As the Lights Change

Behind the curtain that is black and heavy, I stared at the darkness in front of me. The sound of rock blasted from the large speakers, accompanied by laughter and screams and shouts from the unseen people in the room. The smell of liquor and smoke lingered in the air. But I had no thoughts on this whatsoever for there was only one thing on my mind: you. And for a second, the lights flashed.

And in that second, before me I saw a sea of bodies and faces, most of which I do not recognize. I weaved through the crowd searching for you. Through the blaring music, I almost screamed your name but I caught myself, realizing it was a futile effort. I passed by a table where I heard the sound of breaking glass and then all of a sudden, everything went dark again.

I remembered your smile as I walked blindly, the way it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. How it makes the atmosphere appear lighter and brighter. How it makes the butterflies in my stomach flutter. And then the lights started blinking–bright flashes followed by instant darkness. It was hard to see and painful to the eyes.

I pressed on to the center of the room. The ambiance in the middle was different from the sides. It felt more alive, more real. I stood amidst couples dancing and groups cheering and jumping up and down, waving their hands high in the air as the lights changed into an eerie glow, randomly lighting up areas in the room.

In the glow, your eyes were what I remembered. Their sparkle and mystery was what I recalled as the room filled with dim lights. How those eyes of yours seem to always see through me, untangling my every doubt and worry that keeps me so warped and confused. Those eyes that conveyed all the words you didn’t say, all the words you meant to say but cannot.

And then as if feeling the panic that started to burn inside me, the speakers blared even louder, and the sound of shouts seem to resonate everywhere as everyone started jumping even higher and livelier. Everyone except me.

I zoned back to the reality of where I was and again felt the gravity of what I was trying to do. I swept my eyes across the room one more time, a hundred memories passing through my mind as I did so. The way you put your arm around me when you asked me what was wrong. The feeling of shyness that your messages radiate. The way you held me when I cried into your shoulder over some trivial things.  I can’t help smiling despite myself, despite my worry, and then it hit me. I was looking at the wrong place all along.

I rushed back, past the floor full of jumbled up bodies, past the screams and shouts and laughter, away from the smell of alcohol and cigarettes, away from clinking and breaking of glass and into the cool, night air.

And it took less than a heartbeat for me to recognize that you were the one standing away from all the chaos of the place. The one with hands in their pockets, head tilted back to stare at the star-spangled sky. A thousand different emotions surged through me, all of them propelling me to take the first step towards you. With my hands at my sides, an unforced smile on my face and a chest filled with relief, I walked towards you.

I finally found you, at a solitary place, away from chaos and confusion.

05/31/15 2:41 am || 08/02/15 4:46 pm

Photograph by Athena Marcelo.


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