It happens sometimes that one feels like he has to do something, and then he just stands staring in the middle of nothing, with a cocktail in his hand and in the sad background of a latin-american song that tells “Baila conmigo mujer / Que la noche solamente comienza”. Well, it just happened to me tonight, and that song was playing louder than ever.
I was at a party held at an hotel somewhere between Gianicolo and Trastevere, in a semi-desert place where you could only hear the noise of the music. All around, the most silent desolation of the summer, like you can expect when you go around Rome in July. The light of the street lights contrasted with the effects of the colorful shines coming out of the pool garden of the hotel: it really seemed to me some kind of heavenly vision, a promise land that I could reach with my friends and finally forget the summer exam session.
People were much older than me, and as soon as I glanced the garden full of old-fashioned ladies pretending to look like they were twenty years younger, I realized that night would have been an unconventional one. I started moving through the crowd, trying to aim at the bar and at least find some consolation in the eyes of the bartender. I had already lost my friends, and I had decided to spend the rest of the night watching the people move in front of me. I found it funny, to see how desperate middle-aged women can be in their effort to find a soul mate in such an exotic context.
Then, something like an angelic vision appeared in front of me. It was a young woman, the only creature of my own age on that floor. And it seemed she didn’t really care about all those aged guys around her. She was dancing as I had never seen anyone dancing. When I first saw her, I suddenly realized that there was something incredibly strange but fascinating in that girl, probably the short straight hair, or the way she used to sing with a high voice in the middle of the crowd. I will never understand how some people can remember the words of every song they happen to hear, but I know that those kind of people always make a great impression on me. By the way, it was a pure coincidence that I found myself in front of such a cute girl dancing as I have never seen anyone dance. I tried to resist to that terrible reggaeton tune and to copy some of her moves.
I couldn’t find my friends, and so I decided to step one move closer and ask her what her name was. I don’t remember it now, as everything happened too fast and I was probably too concentrated on trying not to lose view of her in that sweaty mess that was all around us. She seemed happy to meet me, and told me her name in a polite way. It was a short name, with many vowels and also a sweet end.
I didn’t care anymore about the music and I started showing off all the most incredible moves I had learnt since middle school: the Thor’s hammer, a strange kind of moonwalk, the angel’s jump and my favorite one, the horse’s thing that PSY does in Gangnam Style. I don’t know how really good I was, but that was effective, as the girl started to laugh, and then took my hand and shouted: “Do you want a smoke?”
I smoked three times in my life, but those are the occasions in which I feel I could even become an active daily smoker. Trying not to cough, I listened quietly to the story of her life and I discovered that she was taking drama classes and that she found the Demons by Dostoevskij incredibly interesting. I can remember the smell of a mojito that was coming out of her mouth, and in that moment, for a few seconds, I looked at the stars and asked to the gods of reggaeton to give me an occasion and to transform me into an expert in the French cinema of the ‘60s. It was Godard, the one she mentioned, or maybe it was Gauguin. By the way, it doesn’t really matter.
I was there, hearing those meaningful words that sounded inside my head as the bass in a Charles Mingus instrumental piece. I could hear her voice go up and down, the small movements of the lips, try to guess the perfume she used, and I also noticed the small characteristics of her language, the way she pronounced certain words with a lower voice than others.
She seemed so different from me, and still I must have thought that in some way we could have established some kind of contact, our story could have gone on, starting from that night. I had inevitably become an idealistic and a romantic, and I could not avoid imagining a bright future in front of me.
For a moment, I thought I could have kissed her, despite that terrible music and the loads of sweat I was producing. In that specific moment, I saw her head coming a bit closer, the eyes blinking, and I don’t know if she was touching my hand or it was just an indistinct movement from the crowd. I stared at her eyes, and that was really the most intense moment I had lived since the beginning of that depressing semester. It was like I could go through her eyes, and a completely different life was waiting for me on the other side. I really was one step away from the fulfilling that dream. One step, moving my head forward, and I could have finally lost myself forever into her eyes.
Then the moment when you feel you should do something but finally you don’t came, I just moved my eyes away from hers for a while, probably to check what time it was, and when they came back and looked for her again, they just couldn’t find her.
The music kept on playing those same awful words. And I too was feeling the desire to disappear much like the smoke of the cigarettes she was smoking.
That night I didn’t find her anymore.
I left half an hour later, with a terrible mojito flavor coming out of my stomach, my head bumping for the music and the desire not to come back anymore. I only hope she left with a good memory of my moves.
When I came back home, laying into my bed as if I was at the end of the most terrible and exciting nightmare at the same time, sweating under the light of my bed lamp, I started thinking of her eyes, that appeared into my head as the lights of a strange kaleidoscope.
I was closing my eyes and finally getting some sleep, when I thought of some lines from the Argentinian writer Roberto Cortàzar: “Look through the people, and you will see patterns as pretty as can be”.