It’s a moment that actually happens to her: she can trace back to how she used to be, she remembers her being afraid of almost everything: walking home by herself at night, being poor and stuck and awkward, being watched by other people, small talk. But it doesn’t happen now and she’s on her own separate plane, no touch nor ounce of fear. She doesn’t care. It’s an amazing thing: meeting someone, making a connection, letting someone talk to you. Corvus ends the conversation with the boy she doesn’t know by getting up, carefully browsing choosing and playing a record, and dancing by herself in the middle of the room. Lost in the thrill of no special occasion, the song beeps in her chest, and Corvus releases. The dance floor lights up, other bodies swarm around, the hardwood floor vibrates beneath her feet to the bass, signals and tingles rise to her brain. The boy watches from the couch a little open-mouthed, as Perry enters the room with two drinks and with Michelle right behind him. Michelle starts dancing like she was already here, surveying the ether. Corvus keeps dancing and touches Michelle’s ear and says, Sometimes, life gives you a moment. Smoothly, she rolls her pupils and barely nods.
That boy over there was trying to flirt with me.
Michelle asks, Which boy?
Perry sits down on the couch next to the boy and lights a cigarette. The music is at a rise, the bodies ahead of them in the neon lit, smoky dark sway bump and grind against each other; Corvus backs up and pushes against Michelle against the vibrating wall. They mouth the chorus together.
The boy says, Hey. What the fuck. He coughs from the cigarette smoke.
Perry leans back on the couch and tries to pull his phone out of his pocket but his pants are too tight. The phone makes a square bulge on the denim and Perry gestures at the shape. He says, Pants are too tight.
The boy says, Dude. We’re inside. He keeps coughing.
Perry says, I live here. This is my house. I pay a mortgage.
The boy says, Okay.
Okay, says Perry. Perry drinks from his cup and looks ahead.
Michelle, close to Corvus’ ear in the fuzzy dark, says, I think that dude is talking to Perry.
The boy rubs his hands together and says, You should be mindful about your guests. He waves away the smoke.
Perry slowly turns his head around and says, I don’t know you. Smoke pours and cycles through his mouth and nostrils.
Aglow, the boy clenches his fists. He tries to lunge at Perry but he is stopped by heavy hands and they hold him down on the couch, heavy hands from heavy men standing up above him. The boy looks up behind him and the men look dead serious, one gripping and digging tighter into his shoulder.
Perry says, See, that’s the thing about privilege.
The boy grimaces in abrupt pain and grips his chest; the men lift him off his seat rather effortlessly, deadpan and serene faces on the both of them. The boy’s feet are off the ground, his shadows are kicking.
Perry says, It makes you feel like the world is for you. And the world is not for you.
The boy mouths, What?
The man with the softer grip says, The world is not for you, son.
They carry him out the back door to the side streets. They open the door with his head. Perry leans back and says, Thanks, to no one in particular. The lights dim. The next song on the record is even louder, and there are more bodies, more stomachs, more legs and thighs. Perry isolates the noises and hears the pop song and the sounds of traffic outside simultaneously. Corvus sways to the couch and leans her head on Perry’s shoulder.
She says, Hi.
He says, Hi.
After two more songs, Corvus closes her eyes, and Michelle walks over, sits close, and rests her head on Corvus’ shoulder, speaking nonsense before passing out almost right away. The wind blows to no end, down to the very last drunk ass guest.