This piece is completely organic in nature, in the fact that I wrote this tonight while listening to a single song for inspiration. Take Shelter: By Years and Years I had no idea where it would go, or how long it would be, I let the music guide my judgment and produce this piece.
The music pumped through the speakers in a steady pace, the writhing bodies of my peers swarmed about me. Wrapped in a blanket of sound and human flesh I had never felt so free so at peace with myself. Life had never been the best, but it only got worse when I came out as being Gay. My parents, not overly religious, still did not understand it completely, but I am relieved that they were at least trying. They loved me, loved their daughter and perhaps on some level they knew this was the truth of who I truly was before I did?
I was never “Typical” though in this day and age who could even call themselves that and not be a hypocrite?
A hand soft, gentle and bold roamed from my back, up along my shoulder down my arm until the fingers intertwine with my own. Heat, even in the already muggy and near stifling atmosphere of the club, pressed into my back. Sweet perfume wafted forth as the slender arms of the woman moved her body against my own. Bass, heavy and pounding, nearly drowned out by the beating of my own heart as it raced in my chest from the sudden and unexpected encounter. The number of times that I had come to this club could be counted on one hand. Nervous and ever unsure, I often spent the night alone. Just me, my bottled up emotions and the music. It was here that I felt free and often times, it was only through the music and the dance that I could even begin to feel like I was normal.
And not the freak that the small town made me feel. To be.
Even as her breath tickled the back of my neck I could not shake the disappointing looks that had been thrown in my direction by my grandparents. Old and set in their ways. I was not what they wanted in a granddaughter. Not what they expected.
"What about babies?”
My nana had asked me.
"You can’t have babies if you’re with another woman. It’s not what God intended when he made us.”
The faith that I had been raised in cast on me like a net of guilt and sin. Yet, if God made everything and everyone then he made me like this too. He made me who I am and how I am. If that is true, then how could it be a sin?
My thoughts interrupted when her hand is on my hip, her body in perfect sync to my own and I think I am in love. A silly notion, for sure but the notion is there none the less and with how hard my heart is beating I can only speculate this is what love was meant to feel like. The sensation of butterflies, as they danced and tumbled within the confines of my stomach. Nervous and hopeful all in the same breath, I only that right now, even if this is not love I don’t want to forget this feeling.
The hand on my hip moves, more like glides around and soon I am faced with the mysterious woman. The object of my unspoken love and desires is there before me and my breath is stolen. Nothing special and nothing like how the media seems to want to portray other likes me. The dark hair hangs down in a thick mass of loose curls that she ever so casually pushes back with one hand. Face, at the moment, is cast down to the side, her bottom lip tucked between her teeth in a soft nibble as if she strained to hear more of the music. To hear each and every single note, with a silent urgency that I understand all too much.
When she finally raises her face to my own and our eyes meet, I swoon. In the dim lights of the club, I struggle to make out her eye color, though I hardly care. To me, they sparkle with some inner magic and hold my gaze without so much as the slightest arch of her brow. Our body roll and sway in time to one another, the contact brief but no less stimulating.
Like every dream I had ever dreamt, this moment was more than words could put together and as the music built toward the end of the song I did not want it to end. Did not want for the dance to stop. Did not want to lose this singular moment of utter contentment. Yet, this was not to be. All good things do come to an end and it was the same for this moment as well. The music faded out until it finally stopped and our bodies responded in accord. Though, I was pleased to note that her hand stayed there on my hip and she lingered close to me. Even took the step to lean into my space and whisper in my ear if I wanted to get some air with her. A nod is all that I can manage and her hand slips into mine, so that she could part the crowd and pull me along toward the door.
Outside, the change in temperature is a mixture of refreshing and shocking. After being in the heated and rather humid atmosphere of the darkened interior of the club I am slightly chilled. It must have been evident with how I hugged myself and subconsciously rubbed my arms to warm them, for she removed the hoodie that had been tied about her waist and offered it to me.
Brown. Her eyes were a simple and warm brown as she smiled to me with the offered bit of clothing that I slowly took with a nod of appreciation. Words are not spoken after that, though as I slip the warm material over my shoulders I am greeted with her scent and I cannot help but feel a strange sense of comfort from it. In silence, we stand together and it wraps about us like a blanket and the rest of the world just seems to fade from existence. We are here, just the two of us, alone and it is perfect to me. So in tuned to this moment that when she turns to face me I feel my cheeks redden with a sudden warmth and I find my mother desperately dry.
“It’s getting late and I have to get home to be able to work in the morning…” there is an unspoken but on her lips as she reaches for my hand and pulls a pen from her back pocket. “When you get the chance, or even just feel like it, give me a call.” The black ballpoint bic pen tickled along my forearm, but I manage to keep it still while she scrawled out her information. An almost archaic form of information exchange when at that very moment I had an almost $600 smart device in my pocket. Do I say as much to her? Of course not. Like some magical fairytale spell, I am hypnotized by her every move.
“See you around,” she said to me with a wink.
Just as she starts to walk away from me I remember I’d not once given her my name. “Wait!” I call out, my voice far too loud to me at this most important moment. She turns, the dark locks obscuring her face for a moment though she managed with what appears to be practiced ease remove them without must huff. "You don’t even know my name…”
A span of a heartbeat at most passes between us and then she smiles. It is so knowing and devious in nature that my heart races anew. “I’ll remember you.” Then she was off again on her own journey home and I was left there to stare in her wake for a bit longer, then I too made the trip back to my empty apartment.
As the train bounced two and fro, I stared down at the name and number scribbled on my arm and smiled to myself.
Imani. Her name is Imani.