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21st Century Cure

The entire atmosphere is invasive, forcing into you and capturing your core. The smell assaults your senses, a heady mixture of hormones, sweat and something tangibly sweet that settles on your tongue. The air is hung with moisture like a chlorine-laden pool, warm and sticky. And the sound—the sound is a creature that roars and growls, pounds and vibrates. You are in its womb, rocked by its pulse and swayed by its beat.

Your body becomes not your own as soon as you give your money, clutched in your sweaty palm, to the tired lady shoving kids through the line. Your body becomes something that transcends your consciousness, a mere vessel for sensation. Your body becomes forbidden fruit, ripe and full of promise in a scant tee-shirt and jean shorts. The boys surrounding the dance floor know this and openly stare, some admiring and some leering, all desiring. You are meat, you are fruit, you are meant to be captured and eaten.

The dance floor of the under-21 club is already bursting at the seams, brimming with a writhing mass of squirming, amebic organisms. You hang at the edge of your small group, the other girls eagerly shoving. The boys reach and grab from the edges, hoping to snag you out of the mix. They have no faces, these boys; they are as inanimate as the beams that support the warehouse-like building. They are nothing but a few songs and lewd whispers that flush your skin: Ooh baby, so hot, all night. They are forbidden, they are dangerous, they are meant to be ensnared and thrust away.

You finally slide into the dance floor next to your friends, their eyes half-closed and their bodies furiously pumping. The beat grabs your hips and sways them, lifts your head and swings your hair. You are hesitant at first, but then something in your chest releases with a breath and you are moving. You are pounding, you are pumping, you are bending, you are grinding. You push towards the ceiling and the swirling, palpitating strobes; you press to the floor and the whirling lights. Layers of thoughts, worries, and hidden insecurities slide away with the motion. The light on the floor is splatter of red and you see your best friend’s bloody wrist—you flick your head and it disappears. The vibration in your legs is the texted apology your ex-boyfriend never sent—you lift on your toes and the feeling falls away. You are weightless, you are flying, you are swimming, you are sighing.

A boy comes up behind you and roughly presses against you. You are a good girl, a nice girl, but you feel so vibrant and sexual. You force him to move to your beat, enticing and teasing until you’ve had enough and push him away. Then, a boy steps up behind you and slides against you almost shyly. The music slows, and he is gentle. He doesn’t thrust or push, he moves and you move with him. There is tension between you, strung tantalizingly tight. He lifts your arms and holds you aloft; you hold his hands in an appropriate place. Your shirt rides up; his hands cup your stomach. You are warmth, you are energy, you are the electricity in your blood.

The song ends, he moves on. There are others, countless bodies without faces that you grate against for the sake of sensation. You close your eyes entirely, sinking into oblivion. You grind until you are ground to the bone, like a rock smoothed by rough waters. Your head is full of light and sound. Times passes in intervals of dancing and resting, laughing and strutting. Soon, the dance floor is clearing. You remain at its center, your body moving of its own accord as tired numbness curdles in your limbs. You cannot stop. This is your drug. This is the space to release all of your teenage, 21st century problems. Cutting, burning, anorexia, bulimia, competition, college, athleticism, sexual tension, questioning sexuality, mental stability, cyber attacks, whispers behind backs—it all drips down your legs with your sweat onto the dirty club dance floor.
You feel vibrant, you feel free, you feel desired, you feel endless. You are eternal, you are immortal, you are seventeen and alive. This is your 21st century cure.



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