I set my purse down in the corner by the stage so I wouldn’t have to hold it while I was on the dance floor. The celebrity DJ was introduced and I was swept along into the middle of the audience as the growing crowd rushed the stage. I wanted to take photos of this: My group of friends, their faces, their unselfconscious moves. I could see them through my eye-lens and wished so hard for my camera. I watched as others took their group shots and selfies with the DJ in the background. My camera was in my purse, my purse that was nowhere near. I started panicking.
I have a faulty memory. I blog every day as a writing practice but I also blog every day so that I can remember my life. I make a lot of notes. I take a lot of photos. My phone, my camera, is an extension of my hand, my back-up brain. Without it, how would I recall this night?
The party was outside, a large parking lot outfitted with tables and chairs, a DJ booth and a dance floor. Without a camera, I was on my own. I would need to remember this without a visual aid. I took a deep breath. I smelled night air and sweat, catered food and the scent of one hundred different perfumes. It was hot. I was surrounded by backs, hips and elbows, clapping hands and waving arms. The dancing was serious. People sang along to the 80s music. “It’s tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that’s right on time it’s tricky…” I still knew all the words.
Like a game of Simon Says, we did what we were told to do by the DJ. We jumped on cue. We raised our hands in the air like we didn’t care. We somebody, anybody, everybody screamed. I could feel sweat rolling down my back, soaking in to my blue dress. And I didn’t care.
I had forgotten about my camera. I had been forced to be in the moment and to actually live it without interruption, without trying to document it at the same time. It’s so much easier to dance when your hands are empty.
When the music ended and the crowd dispersed, I went to my purse. I pulled out my phone to take a picture but the moment was gone. I pressed that moment hard into my brain before it slipped away.