It’s Friday night, but instead of finding herself at the bar again, she’s at a club, and she’s wearing her cherry dress. There’s a DJ who keeps the beat jumping. He’s played club mix after club mix and she’s danced her feet raw in a new pair of heels she bought (these for cheap) before the night began. She’s not a fan of the music the DJ has been playing all night, but the more she drinks the less the cares. She’s dancing alone, again, but at least this time she’s surrounded by people looking as desperate as she feels.
The mob requires some strength to get through, but her cherry dress works like Moses’ staff and parts the sea of people so she can escape to the bar. She leans against the bar, breathing heavy, as the bartender walks over. Before he can strike up a conversation she orders a fruity cocktail. She stares at her reflection in the mirror behind the bar as the bartender blends her drink. Her face is a pallid dot in the sea of colors pulsing behind her. The electric lights flashing around the club, threatening seizures, throws her face in stark contrast to the throng behind her.
The bartender comes over with her drink and leans across the bar as he slides it to her. He reaches for her hand as he goes to whisper in her ear, but she’s too quick for him. She plucks her drink from the bar, and turns and disappears into the throng sucking down her alcohol like a vampire sucking blood from a Capri-Sun pouch. She gets lost in the crowd and begins to sway with them. Her drink tastes like raspberries and leaves a bitter taste in her mouth. She has an urge to share the taste on her tongue with someone. She grabs the nearest person and turns him around. She wraps her right hand around his neck and pulls his face down to hers. She slides her tongue inside his mouth and he reciprocates surprisingly. The kiss is brief but wonderful and his dance partner is the one who pulls them apart. The look on her face is incredulous. She’s yelling obscenities at the top of her lungs, but over the DJ she can’t be heard.
She laughs and continues sipping her drink as she dances her way through the throng to the other side of the club. She extricates herself from the throng and finds herself by the restrooms. Figuring what the hell she enters the women’s restroom. The door swings shut behind her and the harsh light from the fluorescent above causes her to squint. Her eyes have adjusted to the darkness of the club behind her, and this bright light is too much to bear. She staggers to the sink and sets her cocktail down beside the sink. Her eyes have begun to adjust as she takes in her appearance in the mirror. Behind her in the middle stall are two pairs of feet. She can hear heavy panting coming from that stall. She quickly changes her mind about the bathroom, picks up her drink, and exits.
Back out in the club her eyes have to readjust. She kicks herself for having spent any time in the bathroom at all because now she can’t hardly see anything. She leans against the wall outside the bathroom for a moment as her eyes adjust. She’s not the only one leaning against the wall, she observes, and one of these others observes her and makes a bee-line straight for her. She pushes off the wall and heads toward the throng before he can accost her and force her to make small talk. She pushes her way through the throng again until she reaches the bar again. She sets her empty cocktail glass on the counter and turns to leave, but the bartender calls her back. She turns to him apprehensively and makes a show of pretending that she can’t hear him, and then disappears into the throng again.
Outside the club and on the street she breathes in the fresh night air. A taxi pulls up to the curb and two drunk couples stumble out and into the club. She watches them with distaste. She’s barely buzzed, and she never paid for a single drink; thank the bartender for small favors, no thank the dress. She climbs into the back of the cab that the couples just vacated and gives the driver her address. As he pulls away from the curb she gets a better idea and tells him to head to central park. She leans her head against the cool glass and watches the city pass by as the taxi drives. The taxi driver is an Indian man who tries to engage her in conversation a few times, but she ignores him completely. Conversation is not her forte.
The taxi pulls up to the curb at central park and she pays him what she owes, pulling the money from her bra, and gets out. She stands outside the gates of central park and simply stares into the darkness as she listens to the city thrive around her. There’s a homeless woman sitting to the right of the gate who watches her suspiciously. She ignores the woman, takes off her heels, and walks into the park. Against her better judgment she walks barefoot through the grass. She’s likely to step on shards of broken glass or a nail or something that requires a tetanus shot, but she doesn’t care. She relishes in the feeling of the grass beneath her feet, and the way it sticks between her toes. She walks to the lake in the center of the park and wades into the icy water up to her knees. A breeze skims across the surface of the lake and wraps itself around her, chilling her to the bone. She enjoys the feeling because it reminds her she’s alive. It makes the thumping of her heart seem more real than ever before.
She spends roughly half an hour at the park before starting home. Her apartment is sixteen blocks away, and instead of taking a cab (she doesn’t have enough money left), she’s resolved to walking barefoot all the way. It doesn’t bother her, she likes the thrill of walking around the city at night knowing anything could go wrong at any minute and she’d be helpless to ward off an attacker.