by Zoe Paskett

There is only the sticky smell of vodka in the carpet. Heat is tight, suffocating, nearly unbearable. The ground moves under thumping feet, out of time with the music for a beat, but nobody cares. All around her, people are shouting the wrong words to songs they pretend to know. Drinks splash up and out of paper cups, overflow, spraying acrid perfume across the room.

She dances with her head tilted back, a smile on her face. It’s small, but it reaches her closed eyes. It’s vulnerable and exposed, but she feels safe. Prickles of sweat form on her upper lip; she wipes it away and carries on dancing. Sways left, sways right, pumps her chest. Stamps one foot, rests.

We don’t know this music. There aren’t words to sing along to so we just keep moving, dancing for years while the house crumbles around us. Brick turns to dust turns to air turns to us again. She is everything and so am I, so time flies.

“Brick turns to dust turns to air turns to us again. She is everything and so am I, so time flies.”

Suddenly, her eyes snap open and she looks at me with such joy I don’t know what to do. The music stops abruptly and all that is left is her breath on the air. Hands reach out and tear mine away from my sides, pull me towards her. My trainers stumble over one another, eager to reach her before the other. First our feet, then foreheads meet. Her mind flows through flesh, skin and bone, bone, skin and flesh, into mine.

I can see her feelings and I can touch them with mine, so I notice that every single thought we have is different, but one. It’s the first thought we made together and the one from which all of our future together thoughts have grown, sprouting out like a loving, parasitic vine.

Back to the party with a snap. A small tap on the shoulder, but feels like a slap. Pulled out of our reverie, and can’t react. Who would do that?

We’re dragged back to here, where everyone else exists. The heady, human house full of personalities and feelings and conflicts and hurt. We’ll be part of them again when this night is over, but right now we are more than that.

All these people, dancing and drinking so they can survive, while she and I are just . . . alive.

Zoe Paskett | @zoepaskett

Zoe is an arts journalist, writer and photographer from London, with a deep love for books and a hatred for displaying them backwards.

Support Dear Damsels

Words are empowering – not only for the women who write them, but those who read them too.

Join our Patreon and help us continue to offer an inclusive and welcoming space for women to come together, share their words, and get a resounding response back.

Sign up to our Patreon