I can feel him watching me from across the room. It's crowded in here, and there is tension. His eyes bore through the sea of people right to my soul. He wants me. I know it.
I feel awkward and shy. It's been years since I've had this kind of attention. It feels almost invasive. I push my hair away from my face in an attempt to do something. I glance down and pretend I don't see him, but he knows. He knows a lot.
I want to run away from this guy. I don't need him. Or the complications he'll bring with him into my neat and organized life. I want to run. But I just can't escape his goddamn eyes. They are hauntingly beautiful. I am repelled and magnetized all at once. We start to walk towards each other. I have no choice. My soul is leading me to him.
We meet in the middle of the room. I think the room is a gymnasium. Or is it a ballroom? Either way it is where people -- children or adults -- gather for a party. It's crowded. I begin to realize that there was no way I could escape this guy. He knows exactly what he's doing. He does this all the time.
I start to feel an overwhelming sense that perhaps I do know this guy after all. At least he strikes me as viscerally familiar. Like some stranger I had shared an intimate moment with when I thought the world was big. But I can't remember any details about him. Maybe I met him in a dream?
Some piece of me can recognize the telltale odor of his skin and his confident stance. And of course the way I wanted to run but couldn't. I've been here before. Have I heard warnings about this power of his?
"You know, you really should just walk out the door with me. It's no use resisting," he whispers in my ear. I can feel his warm breath on my cheek. I'm not scared as much as I am shocked by his narcissism.
"I have a life you know. I can't just walk away from everything." I am play acting though. He and I both know he has me.
"Then just dance. Dance with me and we'll take it slowly." He has adjusted his tone and his body language to meet me. He knows exactly how to manipulate me. He gently pulls me close and the music is so so sad. I'm going to have to surrender to him. I already know it. I'll be leaving with this stranger and trusting him with my life. I am weeping. There's no telling when I'll be back with my family whom I love with all of my heart. I'm leaving with this man.
We are embracing. He leans in so close and says, as if I hadn't gathered, "My name is Grief. I'll let you go when I'm finished with you. For now, let's just dance."