The Slow Mash


She became mindful all at once in his arms. Drawing in a breath, maybe the first real one in hours, she let him guide her around the creaky, sticky dance floor. His voice rumbled through her as he hummed along softly. The sax was done wailing for now and the piano and bass talked to each other. Her hand slid behind his neck as his found rest at her lower back. Pulled closer, her head found rest against his chest.

She wanted to look at him but wouldn’t break this embrace. This dance was their first touch. They had talked, laughed, shared side by side but somewhere they picked up tendrils of something more. Picking at threads of possibility, tonight was a beginning.

Thank God jazz songs can go on forever, she thought. Their conversation at dinner had been rollicking fun. Their evening walk to this club felt sparkling. But this dance was … perfect.

She was disheveled, but when he looked at her she felt like a goddess. He looked like the most delicious sin. Any other thought, past or future, was peripheral to this moment. No matter what, she would carry this memory as a precious gem forever. This night, this dance, this moment.

She was smart enough to understand this was the most she could hope for. Whether they parted tomorrow or rode off into the night as partners for the rest of their lives, moments of perfection are fleeting. They just might venture to physical heights previously unknown to them. But those moments are not meant to be sustained either.

Quelling all busy thoughts, she breathed him in again. He smelled of scotch, bar smoke, and soap. She tested a patch of skin at his neck with her tongue. Salty and rough. He squeezed her hip and she finally pulled back to look at him. They stood staring for what felt like days. Reading eyes. Clenching fingers. Music slowing to a fade for them. Without a word, they moved together.


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