The music could be felt meters before the entrance. He could sense a solid but invisible barrier before the club. He looked back in temptation. Should he go back? He thought. He blinked twice, took a long breath and stepped through the intangible door and descended into the seven hells.
The heat, the beats and the noise of hundreds of people talking hit him like a sledgehammer. His senses failed temporarily. It took him a couple of seconds to recover and understand where he was. Hell, this is hell, he told himself.
Bodies, pearled with sweat, all cramped together, moved to the beat of the drum. He slowly made his way through the crowd. The mass pressed him from all sides. Faces came and go. He kept on going, willing his body through this sea of synchronized souls.
The music rebounded in his ears. It was as if there was an impenetrable barrier that prevented the rhythm from coming inside his brain. He needed a drink if he was to stay. He needed to blend, to let the chaos in.
“What are you drinking mate?” said the waiter.
Between the thick accent and the noise, it took him a couple of seconds to respond. He could still feel confused and disoriented.
“Vodka lemon, please.”
He turned around to get his bearings. The club was bigger than he first thought. Every inch was crowded with people. Even the VIP tables were overflowing with dancing bodies. It seemed the club was visited by the city elite. The thought of the difference in wealth between this place and the close by neighborhoods made him feel a little uncomfortable.
He pushed this thought to the back of his mind and took a sip of his drink. God, it felt good. He could feel the mix of fire and freshness descend into his stomach. Relaxing still came hard for him, but he imagined the effects of the alcohol calming him already.
He squeezed himself back to the group. He wasn’t there alone. He was meeting several acquittances, but none of them mattered to him. He wanted to disconnect. The music started seeping. His feet started moving. He knew this feeling all too well.
Despite the initial shock, he knew he would enjoy the place. Music was second nature to him. Once it penetrated his mind, the body would take over.
With each beat, the poison went deeper and deeper. The rhythm started clotting his arteries, pulsing inside him, taking over his feet, then his arms. Spreading fast, like a wildfire.
The DJ, sensing the mood, speeded up the melody. The sound started spinning faster, stronger. The beat hit the crowd like a tsunami. It swept the dance floor like an invisible tide. What seconds before had been a disjointed group of people, suddenly became a single organism pulsing with perfect synchrony.
Unable to hold back, he let go and got lost in that sea of bodies. He didn’t hear the noise anymore; he couldn’t feel the heat or the bodies next to him. Only the music existed.
At that moment a girl moved closer to him and stared intently at his face. She had already given in to the beat and her hips moved like coiled cobras, inviting, tempting. He knew what she wanted. Her body, eyes, and smile told him all he needed to know. He smiled back.
He didn’t want anything to happen, but they both lingered there, in that undefined space between complete strangers and unchecked passion. The moment lasted a few seconds, but it felt like hours. Thoughts, experiences, and promises passed through his mind. It felt unreal.
The tune changed, the DJ was letting them recover. That was enough to shatter the spell. He smiled again at the girl and walked away. He didn’t need to add more complications to his life. Even the thought of it strained his mind. He went looking for the waiter. He was already feeling the alcohol clouding his mind, but he could take one more. Then he saw her.
It couldn’t be. He looked again but couldn’t find that face again. It had to be his mind playing tricks on him. How long had it been? Two years? Maybe three? He must be tipsy and imagining things. He kept walking, but he couldn’t shake the feeling, as absurd as it was, that she was in here, somewhere.
As he pushed through, feeling the bodies dancing all around him, he stared intently at their faces. Too tall, too short. A man, a brunette, wrong eyes.
Exhausted and disoriented he bumped into the waiter. This was madness. He could feel it shimmering under the surface. He closed his eyes and calmed himself. It was a mirage, all fiction, games his tired mind played on him.
As he was ordering the last drink, he saw that face again. This time it didn’t disappear. Her eyes, scanning the crowd, stopped at him.
What was thought to be lost, unraveled in his mind at lightning speed. Memories, both painful and pleasant, overwhelmed his brain. How could it be?
Her eyes grew with recognition. Her face drew a smile, one he knew all too well. There was no need for words.
I am here, I see you, I’ve always been here, and we both know it.
And he drowned and drowned and drowned.
His mind came to a halt. Frozen in mid-thought. He fought two conflicting forces rising in him from the depths of his core. Like two raging snakes, they bit at each other, trying to gather the upper hand.
One of them took the form of a massive wave of fear, paralyzing every fiber of his body. The other was Rage. Intense and scorching rage. Both Titans wrestled for control.
Meanwhile, the world unfroze, the waiter called, the music restarted, people moved, and just like that, she was gone again.
He stood there, nothing else to do. Looking empty, disoriented and trashed. He knew he wouldn’t find her again. She did what she did best. Coming into his reality, briefly, like the velvet touch of a butterfly. But like the proverbial butterfly, a small flapping of her wings trigger heavy winds within his mind.
He wondered and wondered. There was nothing else to do. The beats called to him. They reclaimed his soul, but the music’s poison had been siphoned out, drained by force.
With nothing left inside him, he turned around and walked out of the club, never to look back. No regrets, no thoughts. Just life.