It's Time to Stop Dancing Around the Subject
Move on, It's over
Nylah threw back her third shot of fireball while her best friend, Yasmine, continued to flirt with the bartender.
Yasmine tossed her long lavender-dyed coils over her bare shoulders as she leaned in closer to the handsome young fellow mixing drinks. Her white tube-top left little to the imagination as her cleavage peeked over like mountain summits. But of course, she knew what she was doing, and the man was happy to oblige.
The cool guy, no older than 21, reached into his back pocket, withdrawing what appeared to be a book of stamps. He carefully ripped two from the booklet and placed them into Yasmine’s palm. She giggled like a schoolgirl as the Versace cologne showered her in delight. His perfectly chiseled cheekbones and fresh crew-cut were alluring, but it was his navy muscle shirt hugging swollen biceps that made her feel giddy inside.
Yasmine kissed him on the cheek, whispering, “Thank you.”
The bartender traced her wrist with his fingertips and gave her a wink. She knew that they would meet up later after the club closing.
“Nylah, darling, are you ready?” Yasmine beamed, pointing to the stamps in her palm. “Don’t worry, she continued. You will feel better in no time at all. Peel the backing off and place the sticker on your forearm. Oh, my, it is a star; how cute is that!”
“I don’t care for ecstasy. Why don’t we go in the ladies' room and do a few lines instead?” Nylah suggested.
“Are you kidding me? This stamp is called “Galaxy” and way better than regular old E. Please, trust me. In only moments, you will be on the dance floor, flying high like a bird. You will forget all about Silas, once and for all, and that is what you need to do!”
Nylah sighed, running her fingers back along the outline of her freshly braided cornrows. She took the star-sticker from Yasmine and pasted it to her forearm. Yasmine took her turn, pasting on her sticker, and the pair followed the green and purple flashing lights onto a large multi-level dance platform.
No sooner than their high heels hit the dance floor, the club atmosphere changed. It was like a portal opened up, and the girls beamed to another time. One minute Nylah and Yasmine were walking side by side, and the next, Yasmine was on an upper-tier leaving Nylah down on the ground floor.
Nylah froze for a moment realizing the galaxy stamp had taken effect almost instantly. She closed her eyes, took a few deep breaths fighting off anxiety, and opened her eyes once more. The mirrored wall panels captured her hourglass figure perfectly. Admiring her reflection, she pulled out a lipstick from her mini crossbody handbag, refreshing her ruby red pout. Turning to her side, she gave the backside of her black catsuit a gentle tug. The results of sessions with her trainer were much to her liking.
Beyond her reflection, Nylah watched the backdrop of a once ordinary dance club blur; all colors merging into one then shift into scenery that reminded her of a video game. She turned around, and the dance floor appeared to be a series of cubes, flashing in the seven color scheme of a rainbow. Her eyes widened, and her heart skipped a beat. The nerves in her legs tingled like quick jolts of electricity, telling them it is time now to move.
And so the dancing began.
Nylah twirled across the changing colored tiles, soon realizing that if she stepped on the green before it shifted hues, the rest of the background would transform to a different theme. After several stepping trials, she learned that there were three different backgrounds. So, all she had to do was step on any green before it turned blue as the color-shifting followed the rainbow color sequence.
The first impression began outside the same nightclub that she and Yasmine had entered one hour previously. A line of chatty patrons waiting for admittance wound around the corner. Deciding not to stay, Nylah continued up the street following a familiar smell of sweet Italian sausage. Giant red polka dot mushrooms guided her path, yet this did not confuse her. Somehow she was completely aware of the fact that she was tripping, and it was exciting. As she tracked the aroma, her mouth began to water. Sautéed onions and peppers and fresh garlic bread were the only things on her mind.
Just a few feet away, a black Mercedes was parked. Nylah recognized the car and its custom plates. It belonged to her ex-boyfriend, Silas. The gullwing doors flew open, and Silas emerged along with her, her in the past, that is. Linked arm in arm, the happy couple dressed for a special night out entered Mario’s, the source of the delectable aroma and their favorite family-owned Italian restaurant. Silas looked stylish and handsome with his signature red and black ensemble from his premier fashion line and his miniature afro, perfectly styled. Nylah wore a silver sequined cocktail dress, stunning as always.
Nylah, the observer, peeked through the window, watching her past self and Silas laugh while enjoying pasta dishes with large meatballs, side garden salads, and an overflowing wicker basket of garlic bread. Silas refilled her wine glass, staring into her eyes so tenderly. From the outside looking in, Nylah recalled this moment like yesterday, yet it was two years in the past. She missed those days when she and Silas were unstoppable. He was the son of a big wig entertainment lawyer to several A-list celebrities and a rising celebrity on his own, debuting his Men’s fashion line in New York that spring of 2019. An exotic dancer at the most refined gentleman’s club in the city and a popular video vixen starring in rap music videos, she knew their destiny meant forever.
