It sucks being old and white and into hip hop, and all you wanna do is dance and move and feel the beat, but you gotta take a whole lotta shit from every direction when you do, young people laughing and saying "dude, you way too old to get down," while people my own age just roll their eyes and shake their heads like I must be outta my mind to still go to the club.
But I do go, every weekend, getting all stoned and drunk in my car, and then stumbling in to the pulsating noise and neon lights, feeling creaky and arthritic at first, but then as I move towards the floor, I start feelin the beat, baba-bababa-bababababa looking down at my feet and wondering how they could possibly know what to do with no direction from me, barely understanding the lyrics of the songs, but still hearing the subliminal rage of the rappers sayin fuck alla you all white people. Now we in charge.
Most nights I dance alone, hookin up every once in a while with a random woman, swirling and whirling and synchronizing our bodies for a minute or two, then nodding and moving on.
But one night it was different. I met Kalee, though at first I thought her name was Katey cause it was really loud in the club and even though she told me her name three times I still wasn't sure, And after that I was too embarrassed to ask again.
But whatever her name was, she for sure could dance, shimmying and shaking, her young body long and slim, in tight jeans and an even tighter white tank top, pretty in an unusual, exotic way, her face long and oval, with big, round, dark eyes and glasses to match, glasses she didn't always wear, and almost seemed to use as a prop, putting them on and taking them off at random times, sometimes in mid-spin, as if she’d all of a sudden realized there was something she really wanted, or didn't want, to see. And when she was done spinning and facing me again, she’d look like a whole different person, prim and proper with them on, and dangerously wild and out of control without them. I liked her either way, mostly I liked how she moved, lithe and athletic, like a confident young deer at the height of her powers.
We danced for a long time that first night, barely saying a word, moving closer and farther away, attracted and repelled like miniature planets in a temporary solar system, connected by an invisible force that’d be broken every once in a while when one of us danced off into the crowd. And when it was her I got worried, afraid she wouldn't come back. But she always did.
At the end of the night, as the lights flickered on and off signaling last call, I finally spoke: "You're...you're fun to dance with," I said, cringing at how lame I must have sounded. But she just laughed and smiled, a big beaming smile that transformed her face from the serious mask of intensity it had been the whole time she was dancing into something softer and sweeter. But she didn’t reply, just turned and marched off into the crowd. And she was gone.
We didn't see each other again for almost a month, though I went back to the club every Friday and Saturday night hoping to run into her. And then one night there she was, looking just like before, only this time dressed all in black.
We danced again like before and we finally got to really talk afterwards, first briefly in the parking lot, and then for a long time in the diner down the street. And away from all the noise, when I could actually hear her voice, I was amazed at the almost comical contrast between her words, solemn and serious and carefully chosen, as if each was a precious gem, and the childlike timbre of her voice, high pitched, breathless, and alternately feisty and timid, like she wasn't sure whether she needed someone to take care of her or not, cause she could take care of herself, usually, except when she couldn't, like when she started telling me about her two little girls, and the jumbo mortgage on the house she'd bought with her husband six months before he suddenly dropped dead of an aneurism. And how now she was on her own, with no family to help her out, and had to kiss the asses and sometimes even more of a bunch of slimy bottom feeding scumbags just to get by.
"But I don't want your fucking pity," she said. And she didn't say any more, just sat staring down at her congealing eggs, looking pissed off, as if it was my fault her husband had died, or that I had forced her to say all that personal shit to someone she barely knew.
I hate awkward silences, so I started talking. And I went on… and on, pretty much non-stop, about random shit, anything, nothing, how hot it had been in the club, how good she looked in black. But she just sat and stared. So I kept going, and just when I had run out of inane things to say, and was finally getting to my own real shit, she cut me off:
"No offense," she said with a look that was a cross between simple annoyance and a wiseass smirk, “But what the fuck is an old white dude like you doin in a hip hop club anyway? Shouldn't you be home in bed, doing a crossword puzzle or maybe reading a book?”
I sort of did take offense. I mean how did she know I was old? But it was a good question. What the fuck was I doing in a hip hop club?
So I started to explain.