A short story about drinking, dancing, and the oh so great millennial life.
Why? I wondered.
You hate this, loathed this, can’t stand this, so why? It asked.
Loud music pulsated against my chest the way gorillas beat their bodies. Indistinguishable noises blared from the speakers. Heat hovered in the air from all the sweat and breath below.
The bar was a jungle of sorts. Shadowy figures lingered somewhere in the distance hidden by darkness. A hot sweat clung to wiggling bodies. It was a humid place, a place with swirling green and yellow lights that splashed color onto black walls. The DJ’s voice crackled over the mic; his words struck a cord that sent the crowd screaming raising their hands to the ceiling. Wrist watches, thick gold bangles, clear plastic cup with vodka filled the air. Liquid splashed on my shoulders and shoes. A women in a white halter top rubbed her hips on a man’s crotch I waited for an opening and squeezed past. A woman with bright red lips humped a woman’s behind like a dog. A crowd of men stared at the pair.
It was a dance floor for animal urges, for people lured into motion to release frustration. A thrust here, a swaying hip there. In here the future was something simple, it was the second that followed a moment but I was desperate to escape.
Why do you come here? My brain asked.
We go through this argument every time I go out with my friends.
I don’t know because it’s…fun, I sighed
No, because your friends like it and you’re a spineless girl that can’t say no!
What do you know?! I said.
I’m angry now, walking faster-pushing shoulders out of my way. I finally reached the jungle’s edge, a small bar occupied by people waiting for drinks. Dizziness hit me.
Did I drink that much?
But my brain didn’t respond it had retreated to its cave, as usual, because it knew what was to come.
Time turned into blinks.
A bartender with fishnet stockings and black underwear, her blond hair skirting her hips.
A bright pink chandelier hanging above the bathroom door; Its crystals reflecting rainbows.
A woman with crows feet at her eyes dressed in all black. Her hand rested gracefully on a stack of paper towels. She smiled, but her eyes held a bored expression.
A row of vanity mirrors with several red velvet seats beneath them. A pair of drunk girls prepared to take a selfie with their hips jutted out at awkward angles.
A green bathroom stall with a silver handle.
A toilet with dark grime and a long black hair clinging to its white porcelain.
The old familiar feeling of nausea.
I wobbled past the occupied stalls. My friends sat on the red velvet chairs adjusting bras, pinning hair, and puckering lips.
“We should go!”
Their voices blended together. I slumped in a chair my fingers gripping the soft velvet.
Cigarette smoke filled my nostrils. We were outside sitting on stiff cushions listening to two guys telling a story. They used exaggerated hand movements and wide smiles stretched across their faces. My friends laughed, apparently it was a funny story. I’m bored wondering why I’m here.
You did this to yourself, said my brain.
Not you again, I don’t need this not now. I said.
This is what I do; I give answers even unwanted or unliked ones. It’s what a smart brain does, and if you were smart, you’d listen.
My friend stood up she bent down touching her fingers to the floor and gave me a lap dance. I smiled even though I want it to end.
If you don’t like it, then ask her to stop. Said my Brain
I can’t be rude. I said
What?! said my brain
I pursed my lips tightly to keep my mind shut. The guys laughed. My other friend clapped while hollering, “Yeaaaaaaa!”
Why did you let her? Asked my brain once it was over.
I shrugged at the question. We had an unequal relationship. It gave me answers, but rarely did I have answers for it.
We stood along the curb waiting for the Lyft driver.
“Hookah,” said one of my friends as she brushed her thick wavy hair over her shoulder.
“Duh!” Said my other friend while putting her arms through the guy’s coat.
Everyone stared at me.
Okay here’s your chance, say no so we can go home! Said my brain
I can go home. I can spend every night reading my books and living like a hermit, but how many nights can I spend alone before I get lonely?
My brain was silent, and so I went to the bar sucking flavor tobacco from hookah hoses listening to louder indistinguishable music while I continued to wonder why.