"At the Regent" by Becca Luce
They hurled themselves at one another with a forceful abandon that you might reserve in your mind for a particular kind of cathartic moment. I’d only personally experienced it during sex and during hard exercise. You throw all the energy you have in your body into moving. If you can just sustain a little bit longer, you’ll transcend to something or another. At first, staring at their faces and bodies punch holes in the air, I thought it might be in an attempt to purge aggression. To feel the need to slam on top of other people and to throw yourself off a stage and to run in a circle hurling your animated mass around requires a compulsion you might attribute to anger. The longer I looked the more I understood it as an acceptance of all emotion; a stream of consciousness drawing a throughline from brain to arm to stomach to foot to brain. A collection of lives had culminated to a point so that anything they’d ever been, they now were again and at once.
Watching the mania of unidentifiable, I stood in a dark, hot, and humid room with my own unorganized spectrum of feeling being reflected as light off a prism. I was dazzled by light but couldn’t figure out how the beams connected back to me. I can’t remember if I moved at all. I hadn’t liked the music itself. That was besides the point. I don’t think I ever actually let the heat enter my limbs. Maybe it was that I refused to let it. There were pieces in the melee that I recognized but wouldn’t fit together. It had suffused my mind to a point of saturation and yet I’d watched the rock fall down the well and seen the splash from twenty feet up.
Now, the fullness of reality and the lack of remembered details smack of an uncomfortably heavy sleep. You’re hot and sticky and the memories start to fade but you still feel unsettled because you’d been happier or sadder than you were before you went under. You require a whole reorientation that decides whether your life was really before or after you woke up. They’d lived in and I’d dreamt of. I am jealous of those who get to keep living where I’ve just left and relieved that I’ve escaped the responsibility of holding onto any of the emotions felt.