The psychological horror of a high school dance. Basically a stylistic exercise.
|Picture me: Ginger as the cookie, looking like Ron Weasley's fugly little brother who's face even magic couldn't fix. My cheeks and chin were an oily swamp of pimples, my eyes too far apart, my nose too pointy, my ears too big, and so many freckles - I mean freckles like you wouldn't believe, freckles galore. I was one big freckle. Sure, put me in a discourse with English grad students and I could break them ten ways 'til Sunday, but what did that matter? I wasn't just hit with the ugly stick, I was beaten like a piñata by it.
Then there was Josephine, this Artemis, this warrior queen of the trailer park, easily the most beautiful girl in school. Her skin was the smooth brown of a Starbuck's Chai Latte, her eyes defiant and intelligent, her chin upraised with that touch of arrogance that could melt the heart of any guy in our class. And, despite all that, there she was dancing at the Junior Dance with me. Me! I know, right? How'd that happen?
And how she danced - by God, how she danced. The rest of the kids kind of shuffled and bobbed and bounced to the mindless dubstep, or else grinded against each other in rough approximation of what they thought was sexual, but Josephine, she was a muse, a nymph, a sprite out of place among mortals. She stood before me, hips liquid motion, hands twisting through the air like snakes, eyes closed in the ecstasy of the movement, the silk threads of her hair flying out in every direction. Every guy in the room rubbernecked his head away from his date to stare at her.
A pang of longing, like the real true-blue I can't live without you longing, hit me. It was stronger than anything my puberty wracked body had ever felt, and it caught in my throat and stuck there, nearly choking me. Unconsciously, I found myself reaching out to her, like I was going to touch her to make sure she was real. What was I doing, man? Reaching out like that on the dance floor? I must have looked like a total creep. I turned my motion into some kind of awkward dancing Mr. Miagi wax-on-wax-off move at the last second though. I don't think she noticed.
The music shifted to a slow song, and, to my complete and mystified terror, she stepped forward, inches from my pimply face, one hand gently placed on my shoulder, the other somehow materialized in my own. Electricity danced wherever she touched me, my heart jackhammered in my chest, and then my body just started moving like it belonged to someone else - a puppet pulled on strings.
[flashback & context]
About ten seconds in, it dawned on me that I didn't know where to put my feet, and as soon as I noticed that I started tripping and tumbling, stepping on her toes first once, then a second time. I began to concentrate with ferocity on her feet gliding across the floor, trying to squeeze out some idea of pattern and meaning through sheer force of will.
(Writing in progress)