Can one night change your life?
Excitement fluttered in my stomach like a dozen butterflies taking flight when he finally found my name on the list and allowed me to enter Studio 54. I bit my lower lip suppressing the squeal of delight that threatened to escape my mouth, took a deep steadying breath, and sauntered my way toward the steps as if I were someone special. I’d waited so long for this moment, spent weeks carefully putting together a stellar outfit, the perfect makeup, and the glitzy accessories to complete my chosen look so I would stand out in the crowd. I loved the way the black hot pants clung to my body accentuating every curve, and the silver glittery boob tube and platform shoes worked well, but it was the black feathery boa that really pulled the look altogether. I’d dreamt of mingling with television stars and musicians, spending one entire night dancing until dawn and tonight here I was, about to do just that, thanks to my friend Gene who worked there.
The building pulsed with the beat of the music before I crossed the threshold, and just feeling it beneath my feet sent a thrill up my spine. I walked through the wide corridor and had to brace my hand on the wall to stop my legs from trembling when I looked out at the throng of people dancing. The strobe light glittered like the mother lode, with colorful lights flashing all around as Amii Stewart’s Knock on Wood filled my ears. In the middle of the back wall, the DJ shouted over the microphone as he spun the next vinyl on the turntable and the crowd started screaming. The need to be part of that energy took over and moved my feet forward into the club. The place was packed, making it difficult to move around. I made my way around the outer perimeter, my eyes darting from one table to the next, shocked to discover the open drug use and heavy foreplay going on as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
“Hey, sugar. See something you like?” The topless woman said, tossing her head back and laughing.
Heat rose to my face, embarrassment flushing my cheeks. I shook my head, desperate to move away from the couple and find Gene. Turning away, I spotted him wearing those red silky short shorts and tube socks, his chest sparkling with glitter as he carried a gray container filled with empty bottles and glasses. When he saw me, Gene smiled, that smile that always made me feel welcome. If only he were straight.
“You made it!” he said, grabbing my hand and dragging me off to the bar.
“I can’t believe I’m here,” I said, doing my best to keep up.
The shirtless boys at the bar were running back and forth in their skintight jeans, filling orders.
“James, this is my friend. The one I told you about,” Gene said.
James turned to me with a wink. “You weren’t kidding. She’s a looker.”
I blushed and stuck my hand out. “Nice to meet you, James. I’m Nina.”
James came around from the bar just as the music changed again to the funky sound of I Feel Love by Donna Summer, grabbed my hand and pulled me out onto the parquet floor. The strobe lights flashed as a huge moon lowered from the ceiling above the DJ box. I couldn’t help myself and started dancing, spinning in circles getting lost in the rhythm. James rested his hands on my hips and pulled me close to his sweaty body.
“Just let go,” he said in my ear.
That was all it took. For the rest of the night, I was either gyrating on the dancefloor or, slamming drinks at the bar. The more I danced, the freer I felt, basking in this night that I had only flirted in my dreams. I couldn’t seem to get enough, and with each new disco song that played, the more at ease I became. James and Gene took turns keeping me on my toes, introducing me to more of their friends as the night flew by. This was heaven to me, a night I never wanted to end, the night my dreams came true.
I could’ve stayed there forever, but morning approached as the discotheque thinned out. For the first time in my life, I felt an all-consuming happiness, one I didn’t think could ever be replaced. But I was wrong because night after night I found myself back at Studio 54. Every night that palpable energy took over, along with the irresistible urge to soak it all in and let myself go.