Thursday Night at Club Low
me I’m not really happy right now.
me Eh, it’s not important. It’s better if I just forget about it.
him No, you told me you’re not happy, now you have to tell me why. This is like what you did earlier today.
me OK, you’re right. I didn’t like it when you invited me out to the balcony and then you started talking on your phone.
him I had a message! It was my parents. I have to talk to them when they call me.
me OK, OK, you’re right. My bad.
I have yet not figured out how to explain to men that if I don’t like something it doesn’t mean they have done something wrong. I can’t just be unhappy about something. To them, emotions equal accusations. That was why I didn’t want to talk about it. I don’t know how to explain it correctly.
me Sometimes I’m worried that I can’t explain it correctly. That’s why I didn’t tell you what was on my mind before. But I’ll try now. This week, I have been feeling really inspired about my writing, and part of that has to do with you. I have to overhaul the whole exposition again, of Dance Is Love. It’s going to be much better. It’s going to be about being human, not just about being a dancer.
him What does that have to do with me?
me You helped me realize that when you read my writing and said, “Well, I don’t know these people so I don’t really know what this is about.”
him But Liz. I’m not a writer. Don’t change anything just because of what I say. I don’t want you to have to do so much more work.
During this conversation we were descending the hill from Malasaña to Plaza de España, Taj leading the way for his group of seven or ten or so friends, me walking fast to keep up with him. Now we arrived at Club Low, and many machinations occurred around getting all of us in, paying admission, collecting our drink vouchers, checking our coats, dealing with the staff who wanted us to clear out of the entrance area pronto.
As Brad and one of our British friends - they went ahead of us in line - talked with the door gal for what seemed like a long time, I gazed at the mulitpaneled wall of mirrors and dangling disco balls heralding the entrance to the club. Down half a flight of stairs a vast smooth black floor beckoned. Mirrored rectangular pillars reflected flashes from the broad blocks of red light above each bar. The music, naturally, pounded.
When we all finally entered the club I grabbed Taj by the shoulders:
Let me try to explain it to you one more time, OK?
me You inspire me. This is good. Be happy for me. I’m an artist. That means I want to tell the truth, I want to do it right, and I’m not afraid of work. The work is the easy part. You know that. For me the hard part is to stop writing.
him I don’t understand. I’m not an artist. I can catch fish, but I’m not an artist.
me I know, silly, that’s why I’m explaining it to you. It’s ok.
The look on his face was so dubious that I wanted him to explain that.
me What’s the problem?
him I don’t understand. I’m trying to understand, but I don’t.
me It doesn’t matter. I’m happy.
him You are?
His demeanor communicated disbelief, but I thought I could see a hint of a smile on his beautiful face. I stepped into him and kissed him. His arm went around me.
I guess because we were in Spain, no one gave us a hard time about our making out in public, not even Americans. Taj’s attention thrills me. Later, as I walked aimlessly past Taj and Brad, who were holding a tête-a-tête near the bar, Taj suddenly reached out and grabbed a piece of my hair. I went and stood next to him and he put his arm around me. When Brad stopped talking for a second Taj said to me, “I’m going to finish this drink, and then we’ll go dance, OK?”
Later than that, the whole group of us collected on the packed and dark dance floor, waiting for the much-vaunted D.J. to begin his set. If Brad wanted something, like Taj’s water bottle or some tobacco, he felt felt free to tap Taj on the back even as Taj was kissing me. I thought it was cute. Brad and Taj are really old friends. I like witnessing their interaction. I’m trying to think of two friends whose presence makes me feel similarly relaxed and intrigued but I can’t.
Before the featured D.J. started, though, Taj took me back to their place because I was exhausted. We were both hungry. I don’t know what time it was when he called me from the livingroom and I came out bearing the bowl of hummus he’d made, two morsels of pita bread stuck in the space left by what I had already eaten. I put the bowl on the table. I came into him and he wrapped me close with one arm while he smoked a cigarette with the other. I kissed his neck. In between pulls he kissed me on the mouth. The sliding door to the terrace stood open. My body felt the cold air at my back and the fire that is Taj.
In Spanish people ask “Do you have fire?” (“tienes fuego?”) for their cigarette. I heard him ask this of Brad several times during the evening, but it’s OK because he often uses Taj’s papers and tobacco.
In America, you could never smoke a hand-rolled cigarette, because everyone would assume it is a joint.
Taj got back into bed with me and kissed me hungrily. “I can’t get enough of you,” he said. I had to sleep, I had to get up for class in a few hours. But I felt the same. He held me close and murmured, “Baby,” which to me is the most beautiful sound possible.