Stumbling wildly through the crowd, he searches without seeing for a familiar face. His heart is pounding in his chest due to a combination of the drugs he has ingested and the heavy bass line of the music booming out of the vastly oversized but nonetheless inadequate speakers.
Acutely aware of the sweat pouring down his face he pushes past girls with pink hair and dark eyeliner, boys in high tops and damp motif tee shirts. All of them are smiling, beaming even, almost unnaturally so. Fleetingly he catches himself thinking the world’s problems could be solved if everyone just popped an ecstasy pill once in a while.
His mouth is dry. This needs addressing instantly. He stops in his tracks and fishes deep inside his pocket, from which he retrieves a soggy packet of chewing gum. As soon as the gum hits his tongue his taste buds come alive, like a thousand nerve endings hooked up to ten thousand volts. Satisfied with this sensation he continues on his path across the dance floor, heading for the exit that will take him to fresh air.
Once outside he bums a cigarette from a sweaty wide-eyed boy in a wife beater vest with a whistle around his neck and neon paint daubed on his cheeks. He takes two drags, inhaling deeply each time, then coughs and throws the cigarette to the ground. It wasn’t what he wanted. And now the sweat is cooling on his skin and he is cold. Maybe he doesn’t want to be outside after all. But inside was so hectic, what should he do?
Then suddenly, she is there; real and solid and perfect in every way. His mouth hurts for smiling; such is his relief at finally having been found. This is what he wants, he’s never been more sure of anything as he is in this very moment.
She takes his hand.
And he is free.