Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Waiting for it to be 10 o'clock

"The Twins"

The show was scheduled for eight o’clock, but hardly anyone showed up until ten, and then too many of them came at once, fresh off the green line, dragging their big rubber soles across the gnawed-up Fourteenth Street sidewalk. Some charged right down the middle of the street in little packs, cars and other real life bending out of their way. They looked just how I thought they would; weird, but calculatedly so; self-conscious, tense, blinking too much. The boys wore V-necks that dipped to their navels, all serious, grasping the bony hands of wide-eyed girls with their faces painted, wearing shreds so tangled I couldn’t distinguish tops from bottoms or fabric from skin. There were no fat girls.

I had changed my outfit nine or ten times before leaving the house in ass-hugging black spandex and spike heels and a man’s shirt buttoned down — my brother Neil’s. But compared to the rest of them lined up at the door blowing grey rings and smacking their bubblegum, I looked positively mundane.

The fact was, though, we were all obsessed, competitively obsessed, eying each other above smeared eyeliner, brandishing our tattoos, our cigarettes, our devotion. This was the music that gave us air to breathe, and here we all were, inhaling it and watching each other do it, waiting on our toes for The Twins.

Inside the big black room, everyone knew everything. “I was there in ’97 when they collaborated with Prince” and “I was there when they first performed Big Boys,” and “I was there that time they didn’t even show.” Seemed like everyone knew more about The Twins than I did. The notion hit me with a pang of regret and sadness. But now we were all together, waiting for them together, waiting, waiting for them to come onto the stage.

And they did.

I don’t know how, since I had planned it all along, to be up front by the speaker, but I was not up front, I was ebbed out of the way by the sweating, moiling crowd. The air was thick and dark and I was in the middle.

The Twins jerked around like fast dreams, their faces and bodies in fragments through the big, tall heads ahead of me. Cuba was baby-faced, tube-top and jeans, his hands in his pockets, hitting his forehead against the microphone. “Yes, yes!” we called out. The thumping shook my scull, just like his, and I watched the vibrations of our bodies blur us together, his oblong nose into mine, upturned, his white hair and bluish lips translucent on top of mine. Nina clicked into her microphone and held her arms up and there was sweat down the seam of her jersey. She said, “Thank you for coming, it’s nice.” Boys screamed, and some people dropped to their knees, reaching for her. Others passed out.

“I love you!” someone cried after a song finished. “No I love you!” yelled someone else, and, “No, me, me, me, it’s me who loves you the most!”

“That’s nice,” said Nina, blinking slowly. “That’s nice of you.” It wasn’t nice, I knew, to say something like I Love You, when everyone felt it. It wasn’t fair. I loved them too, but my voice was too quiet to say it. It wasn’t fair. I loved them too.

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