My body is gyrating to the pop music that is blaring from the giant speakers in this packed house. Everybody around me is dancing with just as much zest as I am. My moves don’t quite go along with the music but I keep on dancing because I am incredibly lonely and I am here to fulfill some desire that I can’t get rid of, let alone deduce. The people dancing beside me are way better at it than I am, and possibly carry less baggage than I do, but, I am a man who does metaphorical things because I read a lot.
When the dancing stops I make my way around this party to meet and greet various men of various statuses. There’s a guy who’s in a relationship but he is here because his sex life is quite dull and his husband will never know, besides. Not to mention, they have an open relationship because of course they do. There’s a lesbian who thinks that I am straight, asking me what on earth I am doing at a gay party. There’s a couple who understand my loneliness and they offer me words of encouragement about my flailing limbs. They tell me I didn’t dance that badly before walking off to slow dance with one another.
I am here at this party because there just has to be someone who will not let me down. My mood has placed me here, amidst a sea of people who understand me and know nothing of my existence. Many friends have let me down so often in the past week that I figured going to bed with a total stranger would solve all of my problems.
As I make my way into the kitchen I spot a very tall guy with a yellow shirt on playing with his phone at a table. I sit down across from him, wishing I had a mobile phone to play with. His ebony finger massages the screen with such speed I assume he’s playing a modified version of Flappy Bird. He looks up upon hearing me sit down.
“I figured you’d sit down eventually.” He says and this causes me to cock my head.
“I’ve never seen anyone dance so much in my life. I figured you would get tired or something!”
“I was dancing because, basically, I’ve just had a bad couple of weeks and I just needed to let go of a few things in my life.” He puts down his phone and folds his buff arms on the table. His muscles are enchanting, but his gleaming white teeth are what utterly captivate me. Why, oh, why does it always have to be the great teeth!
“I hear you dude. I came here because the same thing happened to me. My whole family was killed a few days ago, and, so, I figured the best thing to do would be do the dumbest thing possible and go to a party where nobody knows you and you can be whoever you want to be.”
“Are you serious? This seems really weird, doesn’t it? Like, shouldn’t you be morning right now? Not here where there’s a bunch of fun happening?”
“That’s the thing though. What if I don’t want to grieve right now. What if I want to be somewhere where nobody can see me even though I am standing in the same room as them.”
“You’re weird.” I say and he laughs. I don’t know why I feel the urge to treat him like any other person, why I shouldn’t say I am sorry for his loss, but I get the feeling that isn’t what he wants or even needs right now. Mark introduces himself to me very quickly and soon, we are lost in sorrowful chemistry. His plight is so much worse than friends letting you down, so, what better thing to do than make the worst jokes possible. We joke about the nice things people say in funerals, never meaning anything they say. We joke about religion, he’s an atheist too, and the afterlife, but we never poke at any dead people. With so much death of police officers and fellow members of the LGBT community, somehow, this seems like the best kind of medicine we can give each other at this moment.
Mark is a man with a darker sense of humor than mine but he is very kind. He asks me why I am single and I tell him I have no idea why I am single.
“Why do people always tell you that you will find the one you need if you just do your own thing and never look? That seems like a poor excuse to say that, maybe there’s nobody out there for you.” I blurt.
“I disagree.” Mark says, fixing me with his intense brown eyes. “there’s someone out there for everyone. You just have to try a little more. You know?”
“But then if I try, I am not doing my own thing, right? I am searching. Isn’t that what people are always saying we should not do is search?”
Some people, yes, but you have to understand that there’s a personality type for everybody. You just have to be aware that there’s something out there and keep your eyes, or, in your case, ears open.”
“Do I have fat ears?” I suddenly blurt. He looks closely at each one, standing up and coming over to me, holding me close as he studies my ears in mock intensity.
“Nope. Your ears are cute!” A slow song starts up then and we look into each other’s eyes. To be accurate, since I can’t look anywhere, he gazes into my eyes.
“Since we bonded over making fun of funerals, do you want to do something normal, like slow dance?”
“Sure!” I say, “but can we get cookies afterwards? Do you have a car?”
“I have a car!” He says, and guides me onto the floor in the living room. There are non-dead couples dancing beside one another, swaying to the song that’s playing. I have no idea what it is but it’s a song about some guy who ran over this woman’s dog yet she still loves him. We dance, with his hands wrapped tightly around me. I feel as if I am his life support tonight. The more the song plays the tighter he holds onto me. Just as the song is about to end, I feel blotches of something wet hit me on the head. I think it’s rain at first so I don’t even notice the smell until I lean my face up to kiss mark. When I catch the smell of tears and it registers in my brain, I take him into my arms and wipe his tears away as another song invades our lives. He doesn’t need to say thank you. His embrace is enough.