I stared down at the bubbles floating around in my cup, wondering if they were, in fact, carbonation, or if something had dropped from the ceiling and caused a commotion. (Then I thought perhaps I'd be better off not knowing.) My shoes were sticking to the basement floor, and my brain was not yet so clouded that the sound didn't make my stomach turn. We stood in the corner, beneath the pipes making disconcerting noises, contorting every so often to ensure successful evasion of the walls.
Not that any of this was particularly unusual. Trying to avoid letting my elbow touch yours... that was less usual. Being afraid to speak to you as we stood alone in the corner of a dark basement... that had only started making headlines a few weeks earlier (when we realized that whatever fault-line we had been sliding across had finally left us disconnected).
I peeled my feet off the floor, left then right, then left again and right again because there was nothing better to do except perhaps be entertained for a moment by the couple prematurely inebriated on the empty dance floor.
You had disappeared. Your eyes were disconnected from the scene, your elbows pulled in tightly to your sides as though you expected a guy with an ether-soaked cloth and a scalpel to drag you into a closet and leave you without a kidney.
Your facial features twitched along with the movement of your thumbs on the touch screen that had given you more cause for attention than any person in the room, and we were both losing patience. I broke and spoke. You broke and screamed.
My grip on my cup tightened, the ridges leaving marks on the pads of my fingers, the beer inside forced toward the rim. I felt my tendons melt and turn my body into a stack of useless bone and tissue, my shoulders frozen in tension, my eyes retreating into my head like a trapped homecoming princess in a horror movie. I watched from within as my mouth made noise, as my feet pivoted and carried me up the stairs, as I sunk wordlessly into a stranger's couch.