“Forgive me,” the man said as he walked toward her. She felt frightened but didn’t move away, the room crowded and his eyes overwhelming. He stepped close to her, so only she could hear him.
She shuddered and looked around for help. The lights on the dance floor pulsed, turning the writhing bodies beneath them into cartoon images from a five-cent cinema. She could scream, but who would hear? She could ask the man standing behind her to make the one in front go away. Somehow, she thought, if she did the man behind might have the same face as the one who just placed his hand around her waist.
“Don’t worry, I don’t want to hurt you. I know you’re frightened, but I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
“Why me?” she asked him.
“Why the rain? Why heat? Why breath?” He responded.
“What do you want from me?” She asked. It sounded so cliche to her. She pulled at her red, beaded dress until it rose off of her feet, out of the way if she needed to run.
He caught sight of her foot.
“Because of who you are,” he said. “I didn’t ask for you to love me, but you do. I can tell by your eyes. I always could.”
The man bent low and lifted her foot from the ground. Her heart pulsed faster, the veins in her throat growing larger, making it hard to breath. He slipped her shoe from her foot and stood again.
“This is something you won’t need where we’re going.”
“Where are we going?” she asked, surprised at her voice, a breathy whisper. She raised her other foot up behind her and slid the remaining shoe from her foot herself.
He was handsome, but older. When she looked closer he seemed a thousand years older, although time had only left a little grey in his hair, and worn soft grooves into his smile. She wanted to kiss him.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said. “We’re already here.”
He lifted her and carried her to the dance floor, out into the crowd, the breath, the smoke, the sweat, and no one saw as he did what he did to her.
The next morning she awoke in her bed not remembering how she had gotten there, only knowing she was in love with a vague image of a man she’d already almost forgotten. She hoped she would see him again but no longer had any way to know if she did, her eyes missing as they were.