I travel a lot these days. Club to club, I spend most nights on the go. Japan, Europe, America – All over the shop. Money isn’t really an issue thanks to having a sizeable inheritance from my parents. Dad was a lawyer, mum was a pharmaceutical chemist. I’ve spent a great deal of my waking hours partying, and I’m pleased to say that I regret almost none of it. There’s never a lack of friends to offer moral support and help spend your money. This is mostly irrelevant though. What I wanted to tell you about was a very special night. A night that sticks in my mind like a splinter of heated metal. It burns with a tropical energy, and sweat sprouts on my skin at the faintest recollection. And yes, if you must know, there was a girl involved.
What a girl.
It was in Mumbai, India. I’d been sampling the local clubs most vigorously, so much so that I can’t actually remember which club it was. Indigo? Café Mondegar? The night was hot and full of life. Sounds and colours were overwhelming, the drink flowed like libations over a sacred cow. The girls enticed with sultry eyes, mystery and spice. I was making excellent headway with one local beauty, a moderate moment of intimacy at the bar, when my ever roving eyes spotted this girl dancing in the corner.
Let me stress that she wasn’t particularly beautiful. In fact, as she emerged into the strobe lights, she had an aura of primal energy and… anger even. Her eyes though, they flashed in the night. Her hair seemed to drink up the light, like… nothing I’d seen before. I scarcely noticed when my previous conquest stormed off. The music was a steady dance beat, and I could feel my pulse rising to match it. The girl moved slowly, sinuously, hands moving up and down her body very sensuously. As she did so, a space opened in the dance floor around her, and people started moving away with expressions of some concern. I remember idly wondering who this person was to have such an effect, but I couldn’t really concentrate. The temperature in the club had risen by several degrees, and the dancing was moving up a notch. The rhythm of the music was picking up, and the dancers were accelerating in time, motions becoming wilder and more suggestive. Light glistened on lips and sweaty backs. Shirts were removed, and dresses hitched higher. Arms entwined, and gyrations grew closer and tighter.
I absent mindedly loosened my shirt, and asked for extra ice in my drink. I couldn’t take my eyes off this one girl who seemed to be at the centre of it all, dancing as if she owned the place. Her dress was a deep red, almost black in the light of the dance floor. I could feel the music throbbing through the soles of my feet. I could feel it pulsing as the small of my back rested against the bar. I could feel teasing vibrations trembling through my glass. I was conscious of every drip running down the side of my drink, ice cold but distant. If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was steaming. Through all of this, she danced on.
Her arms moved like water, then like fire. Shadows surrounded her, anonymous dancing figures providing an orgiastic backdrop of skin and hair, strobe lighting blurring shapes and casting shadows to give the impression of a many armed statue being venerated. A dress strap slid off her shoulder and her pitch black hair whipped from side to side. Her legs were long and smooth, a pale brown with a hint of a silver bangle on her right angle. She stamped her feet and rotated, spinning faster and faster, arms folding and unfolding out, a vortex of long nailed passion. She was barefoot, and her toenails were painted a dark colour.
For a moment I couldn’t help myself but stare at her feet. They flickered like lightning, the silver bangle glittering, and as they stamped they seemed to mark her ownership of the place. Some figures were lying on the floor around her, pelvic thrusting the air and some kind of breakdancing. The lights were directly behind her now, blasting through her long flowing hair. The smoke machine had done its work, and she was wreathed in vapour and flame. The whole dancefloor was pumping, a very powerful beat consuming and regenerating. Glitterballs shattered light across the spectrum, and fragments swept around the room, lashing half naked bodies and the varnished floor mercilessly.
I would not be exaggerating to say that I was aroused by the spectacle, and I’m sure at one point I grabbed a glass of water and simply upended it over my head. I scarcely noticed the ice. It wasn’t just a sexual tension in the air, but… something hungry. The air was alive. It was electric. It swallowed me whole. I could no more think about sex than any human being can focus on anything when in the throes of the most god-damned amazing crescendo of sensation and climax they’ve ever had. There’s just too much to take in, and I felt my body laid bare, right there. Time fled, and my naked shell was laid out on an altar of flesh. Unable to move, unable to turn away, I could only gaze in bovine wonderment at this incredible dancing goddess. Faster and faster they danced. Though my body scarcely breathed, I moved as one with the others present. I could hear occasional moans and shrieks penetrate the thick and humid atmosphere.
Afterwards I wondered if my drink had been spiked. At the time, I could only breathe the lust in the air, taste the cinnamon and saffron, and hear the friction between bodies lost in the moment. The girl danced, and in the strobes she seemed to be wielding great shafts of light in her many shadowed hands. She spun, and bodies fell to the floor, writhing in ecstasy. Every movement cut a swathe down. Whole worlds seem to come into being at her beckoning, the dancing about her perfectly matching her ministrations, then being cast down into dust.
It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She flowed like… some kind of deadly whirlwind. Where had that metal skull necklace come from? It slashed the air as she twirled, bent low from the waist and leapt high into the air. It was that image that remains burned into my mind to this day, and I see it when I sleep and wake. When I eat my pallid breakfast or screw another faceless conquest. When my face gazes out the plane window into the night she is there. Framed in light and sound, hair as black as death lashing about her, many arms held high and wielding dazzling radiance, a dancer’s legs in a breathtakingly poised leap, perfect breasts revealed by her slipped dress. The face though, was ferocious. It was wanton. It was powerful. Her teeth were bared white in a snarl. Were those drops of blood on her face? Her long tongue curled to her lips, and as she dropped back to the earth the lights and sounds stopped abruptly.
Maybe some temporary power cut or a beer spillage.
When the lights came back on, people were gathering their belongings and clothes and somewhat sheepishly heading for the exit in a confused huddle. There was laughter and a few raised voices as the bouncers struggled to contain some guys who had clearly had a few too many. I waited in vain for my boner to subside beneath my frantically clasped jacket, and mopped my brow in vain. I had to get out of there. The dancing girl must have left in the commotion. I pushed my way out, barely making a pretence to civility as I rushed into the street. I must have seemed like a madman, muttering under my breath and jumping in vain to catch a glimpse of the girl before she disappeared into the crowd forever. Nobody seemed to know the girl I was babbling about.
Rickshaws were already aiding the crowd dispersal, and the sounds of the street gradually became apparent to my poor battered ears. The music still pulsed through my skull, and my breath was ragged. Eventually I returned to my hotel and spent a very frustrated and fruitless night alone, tossing and twisting in bed sheets with the shutters wide open in a pointless attempt to cool down.
The next day I felt drugged – again, wondering if my drink was spiked, if only to explain some of the images from the night before. I more or less sleep-walked my way to the airport. I kept scanning the passers-by for her face, but obviously to no avail. The flight, taxis and even getting back to my apartment were all much the same. An endless stream of the surreal.
Something happened that night in Mumbai. Something unique that goes beyond my ability to live. It took me out of myself, and part of me never left that dance floor. Everything seems so grey and lifeless now. Every moment trickles by. My world has fallen to pieces.
I spend most of my time travelling.