The Wall

You are alone.  This is not unusual.

You sit on the sidelines.  You wait.  You watch.

The place is loud, bright.  Colorful.  There is a green light in the ceiling across from the stool you have dropped into.  It twists and turns, shooting different beams of light randomly across the dance floor.  The strobes give you a headache, and you ponder another shot.  But you’re responsible.  Driving.  Unfortunately, the less you drink, the more apparent the wall is.  It’s always there now, between you and the rest of the world.  You’re different.

Maybe you were always different?

You feel sorry for the woman at the door, trapped inside her little box with her ID machine and her cash box.  She wants to be out on the floor, this is blatantly obvious.  But they hide her in a box no bigger than a closet.

People are dancing.  You don’t get it; you don’t see the appeal.  You have never liked to dance.  You do, however, like to people watch.  So your friends dance, and you watch.  Watching makes you happy.

You wish you could be that free.  But instead, you are suspicious.

You pick out two men in the crowd that you “should” keep an eye on.  One wears a green polo, the other a gray t-shirt.  They circle the edge of the dance floor, watching those moving around on the inside.  Predatory.

You watch the stage, the people who go in and out and up and down.  You think about what you learned in gender psych; you think about the movies you watched.  You realize that even if you wanted to, you couldn’t do that–you couldn’t go up there.  And in the same moment, you realize that you’re okay with that.

Green shirt wanders the outskirts.  He grinds up against a woman who doesn’t seem to know him, but she doesn’t look like she minds.  You would mind, definitely.  You don’t get how she could be so comfortable with a stranger.  They pull each other up onto the stage and dance in front of everyone.  

The dance looks like the electric slide.  You’re impressed that you recognize it.  But there’s some weird footwork happening that secretly amuses you.  It isn’t the version that you know how to do.  Your friend is next to you, and you share your amusement.  You both laugh.

Gray shirt hops over the counter and heads behind you, towards the DJ booth.  And then his hand on your back, sliding down, down.  Your head snaps around, your nerves are on alert, but he disappears.

You sit for a while.  You watch for him.  No one knows.

You’re alone again.

You hide in the bathroom for a couple of minutes.  You’re fine.  You come back out.

You realize that you’re an impostor.  You act like you’re more present than you actually are.  But in reality, there’s that wall.  Still.  Always.  You become confidant that you don’t fit.

And so you smile.  Because that’s what people do.

You’re such a faker.

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