The pony tail was the first to come crashing down. All eight hours of confinement and utter obedience, flying wildly till they, of their own accord, decided to settle freely beneath the nape of my neck. The blue checkered shirt was next, it and its matching blue pant carelessly settling atop the confusion that was my laundry basket; two weeks of Mr. Johnson’s annoying complaints, five days of Cassandra’s saliva stained sputters and three days of Mrs. Cook’s authoritative shrills. Underpants came right after, its humid warmness a taunting reminder of Kyle Jenkins stooping over his desk to retrieve a fallen pen, then finally, shoes, the unassigned recorder of the places where my feet had trod.
I stepped in to the shower then, sighing blissfully as the water soothed the irritated surface of my skin. Each droplet was a ball of redemption, cleansing, erasing the parts of me I could not physically shed. When I stepped out, it was as a new creature. Old things had passed away; behold, all things were about to become new. Sequin red dress clinging possessively onto my body would mold it into perfection, six inch silvered heels would lift me into the haze of desire, ebony black Peruvian wig would crown my head with exquisite beauty, ruby red lipstick would, finally, paint on my lips, an unmatched air of confidence. RIP Rachel the receptionist, all hail Rachel the sexy “muthafucka”.
It’s beautiful out tonight, warm but not humid, breezy but not chilly. We park our cars two blocks away, and begin walking majestically towards the club. Tracy, Jada, Ashley and I. A convulsion of stares trail us as we walk, and I eagerly embrace them; this is food for my starving soul. Spending 12 hours of my life, each day behind the shadow of drudgery has sentenced me to a fate of invisibility and “zombeic” rigidity. These few moments of spectacle on Friday nights are my only source of sustenance; I fear a lack of it would lead to my evaporation, I fear even more that in the event of this, no one would notice. Ashley is not as welcoming of the attention, she seems lost in this chorus of whistles. I can sense her intense analysis of the situation, how desperately she seeks to understand the cause of this robotic reaction that seems to infect each person we walk past. I can’t blame her; her entire life, she has been a prisoner to religious and societal conformities. I can only hope that she finds a befitting identity after her experience here.
The club is a modern one that fits perfectly into this façade of organized residential living. Once we arrive at the doors, we go in, making no attempt to offer any form of identification, we don’t need to. The bouncer recognizes Tracy by her breasts, she’s the divorcee who bares it all to get regular attention, Jada by her voluptuous hips, she’s the single lady who thinks skin tight leggings would get her a man, I by my glaring red lipstick, and Ashley, he doesn’t recognize Ashley, her conservative maxi dress and dark toned hijab seem out of place. He requests for her ID, stares at it briefly, then lets her in, shrugging his shoulders as if to say “to each his own”.
Flashing neon lights greet us as we step into the building, trailed by drunken slurs and the stench of humid sweat. We find our way to the bar immediately, swinging our derrieres as we walk. Tracy and Jada get snatched up by some drunk college boys as soon as they get in, not me. I attract a certain type, exotic CEO’s. I flip my hair seductively and stand by the bar, twirling my fingers in a cup of margarita. I can feel Ashley staring at me, eyes unfocused, like she has just seen an alien. She squints, as if a clearer view of me would help her decipher my action, rationalize our presence here. Her eyes soften, in a surrendering plea. Poor child, she wants guidance, direction. I want to tell her that she doesn’t need my direction, that here, there are no rules, no burdens of religious or societal confinement, but I don’t. I ignore her instead, she has to do this on her own. Disappointed, she proceeds towards the dance floor. A bevy of intoxicated dancers welcome her as she begins to move, peeling layers of naivety as they spin her around. She gradually becomes one with the music, master of her action, I smile to myself, it works better when you find your own way.
A feathered touch on my shoulder draws me back to reality, a familiar feathered touch. The man standing beside me is tall and extremely handsome. He is my boss, the same one who passes me on the way to the elevator every morning, leaving the scent of Calvin Klein on his trail, but he doesn’t know this, doesn’t recognize the plain, messy haired employee who gathers the pile of paper at the front desk every morning. I don’t attempt to remind him, he may employ Rachel the receptionist but as far as I’m concerned, Rachel the sexy “muthafucka” is a stranger. I down my martini and lead him to dance floor, knees bending, breasts flapping, buttocks wriggling. His arms grab me hastily, groping, feeling, grinding, our sweat congealing as two become one on the dance floor. There is no patience in our movement, no steadiness, each pound of skin upon skin is laced with extreme agitation, as if the next second would be our last. In a few minutes, dawn would rear its ugly head, we would pack our belongings and shamefully return to whence we had come from, all strangers unaware of how close we had once been beneath the cloak of darkness.
This was actually the creative part of my final paper for my American Gothic class ( if you want to read the critique about how “Facade” makes the club a Gothic space, comment below and I’ll post it.
PS: the video is the first thing above, it might take a while to load and appear so if you didn’t see it when you started reading, scroll back up, it should be there now. Or just watch it on my Instagram @lilianogbuefi
I can’t wait to hear what you think about it. Please comment below!!! And thank you all for being so supportive during my few weeks of “non- inspiration”. Ya girl got her groove back on now. New post same time next week but in the mean time, here’s to Rachel the strong, confident, sexy “muthafucka”.
Red Dress by Blessing Ogbuefi