The following two pieces are both about the same night (at a party in 1995 called "Wicked" in San Francisco,) by two different people with two different perspectives. In "To Conjure An Angel," I describe meeting someone new. "Wicked and Witty" is by the guy I've described meeting. He wrote it about meeting me that same night.
TO CONJURE AN ANGEL
"Pleasure to meet you," says one
of them as he extends his hand
in politeness. I smile back,
taking his hand in mine, looking
into his eyes. Their lightness
draws me in as I notice their
stark contrast with his dark
lashes and features. From
inside his irises I can hear his
voice pronounce his name.
The line weaves its way into the
club. We pass and part into the
dark. The ceilings and the
lighting are low and cave-like,
the air dank and filled with the
scent of old sweat and
underground damp. Soon, I
think, it will smell of fresh
new sweat pouring from hot,
My forward movement, the
gathering crowd and the pulse of
the music begins to distract my
melancholic thoughts. A couch
near a small dance floor that I
have passed three times before
finally draws me in and my eyes
start to follow the screen
opposite, as the images twist
and melt into each other.
"You don't recognize me, do
you?" A nearly empty water
bottle bobs in the dark air, the
friendly offering of a stranger.
My blank stare breaks into a
casual smile as I realize he is
the 'Pleasure to meet you' I had
met in line. I ask his name
again and repeat mine.
As we fall deeper and deeper
into conversation, he moves his
body closer to mine until his
leg and side press against me.
I rest my hand on his thigh.
There is something comforting
about the feeling of thick
cotton and hard muscle under my
palm. Touching a man, wanting
to feel his heat next to mine,
is the last thing I expected to
want or do this night.
Hours pass of conversation and
comfortable silence, as we talk
of nothing and everything. He
explains to me the differences
between chewing gums and how
he hates Care Free because it falls
apart in your mouth if you chew
it for too long. "And Juicy Fruit
sucks. It looses all its sugar
in minutes and turns into this
hard bitter ball in your mouth."
Yeah, I hate that, I think.
Our friends drift in and out of
our space, visiting and leaving,
visiting and leaving, like waves
lapping up on the shore. New
people drop by and he introduces us
as though he has known them
for years, but more often than not,
he has just met them too.
"Wouldn't that be horrible?
...to be stuck together like that?"
He speaks of a couple passing by,
connected to one another by their
hands and being. The man leads
the woman through the crowd and
they seem inseparable, both
physically and emotionally. I look
closely at the man beside me. For
the first time I wonder what his life,
his pain, outside our conversation
But the moment passes quickly and
he continues to recommend movies
and books, making me laugh at his
mindful musings. As the night goes
by, I begin to forget the pain that
has been holding me hostage over
the past weeks and I let myself enjoy
the night as I haven't enjoyed one
in a long time. I feel safe for
the first time in months. But at last,
I loose him to the dance floor.
Alone with my thoughts now,
the hours begin to pass.
I start moving rhythmically
through the thick hot air. It
feels almost like water, resisting and
embracing my movement. The scent
of cologne, pheromones and body heat
fills the room. And I see him again.
His body shifts magically and powerfully
through the space next to me. He is
beautiful, using his entire being to
paint the music in the air:
so graceful, so potent.
When I finally leave, it is nearly
seven in the morning and the
light is starting to shine through
the exit door into the room,
still full of music and bodies. He is
dancing as I approach and whisper
into his ear, "Thank you for helping
me to enjoy this night."
He looks at me and I know that
he doesn't really understand.
He doesn't know that I have
conjured him. He doesn't know that
he has been here, been an angel tonight,
because I needed one. He smiles
as he says 'good-bye' and that
he will see me soon. I say 'yeah'
and smile, and I know at that moment
I will never see him again.
WICKED AND WITTY
I'm slow to turn.
As the room magically
shifts and sways and drags along
in the thick madness of what
my eyes perceive as real,
and I am slow to turn.
But I see you sitting there,
ending the glide of my sight.
In your presence next to me, sitting,
and not knowing,
that all at once I recognize you.
I smile suddenly,
as I think of what to say.
Thinking, "she does not know me,
and may not even recognize me."
But I pick my words,
and begin to construct the
universe around us
in a sudden surge of patience.
The conversation begins.
2 May 1995