Last Night In A Foreign City


Twenty of us dressed in the best clothing we had bought in Madrid: skin-tight khaki, pointed leather shoes. Toasts of cheap cava. A waitress offers to take our photo and someone mentions how this will be the first and last photo we will take together. December air slaps bare legs. A club door. 15 euro charge. Katie forgets her purse and so I pay even though I will never see her again. Do I know this? Even now, do I know this? The music is sticky and clings to the soles of our shoes. A karaoke machine. Cheap tubes of vodka. Body shots, the saltiness of belly button. I have not held wrists so firm. Levels of neon fog. We laugh at the tourists because somehow we stopped being tourists. Dancing. The first tears dabbed by more drinks. Embrace. We think Spanish for old time’s sake. Cuando te vas, voy a recordarte. Another picture. Electronic flames. The picture that we will all frame because most of us are smiling. Tia’s eyes closed. We’ll think of frozen us with affection. Bumping and pulsing and rioting. Glow sticks. Yo quiero bailar toda la noche bailabailabailando ba. And I just want CLINK to tell BOOM that CRASHBOOMBOOM love you. In all the photos we are sweating. Strobe lights like the freeze frame memories I’m left with: the snapshot of Emma’s elbow, Mike’s pumping fist, Robbie grinding Chessie grinding Joanna on top of a couch. In the morning how do we clean this up? How do we sop up the sweat and pack up the little black dresses? What do we take and what do we leave? Who do we leave? Am I just a shove to the back corner of a closet kind of afterthought or a memory worth a hanger and space along the rack? Where do we live in each other’s minds? Is it a loss, blurs, the smoothing together of faces and eyes? Do I remember what Jonah looks like or do I just remember him like I want to remember him? For the rest of my life I’ll sew these blackholes into the linings of all my jackets, will carry them with me even as I steer for stronger winds. There is a blast of sound a flash of light and a heavy door. Vomited back onto cobbled streets we are: we scatter like drops of mercury, like the ants of a kicked hill, scurrying, trying to find one another again.

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