LOVE IN THE CLUB by RICHARD CHIEM

She is excited as one always is by something new, someone new. She says, The older I get the more I realize life is all about nodding at people and looking them in the eye. She says she has went through oceans and oceans of silent people. She wants to find her Gila Monster. Hernando walks into the bar disheveled as though his movements and mind are in an emotional mess, as though he feels in pieces. He has just left his wife. His face is the first of many signals.

Outside traffic grows hallow and faraway and rain pours lightly everywhere. He imagines Los Angeles in a hundred years of rain. Cars drag water on the 405. There are girls quietly drinking at the bar, drinking they say, to see into the future. Hernando has been tired all day, his limbs are sore, looking past the girls for the bartender. There is a small desire to worry about the world. The club is loud with electronic drums and percussion. Love feels like a thing people eventually learn to live without like tonsils or god.

He remembers he once wanted to take on a grizzly bear because he felt so heartbroken. She tells someone on the phone to not leave the city without saying goodbye. The bar is not a bar. The bar is only a bar. When they make eye contact for the first time it’s as though they have been waiting for each other. Hernando has a blank neutral facial expression. People swarm and mob in between and around them. She has always wanted a Gila Monster.

Someone pretty is asking Hernando if he would like to dance. She grabs and takes his hand before he answers. Inside the next room there is a pop song playing and a crystal ball. Hernando waits too long before he tells her he hates her. She cups her hands around his ears and shares her name, leaning towards him. Inside her black dress, she feels skinny and important. He talks but no one can hear him because the music is playing so loudly, the DJ is very hot tonight. He stares at the clock on the wall very blankly as though he is not really seeing it and cannot see the time. For hours there are attractive people. She wonders if she could make things easier for him, if she could make things better. Being found out, in his hands she says, Something about this room makes me love you more.

 

POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2011