Therapy by Gessy Alvarez

The ginger on the dance floor threw his pink hands up in the air and waved them like he didn’t care. He ran one hand over his frizzy, red mane and down over his full beard. He tugged at his chin. His black horn-rimmed glasses fogged. The steam from shirtless men and glistening women created a fine mist around Ginger’s twirling, rotund body. I danced in place, closing my eyes and spinning once, twice. My friend Josh kissed a tall guy. He danced in place too, but his body half twisted and the tall guy turned Josh around so that they could embrace. I didn’t know what time it was or when I last felt this good and sweaty. Someone licked the side of my face, tried to pull me toward them, but I pulled back and danced away. I looked back at Ginger who was now up on the stage, twirling and gyrating to a blood-thrumming drum bass beat and two women joined him and danced behind him like back-up singers, bodies moving, synchronicity, their meaningful focus on Ginger and his graceful potbelly jiggling in harmony with the red and silver flashes of light. Ginger conjured the spirits that kept everyone moving, laughing, and embracing in the dark, cavernous space. A room of slick bodies and shadows on upturned faces and I felt the heaviness of life lifted all around me. I didn’t know where I was or who I had become, but when I stepped on someone’s feet and mumbled apologies, I stumbled back into reality. Away from the dance floor and into the enormous unisex bathroom with its long corridor of mirrored walls, ten sinks on one side, tall gilded bodies leaning forward attempting to balance on 12-inch heels, applying lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, and one brave Queen gluing caterpillar eyelashes on, and a sweet, cherubic middle-aged man holding her other set of eyelashes in his hand. I pushed door after door until one gave and a tall blonde stepped out, held the door for me, and asked me if I wanted to share blow, but I smiled, closed the door in her face. A woman cursed someone out. A few high-heeled ladies ran in, a screaming match, a bouncer, three slaps, and then stall doors opened and closed. Triple the amount of people walked out, and I pulled my phone out of my bra, where I had stashed it for safe keeping three hours ago. The face of it lit up and my finger hovered over his name and my beautiful husband’s face stared back at me as I waited for him to answer and the kids to yell, “We love you, Mommy!”






Gessy Alvarez is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA program in Writing. She is founder and managing editor of the literary website, Digging Through The Fat. Her prose has appeared in Entropy, Drunk Monkeys, Literary Orphans, Pank, and other publications.

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