Always an Adventure

We parked. The address was 9th @Folsom. That’s exactly what he had written on the napkin the night we met at Cafe du Nord. I hadn’t thought anything of it when he gave it to me, but now that the night was here, I realized that covered a lot of area. I looked at Emily. “Are we going to be able to find this?” She had no doubts we would find it; she was interested in having him paint a picture for her; we got out of the car.


We crossed the street. We had seen several people hanging out on the sidewalk as we drove by; we assumed that must be the art gallery/opening/party we were meant to attend. See, Michael was an artist. The artist we met at Cafe du Nord. Who convinced us we must come to his first showing. That he couldn’t talk about his art; we just had to experience it. So I had kept the napkin he had scribbled on for two weeks now. And truthfully, had forgotten about the event, until Emily reminded me last night. “That’s right. That’s tomorrow. Of course I’m still going…” 


The sign over the door read New Langton Arts. We ducked in. Funky beats reached our ears from the next room. We noticed a rope across the stairway with the words “Gallery Now Closed” strung from it. Damn. We had missed the show. Which surprised me, because when I had asked Michael how long the event would last he took back the napkin and scribbled, “Bedtime.”


We wandered into the darkened room, a theater of sorts. The DJ was spinning. A group of probably a dozen people danced, twirled, moved, gyrated, in front of us. This was not simply dancing. This was carefree movement, not afraid of judgment, doing whatever your body felt like doing movement. The dude in the blue suit with the heavy glasses jerking this way and that. The gray haired woman, twirling, twitching her shoulders, pulling her body through the space. The teenager with the massive tattoo on her lower back, bopping back and forth. The blonde, kicking high, dropping to the floor, pulling out never seen before breakdancing moves. Two women twirled another, urging her white skirt higher and higher and higher into the air. We watched, mesmerized.


Emily turned to me, wide eyed. I stared at her for a moment. “Are we in the right place?” I asked. “I don’t know,” she replied. “I don’t see Michael anywhere….”


We watched the dancers some more.


“Look at them, Lori. Everyone is doing exactly what they want to. There’s no judgment here. Let’s dance.”


I looked at her. “I know. This is quite bizarro. I feel like I’ve entered a sci-fi movie. Are you sure you want to dance? I feel like, I don’t know, I feel like, we’ve entered a strange place, Emmy.”


“Do you feel like everyone’s tripping on something but you’re not?”


“Exactly! But it’s fun to watch.”


“I really want to dance. But I really don’t want to at the same time. You know in the movies, when everyone is going about their business, and then someone attempts something they shouldn’t, and the soundtrack sounds like everyone going silent and a record being scratched?”


I stared at her, urging her to continue with my stare.


“I think that’s what would happen if we went and danced. The music would stop. The dancing would stop. Everyone would stop and stare. Screeeeeeeeeeetch.”


I laughed wholeheartedly. “Emmy….” I started to say she was being silly. But then I realized she wasn’t. “Let’s do it. Let’s dance.” As the words left my mouth, the people left the dance floor. Only one brave soul remained. The man in the blue suit. He jerked. He gyrated. He was in the spotlight. He was everyone’s private dancer.


I turned to Emmy. At the same time we said, “No. Not now.”


“Emily, I think we’re in the wrong place.”


She laughed. “Let’s ask someone.” As we headed for the lobby, I noticed people sitting in the back row of chairs. “Psst. Emmy. There’s Michael. Right there. We’re in the right place.”


She looked long and hard. “No, he looks too stretched out. He wasn’t that long, Lori.” I stared again. “Hey, he’s getting up. Let’s wait here for a moment.”


He walked by. Very loudly I whispered, “Michael!”  He didn’t respond. I thought maybe he hadn’t heard me. “MICHAEL!” He turned to me. “I’m not Michael, but it’s a nice name…”


We went to the lobby. Emmy asked the ticket takers/bouncers/information desk if there had been an art show earlier. No, there had been a performance earlier, here’s a brochure, but no art show.


We took the brochures and left. “We WERE in the wrong place!” I exclaimed. We walked a few more steps and found Michael’s studio. Before entering I turned to Emmy, “I love going out with you. It’s always an adventure…”

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