There is no beginning or end. It starts in the middle, when she collides into him on the sidewalk one hot summer day, and he looks at the damp Alice & Bones shirt hanging off her chest and says, You know, they’re playing at the Den on Friday. She arches her brow. She says, I know, barely moving her lips. When they meet later that week in the thick sweating crowd, bodies pulsing around them like a rabid metronome, they barely exchange three words before they find themselves in a darkened closet behind the stage, broom hairs and dust motes falling into their hair. It’s not a beautiful courtship. They bruise their legs and lips, drawing blood from their skin. She trips on a bucket, spilling water on their shoes.
When it’s over, they hold hands awkwardly and mumble apologies, their voices muffled by the screams of the crowd, their faces lost in darkness. They can’t hear each other—can’t understand. They exit, and it doesn’t take long before they’re separated in the dark invisible mass, strange bodies grinding against them, new sweat mingling with their skin. Just as quickly as it begins, it dissolves—a middle that leaves nothing behind.