“What are you drinking?” They ask.
I look down at the whiskey and water clasped in my palm. People chatter all around us as bartenders clatter metal, ice, and booze.
“Life,” I say. I can’t stop grinning. They smile back.
I can tell Maria doesn’t understand what I mean. It’s understandable because I barely understand what I mean.
“What are you drinking?” Maria asks again.
“I’m drinking life.” I say. I raise my glass up high and stare past it. Maria and Josephina look up with me.
“What does that mean?” Josephina asks. The two girls glance at each other.
“It means life tastes good.” I say.
I pop a grape sucker in my mouth and walk away. Existential nonsense is one of my favorite nighttime festivities when I can’t stop grinning.
I walk towards the dance floor. Off to the side I see a lone beauty. I should talk to her before a man returns.
I lean towards her as I walk past.
“Stay beautiful,” I say. I walk away.
A file of girls walk through the dance floor in my direction towards the bar.
“Stay beautiful,” I say to one.
She frowns at me like I’m some kind of shit stain. It hurts my feelings so I divert my attention to another. I see a blonde haired beauty walking my way. She looks at me and smiles. Is that smile meant for me? I hope so.
“Stay beautiful,” I say. She brightens and tosses a flurry of wavy lightning behind her ear.
“Thank you,” she says.
“No… thank you.” I say.
“For what?” she asks.
“For staying beautiful.” I walk away and I think I hear her say something else. But it’s too late. There’s no turning back.
I see my friends at the dance floor towards the stage. Jazz handfuls of neon tunnels gyrate above our heads as thick bass beats bump to our bums. There are groups of people to meet before I can reach the people I know.
“Happy Birthday!” I yell to the girl dancing next to me.
“It’s not my birthday,” she says.
A sad cloud rolls over me.
“Every day should be your birthday,” I say.
“What’s your name?” I ask.
“Molly,” she says. “What’s your name?”
“Sick Denim,” I say.
I wait a moment to see if she judges me for my strange name. She starts to laugh.
“The illest!” she yells.
I love her.
“Hey, I have to go now but you’ll dance with me later,” I say.
“Haha, ok,” she says.
“Bye, don’t get lost,” I say.
I get to the crowd of my familiars. Immediately, 6 foot 5 Tony bear hugs me and lifts me up into the air while he dances. My legs dangle in the air while I momentarily consider using one to kick him in the nuts. Last time he tried this, he lost balance and we both fell. I wait till he puts me back down. I go behind him and pick him up. He’s only an inch off the ground but now we’re even.
We all dance our faces off. Using our booties to touch the universe. Eyes closed and fists pumped in earnestness. Dancing, creating circles that include everyone willing. Doesn’t matter if you can dance or not.
“It’s about the motherfucking lifestyle,” I yell.
“Fuck yea!” someone yells.
As if he knew what I was thinking, Tony backs up. Together we spread people out into a circle by pressing into those behind us. I point to a coffee skinned girl in a sparkling black dress and wave her towards the center. She obliges and dances a trail to the party nucleus. Oh wait! I know her. That’s Molly.
I watch her dance. Her dark curls fan out and absorb the darkness around her. Sweat glistens her neck as she twirls, her almond shaped eyes momentarily release me as she twists around to meet mine again. Someone pushes me from behind and now I’m in the center with her. I’m scared. I’m not ready to…
I pop and lock. Dance moves that are available to me only when I can’t stop grinning.
“I like your dance moves.” She shouts.
“I like your face,” I say.
The dance circle closes in around us. Now I’m dancing with her and her friends. But I have this sense that I’m losing her so I brush my fingertips against her side every now and then to let her know I’m still there. She occasionally looks back over her shoulder to smile.