Thud, thud. The beat of my heart. Thundering like a jackhammer, but still quite slow.
Our eyes met across the vibrating dance floor, latching together like two swimmers caught in a whirlpool, desperately clinging together, each one trying to push the other down. I saw in his eyes a selfish, appallingly unhappy sort of need, toxic and capable of killing me, and knew that in my eyes was the same look; but we needed each other so badly, that we didn’t even care.
Thud, thud. The beat of my heart. Thundering, but still quite slow.
Squeezing, pushing, dodging and pretend-dancing-so-I-can-get-around-you, I made my way towards the magnet; I didn’t feel like I was acting of my own volition at this stage, it felt like I was being pulled across the stage by the sheer force of his personality, to be gathered into his waiting arms and held, dying but alive for one last moment. Of course, if he hadn’t been pulling me across the room, I probably would have gone to him anyway, so maybe it’s a moot point.
Looking into his eyes, I could see the same response in him: whatever it was about me that compelled him—surely more just than my physical presence, nice and all as it may have been—, was compelling him in the same way. An insurmountable, inhuman magnetic force was dragging us together, through the crowd of gyrating, unconscious bodies.
At a point which, if a geometer had been present, could have been calculated to be exactly equidistant between our two starting points, our hands touched. A small shiver of electricity ran from his fingers into mine, up my arm, through my heart (thud, thud) and into my skull; my brain shivered with pleasure. I had had my first taste of poison: it was delicious. I recoiled, and saw him do the same: it was like looking into a mirror.
Reaching forward tentatively again, our fingertips collided across the divide, settling comfortably against each other; my fingerprints settling perfectly against his, my valleys matching his ridges and vice versa. A deep feeling of contentment settled across my mind: for the first time in my life, I could let go and make no effort; were I to release him, he would still not be released from me. I knew that he would not let me go; for once, I felt utterly secure. We took a step towards each other.
Thud, thud. The beat of my heart. Fast, but still quite slow.
I could see his face better now; dark, close-cropped hair sitting over brown eyes and a finely chiselled roman nose; no muscles to speak of: one might call him slender, but that was okay. Better, even. I wonder what he thought of me.
I leaned in to ask his name, but stopped just as the air of the first word brushed his pinna: what a ridiculous question! Of all the secrets that I could discover or divine, I wanted to know something as banal as his name? Psha! A quick smile glimmered across his face, reminding me of a sunrise glowing behind curtains. He leaned into me.
“Kevin, for what it’s worth,” he half-shouted, “but we could probably think of deeper things to talk about.” He smiled that wicked smile again, safe in the knowledge that he had understood me perfectly. Not just sure that he had understood me, but knowing. Like two halves of the same soul connecting, the missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle finally coming together and settling into old grooves.
I smiled at him and my fingers, leaning on his wrist as I leant in to him, felt his pulse quicken. I enjoyed that: it gave me the knowledge that this almost painful attraction was reciprocated, mutual. A small doubt crossed my mind: he had been sure, without needing reassurance, of how I felt about him. I had not been: I had needed physical evidence.
Were our feelings asymmetrical? We were like two halves of a locked rejoined, only one half had been hit with a hammer, damaged and rendered unusable, the other still perfectly formed and glittering in the light? What if I were the broken half of that locket, willing to perform, but unable to love, crushed beyond repair?
Sweeping those thoughts aside like so many piled-up leaves, I grabbed his sleeve and dragged him towards me. Taking one hand in mine, and placing the other around his back, I began to dance in a circle with him; we were exactly the same height, and he could stare into my eyes (and I into his).
We kept moving in circles, despite not knowing what we were dancing to, what the rhythm of the song was, or whether the music was still playing. It didn’t matter to us, a cocoon of happiness swelled and grew around us, pulsating with our lifeblood, forcibly rejecting anyone that came near it, lest they threaten our mood.
Kevin’s head moved in towards mine, snake-quick, and stole a kiss; a butterfly landing on a flower; a feather floating gently down and bumping a startled cat before settling on the ground. I liked that: sudden, bold, slightly whimsical. I grinned; he grinned back.
Grabbing him by his sleeve, I dragged him towards the smoking area, where we could better talk. The cocoon had shattered and lay around our feet, glowing weakly with the spent energies of our heartbeats, no longer capable of protecting us from the thrusts of the crowd.
The chatter outside was deafening, but less so than inside. I leaned in towards his ear.
“Yes,” he replied before I could finish. “Do…”
“I think so,” I replied, not knowing that I would until I had. Something inside me had clicked, as though his neural processes were mirrored in mine, and I knew exactly what he would say before he could articulate it. It must have been the same for him. He smiled that smile again, a glowing sunset.
“Perfect,” he whispered, and leaned his head forwards onto my chest, to rest there, while his back rose and fell quickly, panting with exertion.
I could feel his heart beat with mine. No, it was mine. Across an infinite divide, something had crossed (or perhaps, two things had journeyed towards each other) and made contact with another, alien entity.
It didn’t even matter at this point whether the night lasted. Our union had been perfect, an instant of unexpected communication, humanity, harmony.
Thud, thud. The beat of his heart.