I couldn't sleep so I reached for my music player. I fit the small speakers into my ears and monotonous electronic melody surrounded me. So many fragmented thoughts swam beneath closed eyelids. Under Vera Jones’ menacing yellow gaze my theory of coincidence had quickly lost validity.
I considered telling someone. One of the directors may have been in a position to help me. I thought of Delany; indifference always shading her light blue eyes. If she had the power to do it I would have been kicked out already.
Cooperating with the authorities was another option. Detective Autner would no doubt be back to question me more. That was another unsettling option. Working in the dark district for so long a vague animosity towards the police was something I had trouble overcoming. Everyone always said to never get mixed up with police.
They couldn’t convict us for dancing in a company but if you got involved in anything suspicious trumped up charges weren’t unheard of. I had never known it to happen but anyone around here would claim it to be truth. I didn’t need the detective’s help I resolved. I wasn’t afraid of getting hurt. No one was scared for me.
I sat up and swung my legs over the edge of the mattress. If I wasn’t sleeping then there was no use to lying in bed. I shrugged on my company issued sweater. The mirrored D insignia rested over my right breast. The silhouette of a naked woman separated the two capital letters.
I tucked the small music player into a pocket and then crouched down to search for a pair of shoes in the dark. My hands scratched against the coarse carpet into the closet. A finger felt the cool plastic of a sandal. Its pair wasn’t nearby.
I bypassed the lonely sandal for a softer pair of shoes. I hooked one finger each into the flats and dragged them out into the room. I could make out the shimmering flowing shapes through the darkness.
I liked the contrast they made against the muted geometric pattern. That’s why I’d gone out of my way to buy them. I had needed new shoes anyway. The ones I received when I joined the group, platform sandals, just like everyone else to go with our brown miniskirts, pale tank tops and thin zip-up hoodies, had broken.
Night walks were conducive for thinking. I could see the small decorative buttons of my shoes firmly latched over my toes. I had been nervous to purchase them I remembered. We were performing in Hong Kong. I didn’t speak any form of Chinese.
It was my last chance to go shopping before we were leaving however and he said he’d help me. We made a day of it. Dim sum and ice cream wrapped in peanut brittle shavings. Thinking of it I could nearly taste the flavors.
I shuffled my Chinese flats against the gravel road. The lights grew dimmer as I walked farther away from the complex and the memory grew brighter in my mind.
I was waiting for them to leave so I could cross the square and get to where my group was staying that night. A soft cool breeze blew past carrying the scent of pork.
Before I had even noticed them I was pushed against the wall. His strong short arm pushed across my chest. Then he let me look. A tall thin figure was silhouetted down an alleyway. Another figure was held against the wall.
The soft thuds of aggression were audible. The figure made swift repetitive movements with their arms. The beating stopped when the victim slumped to the ground. I moved to leave but his arm pinned me back. I peaked past his square shoulders.
Another figure appeared from the shadows, this one short and rotund. An exchange was made. I was pinned against the wall once more as footsteps drew closer. I stared down at my new shoes; focusing on the pattern helped steady my breathing. I was so afraid my short sharp breaths would draw attention to us.
The footsteps grew louder and then quiet again as they carried the criminal away from us. I was released from the protective hold and then returned to the company’s accommodations. A quick, soft feeling of lips brushed my cheek. It was unexpected and then it was gone.
I was a good five blocks away from the complex when my reverie finished. With its completion I stopped in my tracks. A surreal feeling of shock enveloped me. I had remembered. I couldn’t remember my childhood or my dance routines but this I had recalled almost haphazardly and so realistically.
The details were unclear; his face, the exact time, like fuzzy grey outlines of a television channel with bad reception. Yet there was something incredibly vivid about the emotions. The mere fact that I had recalled a memory with such clarity was surprising. Yet it may have been more significant than that.
The tall thin figure was so obscured it could easily have been a woman. Perhaps I had observed more than I thought. Someone possibly had a legitimate reason for pursuing me. If I delved deeper into this memory I may just find the missing link to solve my dilemma.