March 7, 2007

Fingers clutched around the glass, the coolness of the container causing the fingers to be slick, he sat staring at the stage. They slide around the glass going up and down, not in any particular speed. Slowly, rhythmically, impatiently. It is in contrast to the heavy beats coming from the stage, bursting through the air and getting trapped inside his ears. The ringing inside is strong, but he remains unmoving.

There is no stage show happening tonight, nor any fancy lighting. What passes as entertainment are the two men prancing on stage, mics in hand, shouting into them at some preconceived time, but still giving the illusion of spontaneity. The invitation of people up onto the stage adds to the mayhem of the sounds echoing around the room in the dark light. More shouting into microphones causes the fingers to clutch at the glass tighter. Why chaos prefers darkness is a mystery to the man, but it is oddly peaceful at the same time. Trapped in this room of noise, the mind disolves into nothingness. It is not allowed to focus on anything other than the cold, empty glass, and the swirling wavelengths of music.

The dancefloor is similar to the man’s mind, a vast void of blackness. The star pattern lights rest in one spot on the floor, marking the spot of where people normally would be. The darkness is interrupted by a few people walking through with their drinks, obscuring the man’s vision of the stage- not that he was paying much attention to it. Instead, his eye settles on the dancer slinking out of her chair to start moving on the dancefloor to the music. It is appropriate how the dancer’s body flows through space kissing the thumping beats out of the speakers. All the beats require is someone to give them attention, and the dancer provides them with the perfect kind. The hands moving around catch the notes and play with them before releasing them back into the wild. It is much more fun for the music to be caught and tossed than to merely be received by the listening ears of the club patrons, and surely more fun than the inattentive ears of others.

His glass is brought up to his lips for a final sip to drain it of any remaining liquid. Finding nothing, the glass comes down onto the table with a large thump, sending out its own beat to mingle with the more solid bass notes floating in the room. His eyes return to the dancer to admire how they’re moving so easily at this late hour, free to do as they wish without constraint from the controlling mind or the people around them. How the man longs to join this dancer, but he is unable to move, trapped in his chair by the weight of the world on his shoulders. Poor Atlas, he thinks, wondering how the giant survived his predicament with nothing else to do but hold onto the globe. Then again, how easy of a life it would be with no stress from the surrounding world.

A girl jumping down from the landing of the stairway stirs the man to life and he looks up at the clock. 1:50am. The bar is about to close, the emcee is thanking the people for coming out and wanting a show of applause for the DJ. The clapping is spattering. Another quick glance around the room, a look at his empty glass, and the man gets up to move towards the door. The night is finished.

The next afternoon, the man finds himself walking into a cafe on a chilly day. Le cafe is busy, people moving and talking in all directions. It is a soundscape of chairs scraping against the tiles mixed in with the various voices speaking nonsense. The high-pitched squeal of the espresso machine causes the man to turn and find his place in line behind a small group.His foot starts tapping away to the steady, slow beats of the music emitting from the rather crappy speakers stuck in the corners of the brightly painted room. As bad as the quality is, the music is still as intoxicating to him as the much louder sounds found in the club the previous night. The muted trumpet screams to be helped and pulled away from the tightly packed speakers. It pains the man that such beautiful music is constrained in a vacuum. His ears ache to hear the music soar above the surrounding noises with no luck.

Looking back down to the people in front of him, he realizes that despite all his foot tapping on the ground, he hasn’t moved. Not an inch. He furrows his brows and looks around to find something more of interest before his gaze causes the workers at the cafe to combust.

The people in the room are a weird combination of young hippies, new management types, bundled up families, and old men drinking pure, black coffee. The hippies are the curiousity for him, with their long, dread-locked hair, clothing hanging off of their bodies like the shedded skin of a snake. He supposes his cavemen ancestors would see nothing wrong with this practice, and probably prefer it over the skin-tight clothing of the teenagers in another corner. From furs to hemp clothing; the evolution of hanging skins.

The old men find themselves bickering over the latest political events to occur in the cities. It isn’t clear what exactly they are talking about, but the man supposes it is of no importance. No one is winning this argument it appears, for they aren’t even listening to each other. Layer after layer of speech with no progression. A treadmill of conversation if such a thing ever existed.

The teenagers are a tempting group to study, but the man decides that it is best if he doesn’t look too long. He does look long enough to find out that the word “like” is still used as often as it was when he was a teenager and the valleyspeak phase started to enter the mainstream. As much as language has progressed over the centuries, it still remains stagnant and has regressed in some cases.

The man still hasn’t moved.

A twist of his head shows that the baristas are busy having a chat with, not a customer, but someone else behind the coffee bar. The man decides to walk away from the cafe and head out the door, away from the crucible of unmoving actions and people.

Late at night, the man lays in bed. It is quiet, dark, and empty. There is no one around him and he lays there staring at the ceiling. Waiting is such a curse, he says to himself, but a necessary one. He wishes he didn’t have to have gone through the past couple of days to discover that lesson.

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