; I can swear this song has either been looping in my imagination or she really is playing it over and over.

“Yeah.” she says, distracted, not looking up.

“Isn’t this…?”

“Yep.” She looks up, locks eyes.

“Good Song.”

“4th time in a row, actually,” she says, distractedly, looking back at her laptop, intent on the screen. I consider the words once again.

“It’s not…”

She looks at me with a simple stare, carrying plenty of meaning. It says Don’t you dare say it. I heed it.

“I’m just…”

She looks up again, this time with her patient look. I call it the school teacher look. She’s waiting for me to say it so she can wrap it up carefully and throw it out.

“… Never mind.” I finish lamely. She’ll do great as a teacher next year, I think. The song changes.


The clock ticks across 2 am. Life keeps going, both much too long and much too short.

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