Again, we were led through the halls and soon up the stairs. No conversation. No comments on the architecture or structure of the home. No history lesson provided here. Usually people being guided places tend to have some kind of conversations, but here we were drowning in silence. In such quiet I would have thought even in the absence of outside sound I would have thought I would hear the sound of my beating heart or rushing blood through my body, but this silence felt unnatural, even my own sounds seemed to be missing along with our footsteps. No sound and yet no one seemed to appear like this bothered them.
The new room that we were led to had a door painted deep purple with green numbers. The striking thing about these numbers were that they seem to be melting away into the door. The hostess sighed as she opened the door and moved so that we could walk pass. Her fingers now held two different sets of numbers. Rhonda was given the number two while I was given the number four. Once we seemed to realize which was our number the woman shoved us out of the way of the door and slammed it behind us.
The slamming sound echoed loudly through the new space. We appeared to be in a large theatre. The size of space in this room was impossible for the house and yet here we stood in awe.
Rhonda’s cheeks redden slightly as she was obviously upset. She made it clear that she had just taken a little medicine to take the edge off of the nerves she was having at this party. She had never done anything terrible so why would she have lost a chance. It wasn’t fair was the moan she let escape as the people that would be sharing our space began coming out of the shadows.
The man who appeared to be a stagehand walked up and hugged Rhonda, who was calming down in his arms now. The man seemed to be whispering things to her and it made her laugh and smile.
She had lost some of her confidence from the last room, but with the attention she was now getting she seemed to be recovering quickly. This wasn’t the person I was familiar with. Her nature was far from the bubbly and ditzy girl I had been familiar with. Was it just the party that was dragging out this stranger? One could only assume so as I had been her wing person for a long while and she had never had these kinds of episodes of confidence, taking a drug, or getting drunk on male attention. She was often a cautious person and here she was letting go of that.
A flash to the night of a birthday party we had been invited to. I had been the third wheel that night as Rhonda had brought her new boyfriend. The guy had been a kind of sleaze in my eyes, but I wanted to be positive for her. The night would have other plans. While the night started out well, once alcohol was introduced there were some personality changes. The guy who had appeared to be so in love with my friend was now attempting to hit on everything with two legs. As the night wore on, it was extremely evident that this guy was the worst kind of pig and Rhonda sat there the whole evening looking like she was fighting the tears and smiling. The guy was eventually kicked out and everyone, but her was relieved. She reacted to us like enemies. We had become vile people who didn’t support her in her relationships. We didn’t understand that he was a great guy and this was just a one off because he had too much alcohol. She left me there and went home, she had been my ride, against my better judgement. It felt like I often let her get away with stuff because I felt bad about the situations she ended up in.
I didn’t feel so threatened in this room, but I remained wary. I felt like a cat with a long tail in a room of rocking chairs. Any missteps could be dangerous. I let my eyes get accustomed to the lighting as it was an extreme difference again. The halls of the house were kept in low light, almost difficult to navigate while this room was bright and casted shadows all around. The symbols were different here and everyone in here had more strikes through their symbols then the last room. I was struggling to search the room for a mirror without appearing to be looking for something. I was curious about the symbol that was probably floating above my own head. This place didn’t feel like somewhere that would want you to get a good look at yourself. Things seemed to have a way of distracting you from your goals. So in failing to find a mirror I did discover other things.
The room was extremely large, but I was now understanding that the room was designed for it to appear larger than it was. This wasn’t just about how the room was painted or decorated, there was this jenesequa about this place. Instead of the discomfort of being forced to interact as the room before had done, this room allowed one to move with ease, but would be the only comfort that I would be allotted here.
Again, the room was full of men. With my mind a little more at ease because of the atmosphere I was able to take in more of their costumes. While again there were only men, they were mostly dressed as dancers. Only one stagehand that talked to my friend and two other men were not dressed in the generic dancer costume. One looked to be a conductor and the other an usher of sorts.They eyed me with curiosity instead of unsure, judging, or displeasure as the men in the last rooms had.
The usher came up and smiled at me. He started with small talk about the weather and the party. While my answers were short I tried not to sound rude. Soon he realized that I wasn’t going to react in any terrible fashion he glanced over to the other gentlemen and the conductor soon joined us. Introductions were made eloquently and this allowed a brief moment of calm. After the pleasantries though I was soom bombarded with questions, the usual simple ones were the starting points. What’s my job? how we had been invited? Why the choice of costume? But all too soon they became probing. Was I dating someone? Was I free spirit or maybe a one man kind of girl? As they continued the more uncomfortable I became. I soon felt myself backing away from the conversation, but instead of this being a hint that I wasn’t going to continue answering the questions they took this as an invitation for them to move in closer while continuing their barrage of poking into my private life. I struggled to make my way to Rhonda as a way to escape the aggressive behavior these men were displaying.