I don’t see anything, my eyes are closed to the world but senses ignited. Base is dropping but my heart is rising. The air holds the thick smell of smoke, sweat and cheap perfume. But I guess that’s why I keep coming back to this dirty place. Sure the old tiled floor is covered in scuff marks and spilled beer but it’s what makes this place a good place to unwind. No one cares about how your day is going or what your daily problem is. They only care if you’re having a good time and they make sure of it.
I’m dancing with my best friend Amanda. As always she’s the center of attention in this old run down club. Red silk dress is a shining beacon to any male within a twenty five feet radius and she knew it. Her superpower is the ability to wear four inch pumps and still be able to dance like she’s on the clouds of heaven. She’s the polar opposite of me but I guess that’s just how we work.
Me? Well I’m the one beside Amanda in the cliché black dress that comes to my knees with a casual heel that doesn’t scream “TAKE ME HOME” like every other carefree girl in this place. I feel a hand grab my arm and pull me to the center of the floor. Amanda’s ruby red nails pinch my arm as she tries to keep me from thinking about the problems I’ve adopted. It’s amazing how she knows I’m thinking when I shouldn’t be.
So I let lose a little bit. I dance, have a beer and just relax for a few moments. After a couple songs I decide that my heels are waging a war between my toes so I go and sit down in one of the booths that have become a custom to so many mystery stains I rather not think about. Bodies are all over the room, laughing as they sing off key to the newest hits of the 21st century.
The place is full of needy females fresh out of college or out of the latest lecture and are in need of a distraction or get away and the males are more than willing. I sit there in the mystery stained booth as I try and imagine everyone’s lives. The blond near the DJ who wore a dress two sizes too small and make up too thick who is clearly trying too hard to get his number. Maybe she is having boyfriend troubles? Or it could be possible that she’s questioning her sexuality? I quickly shake my head to try and not think about her problems. I don’t even know her! I do that a lot, more and more recently.
I scan the room and smile as I see Amanda has finally decided to come over with some fresh drinks. She gracefully sits beside me, crossing her legs at the knee showing off her legs like she always does. I take my cold drink, too strong as she always instructs the bartender make my drinks. Why does she always think in order to have fun you need to look a certain way and get smashed out of your mind? She sighs and smiles at me as she gulps down the drink which is probably all vodka knowing her. “So,” she finally decides to speak, “Why aren’t you dancing? You love this place and I even paid the DJ to put on your song. It has to be something big so spill.” She was watching me as she spoke, I was watching my hands. Studying them like I never saw them before. Small scars cover my fingers. Little burn marks on my left hand from a camp fire two years ago with Peter, Jack, Thomas and Marcus. I can still hear the country music blasting as we drunkenly danced and sang along to every Tim McGraw song. Other scars hold memories too, but not as important. The memory always makes me smile.
I finally spoke after taking another swig of the overly strong mystery drink she got me. “Just trying to figure my stuff out. Work has been busting my *** daily over the kids and who’s going where. Plus Jack isn’t doing so well with his girlfriend.” I shake my head as I speak and look over at her, swirling the half melted ice in my drink. “He called me last night drunk and crying. Apparently he thinks she’s cheating or something. I didn’t get much sleep.” It’s why I never get any sleep.
Amanda just sighs and downs the rest of the drink “Honey.” She fixes her bleach blond hair and reaches into her bag for a smoke, she lights it effortlessly and takes a long pull. “Your problem is that you care too much, but it’s also the best thing about you but it’s not good for you to worry!” I can only nod, I knew she was right. I just can’t stand it when people are in pain. She watches me and passes me the cigarette. Peter would kill me if he found out I smoked sometimes when the stress gets too much. I take a long drag and feel the heat and poison fill my lungs and slowly leave my body. Somehow something deadly can feel so good.
She watches me take a few puffs before taking it back and finishing it off. She was right, she was always right about me. I do worry about people too much but it’s just who I am. She stands and rests her hand on the table for balance. She smiles and scans the room “How much you wanna bet I can get Mr. Blond over there near the bar to buy us a round of drinks and some of those mozza sticks you love so much.” I could only laugh. She always knew how to brush away my worries. I needed Amanda for that.
I dig into my purse and pull out my hidden stash of smokes. Laying three on the table. “Three smokes and a dance.” She lights right up at my comment. I knew within that moment she knew I would be ok. “Keep the smokes and give me three dances and we got a deal!” She spun around like a little girl who just got a new tutu and went to the bar.
Five minutes later she comes back with a plate of my mozza sticks and a couple shots. So we laugh at old memoires. All the good times from high school and college flings. We talked about old boyfriends and professors who flirted too much with their students. We studied the room and I didn’t see people who needed help or needed ‘fixing’. I saw people enjoying themselves and living life. Amanda finally took my hand and pulled me to the dancefloor. And with each step, every second, every word I sang at the top of my lungs. My troubles, my worries; disappeared with every care free moment. And just like that, I finally became myself. I wasn’t someone’s helper, sister or therapist at that moment. Just a girl dancing in a bar full of smoke and spilled beer on the floor.