Inside the restaurant, the kitchen doors swung open, and the owner brought out a beautiful two-layer birthday cake decorated in roses and placed it in front of Nylah. Beyond the glass, the Nylah that was looking in smiled, remembering her 28th birthday fondly. The wait staff and Silas sang Happy Birthday to her as she blew out her candles.
The flames went out, and Nylah stepped on a flashing green tile, shifting to a different scene.
Nylah was at the strip club in a more contemporary setting. She recognized that it was about one month ago by the long bronze extensions flowing down her back. She always wondered how she looked on stage, but it felt weird to experience the moment. Perhaps it was because she knew that the girl on stage was not happy, just going through the motions of everyday life. Although she still calls his cell, Silas refuses to answer. Their relationship went south a couple of months after the first anniversary when he realized Nylah would not change.
Rich fantasy life is healthy in moderation, but Nylah took things too far, living in denial. Being the center of attention with a mind clouded by intoxication was a deadly combination draining her life force. It not only was draining hers, but it was also taking Silas down. He tried to warn her about her friends, the devious drug-using divas that blew up his cell phone behind her back, but she refused to open her eyes. He loved her, so he gave her a second chance and a third, but the emotions felt forced after a while, and he realized that Nylah had become a stranger. So he finally let her go.
Nylah’s stage performances were magnetic. She had a way of connecting with her crowd. Her upper body strength on the stripper pole and the hypnotic way she moved her hips made lonely men empty their wallets on more than one occasion. Performing is thrilling at the moment, except when the lights dwindle and the music ends. Then reality hits, and she becomes a shell of a person again. Her solution: an after-hours party with the girls, some drugs for the pick me up and photos, lots of pictures for the press. After all, the excitement and all of the attention kept her from dealing with reality.
These emotions were far too much for Nylah to endure, so she tapped on another flashing green dance tile, sending her to an outer space scene on Saturn.
Instead of just being a passerby, this time, Nylah participated in the act. Nothing here was familiar, but it was exhilarating, perhaps the pinnacle of her galaxy hallucination. She began dancing like she never had. It was magical looking down upon earth with the moon in clear eyes’ view. She twirled round and round, but before she became dizzy, she spotted Silas dancing in the distance. He looked dapper in a silver suit matching the stars shining directly overhead. Nylah forgot how talented he was on the dance floor and put in her best steps, pirouetting across the grain, moving in closer. Despite her efforts, she could only get within a couple of feet of proximity as it felt like an invisible barrier prevented her from thoroughly engaging.
Continuing to spin around, suddenly Nylah’s feet felt light and airy. Looking down, she realized that she was not dancing on solid ground but a gaseous substance. Just beyond her reach, Silas’s body rose like steam, floating slowly away. He drifted toward Saturn’s brown and gold frozen rings, landing on a giant boulder of ice. He turned around, knowing Nylah was watching, and waved. It was not a hello- how- are- you kind of wave, but rather the fond final farewell type. He placed a set of headphones over his ears, turned away, and began to dance, moving farther along the glistening rings of ice.
Nylah panicked, attempting to lunge forward, but the invisible force field still held her back. As she let out a shrilling wail, a gust of wind blew her backward. Extracted in a vacuum, she spiraled down, landing back on Earth.
“Nylah,” Yasmine screamed, splashing her flushed cheeks with cold water. “Girl, you started freaking out on the dance floor when you saw Silas."
Nylah held onto the ladies’ room vanity, steadying her balance. “Silas is here?” she asked.
“Uh, yeah,” Yasmine chuckled. “You were cool until you saw him dancing with some girl, then you started yowling like a sick cat. I had to snatch you up and drag you in here to calm you down. Don’t worry about it though. The galaxy heightened your emotions. After all, it was your first time. Why don’t you break out some powder? A few lines will fix you up in a jiffy!”
Nylah paused for a moment with her face buried in her hands before ripping open her purse, removing a vial, and staggering to the toilet to flush the white dust away. “Never again,” she cried before tossing Yasmine her key to their shared dressing room at the strip club. Then she bolted out of the ladies’ room straight for the exit.
Silas leaned against his Mercedes, smoking a cigarette when Nylah raced by him. Yasmine was hot on her trail. He stepped forward, grabbing Yasmine’s arm forcing her to stop.
“what’s wrong, Yasmine?” Silas snickered. “Did Nylah finally see you for the snake that you are?’
“She left me, Silas,” Yasmine sobbed. “She threw the club key at me and ran. I think our friendship is over. What will I do?”
“Well, for starters, Silas shouted, you can suck it up and deal with it just like I had to when I lost her. You and I both know that you are nothing but poison to her. If you care about her even a little then you will leave her alone. Matter of fact, get your own life together and stop spending it dancing around in circles.
Silas released Yasmine’s arm, hopped into his Mercedes, and sped away into the night.