- Vol. 04
- Chapter 12
They met in a night club. He wore a white shirt that turned blazing blue in the fluorescent light. She wore a pearlescent dress, shiny and tight.
He hadn’t noticed her until he found himself right in front of her sparkling, turquoise eyes. The dancing crowd had pushed and shoved him, spun and swirled him to the center of the dance floor, where the bass rolled loudest and the flash lights quivered like lightning. Right there, in the center of the heat, their eyes locked. Right there, among the sweating bodies, amidst the bouncing and swaying, they stood still for a moment, just a short moment and yet this moment would later extend into eternity, like water spilling into a void. Later, when he was alone again.
Her wet hair stuck to her face, clung to her pale neck like seaweed. On her white shoulders sweat pearls shimmered. He was breathless, didn't know what to say. Scared that she would drift away just as unexpectedly as she had appeared, he gathered all his courage. He leaned forward.
“What’s your name?” Inadvertently, his lips touched the salty, moist skin of her ear.
“I’m Pearl,” she murmured. Her long neck swayed back and forth, her body undulated as it was moved by the crowd.
The moving and shoving all around threatened to carry her away, so he grabbed her. First by her delicate, wet hands, then by her slippery shoulders and held onto her until she put her white arms around his shoulders. They let the crowd move them as one, spin them, whirl them. They drifted like flotsam.
As he embraced her to pull her tighter, he let his arm wander along her back. The skin was smooth and wet from the heat, but when his fingers reached the dress, its scaly and slightly slimy fabric startled him.
“Let’s get out of here.”
He manoeuvred her gently through the dancers, going with the flow here, steering against the current there, always holding on to her smooth, watery skin. They had almost out made it out of the crowd when she stopped.
“I have to stay.”
“Oh, come on!” He grabbed her arm and as he tried to pull her with him, the way a fisherman pulls in the catch of the day, he lost grip on her slippery, wet skin.
He was out, alone. The dancing crowd closed into an impenetrable sea of bouncing heads, arms, backs, and faces, illuminated for split seconds by the flashlights, distorted, given in to the passion, to the music, the dance, and to love.
He never found her again, not this night, nor any other. Her memory kept coming and going, like the tide, even when, years later, he was not sure whether she had only been a dream.