New experiences lighting the dark of night.
“Wait, this is our first date? You could have told me. I would have shaved off this ridiculous moustache.”
The coloured display patterned the night’s sky, the lights of red and blue and green dancing to the beat of life beneath the stars. Curving threads of smoke stretched out, sheer curls of delicious aroma adding to the atmosphere, a mix of comfortable memories and promises of excitement carried with them.
The crowd parted in a ring around us, scattering to discover the next amazing exhibit. As we lay side by side on the ironic sun loungers, he stared perplexed as I giggled at his mock dismay, the pale flush of his cheeks visible in the shifting rainbow glow.
“I thought you knew,” I laughed, noticing spiky bristles for the first time that night.
He sighed and pressed his head to mine, “Come on. You’ll love this.”
Fingers laced in a gentle embrace, he led me across the prismatic art field, past the gleaming acrobats, past the shadow wall and the puppet pals, past the luminescent water show, until finally we arrived at a simple silent tent, hidden at the edge of the arena. With a bow and a wave, he raised the crimson flap, ushering me forward into a secret world.
LEDs lit up the silken, shadowy space, fireflies scattered across a sea of unknown faces, bouncing to a strange and soundless beat. I stared in awe at the joy that radiated out of every blissful smile. They danced in this void with no concern for how they might be perceived, just feeling the music I couldn’t yet hear. As I looked closer, studying their shared euphoria I could see the groups. Not everyone danced to the same tune, but those who were connected shared in secret songs of their own.
A fluttering captured my heart as the excitement rose in my chest. I turned to meet his gaze, eager for this new experience. He greeted me with a broad, beaming smile and two headsets in his hands. My cheeks grew warm as he gently place one on my head. As the soft cushions covered my ears, all those within the tent faded. Our spark grew brighter, shading all else. Every beat, every motion, every moment drew us closer; our lights shining in each other’s eyes. The music pulsed through us with each touch as we fell in sync in a unique and magical way. Together we became one entity of pure ecstasy. Time stood still for us that night and I was sure it would never end.
With a final dip our playlist came to a close. He gently raised me up and held me tightly before leading my still floating form to the chestnut stool by the bar. The same scarlet silk of the tent’s interior lay covered the quaint counter, maintaining the mystery as the barkeep looked us over.
“I can find your perfect drink,” she claimed, “Do you trust me?”
No-one could truly understand without meeting her, but this woman made it impossible to say no. Was it something in her eyes and voice? Or was it perhaps something in the atmosphere, something in that perfect night that lay all my doubts rest? Whatever it was, I knew nothing could tarnish this time I had shared this night with my gentle companion. So, I did, I trusted her implicitly. With a brief conversation, she discovered our preferences, our comfortable pastimes, and our willingness to step outside of our comfort zones. It wasn’t long before a knowing smile spread across her lips. She had her answer.
Though beers and cocktail mixes lined the shelves behind her, she reached beneath the bar and revealed a crimson merlot. I never thought of myself as a wine person, neither did he, but this had been a night of new experiences for us both and I was excited for at least one more. I drew the red in with a first cautious sip. It was dry and delicate with a sweet, subtle burn. Not painful or sharp like spirits, but warm and comforting, reminiscent of snuggling by the fireside on cold winter’s morning. The perfect end to the perfect evening.
Leaving the tent behind us, we stepped out into a new and changed night. The neon had faded and the last delightful scents of delectable delicacies were gently stolen away by that of damp, earthy leaves. The pitter patter of rain kissed our cheeks, as we stared up in the darkness at the cloud speckled stars, peaking through the mist. Beneath a lime tree bower he caught my hand and his fingers traced face, my chin, my lips, halting my heart one last time as the stars winked out.