Standing here at the empty room reminds me of how it all began that night. Like tonight, the room I was in was empty, devoid of activity save for the occasional creaking of the floors or the flickering of the incandescent lights. In those times I wasn’t standing around bored out of my mind waiting for something great to happen, or at least the time at which I was free to punch out and leave the premises vacant–whichever one came first. The floor wasn’t concrete and the room wasn’t bathed in white fluorescent light. I wasn’t guarded by steel trusses that held up the ceiling and the silence wasn’t disturbed by the passing and going of the patrons of this retail institution for which I am employed. Everything felt more alive; however, in this section of my memory, everything was still–frozen in time like a picture.
The room was dimly cast in a orange-ish-yellow glow when I slowly came to a state of awareness within the memory. The room was much more of an enclosed space than the one I previously mentioned. I was wearing a black leather jacket with a black v-neck t-shirt underneath, a pair of sterling silver dog tags, a black pair of low-rise boot cut jeans, and some black suede Nike high tops shoes. I blended in with the shadows of the room as it slowly started to populate itself with ghostly figures, or rather they appeared ghostly at first and were quickly solidifying–gaining substance and becoming real. Only then did I notice the fading reality and the push to an alternate existence that I had already experienced.
I slowly surveyed the room, scanning it from left to right as my surroundings became more animate. The lighting changed from a dim constant flickering glow to a more sporadic change of colors and hues. The light danced in a mixture of linear patterns and wide casting glows. There was an aura to the now real figures, one of livelihood and satisfaction as well of traces of passion. Then the music started to fade in. It was a soft hum at first and it was ever increasing to a louder series of boom. It felt like the room had a pulse of its one. I also could feel the pulse echoing in my ribcage.
My inspection of the scene ended in the middle of the room. My eyes were transfixed on one figure who felt fairly recognizable and oddly familiar. She had a short shiny red cocktail dress that ended mid-thighs underneath an unzipped black North Face Denali jacket. She had a thin build with a slightly olive complexion that only brought out her curled jet black hair that hung loosely to her mid-back. I knew I saw her before, or at least fragments of her strung across various other memories. At the same time, I felt this could all just be a figment of my imagination, but it felt so real.
Unsure how I would begin how to handle this encounter, I began my advance through the crowd to make my way to this mysterious figure. I finally found my way through the crowd to see her seated at a table with her jacket hanging off her chair. She looked somewhat lost, but at the same time I couldn’t help feel like she was waiting for someone. I reluctantly fought back any apprehensions I had. “Staring is creepy” I told myself.
Without even thinking, I blurted out “Are you expecting someone?” “I came here by myself.” I tried to manage a smile while appearing the least nervous I could then extended a hand to her. “My name’s Mike.” She extended her hand out to meet mine. I grasped hers and shook it firmly while my fears started to slip away. She had no initial response, but smiled and then I motioned to the seat in front of her. She leaned over, elbows on the table in front of her while she brushed away her hair. “I’m Valentina” she said her smile growing ever more intently.
Always yearning for something more. A hunger never satisfied. A thirst that is never quenched.
Ease yourself. Relinquish your burden.
I am the object of your desire. I am your passion, your muse.
She must have noticed a change in my expression because she shifted into an upright position, looking less relaxed than before. “You look lost. What brought you here?”
“I felt I had to come…”
But before I could finish my statement, she interrupted. “…Because you want something more.” She went on. “I’ve seen people like you before. You torture yourself with obligation and responsibility. I saw it in the way you walked over here. Hell’s not going to freeze over if you ever wanted something.”
Taken aback, I replied “aren’t you awfully perceptive.”
“Its what I do.”
“You’re not psychoanalyzing me are you?”
Then she reached over and stroked the side of my face. I felt myself shudder. “You need to relax more. Do what you want, not whatever everyone wants you to do.” She got up, leaned over, hugged me, then reached over to her jacket. She slung the jacket over her shoulder and glanced at me one more time. “Do what you want” and then she faded into the crowd.
A surge of emotion ran through me. How did she know me so well? Where have I seen this before? Why does she look so familiar? I got up from the seat and followed the direction she disappeared into the crowd. I saw her head poking through the crowd and for a second it was highlighted by some of the ambient light. I increased my pursuit and caught up with her. I tapped her on her shoulder.
I feel like a zombie come back to life…
“I know what I want. Come here!” She turned around dropped her jacket and smiled. “Really?” The music intensified into something trancey. I reached over to her and pulled her in.
…and I don’t care who’s watching…
Her body was close to mine. I cast her a seductive look. All of my inhibitions were finally slipping free. I no longer had control. Someone else did.
I want you to take over control
Things started to get steamy-literally. The atmosphere became murky as the room filled with fog the light intensified and a strobe effect was introduced. She started grinding on me and that started a long dance session.
When the music drop we all got our hands up…
The music was really intensified. Everyone else within the crowd had their hands in the air. I grabbed her hand and started to guide us out of the crowd to a corner in the room. She stroked me along the side of my face again. I stroked her along the side of her arm. Then we got close again. I wrapped my arms around her and then gently caressed her. Then we locked lips. Everything began to fade away in those intense moments. Time slowed down. We parted. “Set yourself free. Like you did tonight.” I heard her echo as everything went white.
“Excuse me?” Was the first thing I heard then I saw an old man’s face. He was well defined in his years. His wrinkles and fatigued gaze were evidence. I was still in the process of getting my bearing back. All of the events that have just transpired appeared to be just an elaborate daydream. The hours that had just elapsed were nothing but mere seconds.
My welcome back to reality was the old man asking me “are you guys going to sell the iPhone for Verizon here?”