Friday 16 January 2015

Party Ache

By Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga

Neon lights sweep across my chest as if scanning it, looking for a culprit. The culprit is my heart. I shouldn’t have come here.


A hand holds me back. It belongs to a god. Hair shining with each glare of the strobe lights, carelessly ruffled so that my hands itch to smooth it, eyes like searchlights, penetrating copper. Beyond the grey jacket and worn jeans, his skin radiates heat, heat I cling to my chilled heart, throbbing dully as it thaws. Thawing hurts.

I turn towards him and smile. “Where’s the bathroom?”

He smiles amusedly. “Just round the corner over that-a-way.” He points then nods. “I’ll be over with the others. I’ve shown you where they are, right?”

I resist the urge to ask if he should be coming with me to make sure I find the bathroom alright. If he didn’t think about it, I figure, then it’s not that big a deal to him. Me that is. “Yeah, I’ll find you.”

I watch him leave – he doesn’t even look back – and slink along the walls to avoid the writhing mass of flesh in the centre. It’s like looking into the mind of an acid tripper: a big bulge of jelly flashing in different colours steadily obstructs my view of anything else. Once it’s the only thing I see, I lean against the wall and close my eyes. What I receive is a massage, or a synching of sorts. Each surface pounds to match my chest. Ground and wall, we all become one in a restless, desperate beat.

“Wanna dance?”

I open my eyes and raise an eyebrow. Greasy hair and a twitching smile point to sleaze central. “I’m not buying it,” I say out loud.

“What?” He leans towards me and his smile widens. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Can you say it in my ear?”

I push him away and plunge into the mass. Immediately it engulfs me in its embrace, drowning me in sound and substance. My breath becomes shallow. How much oxygen is there in here? I push and Newton’s third law shoves me back. I’m stuck. My lungs deflate, throat clenches up. Maybe I’ll die here and he wouldn’t care. I let my eyes close again. Would he care? I let my body go slack. I dare you…

Arms go under my armpits and drag me out of the melee. As they retreat, my body slides down the wall. Sitting now, I open my eyes again.

“Are you okay?” Sleaze central is still smiling. The corners of his mouth twitch uncontrollably now. His palm is poised to touch my forehead. “You running a fever?”

Slapping his hand away, I storm off, until I’m sure I’m hidden again, back to being the wall and ground of the nightclub. My chest shakes. Ha, I think. This is ridiculous. I stare at the bulging body of people, at the colours that both conceal and illuminate them. They’re all desperate. It’s more obvious here, though it’s dark enough to hide it.


Sleaze central looks deranged. That twitch makes me want to slap it off his face, but then I finally notice it.

“Um,” he runs his hand through his hair. “Sorry if I offended you. I just…I really want to dance with someone tonight and you looked available so I…I’m sorry if I came on too strong.”

Those eyes are the same, I realize. I should have noticed them before, seen how hungry they were, how fixated. They’re my eyes, wide and pleading. Tears well up. It’s not fair, I think. I swallow them back.

“First of all,” I shout so he can hear me. “I dance solo.” His face falls and he stares at the ground. “But for you, I’ll make an exception tonight.” He raises his face, questioning what he just heard. I grab his hands. “No groping, thrusting, or any physical contact outside of my hands.” I look him straight in the eye. “Deal?”

His eyes widen and I let go, letting my body take the reins of motion. The pounding ground lifts me up, carries me onto the melody’s track. I let go and close my eyes for a moment, without caring for whether or not I look ridiculous. The beat reverberates through my bones, so that my whole body pounds to the beat of my heart, that desperate aching heart. If I dance enough, maybe everything will ache and I won’t be able to tell the difference, and it won’t matter. Opening my eyes again, I notice sleaze central is gone. Maybe he’s realized it too: that we don’t need this, this begging for someone to feed us. For now, we just need ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written, loved the imagery. You have a way of doing descriptions that i really haven't mastered yet but hope to someday. I loved the ending too. Thumbs up.


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