I was going to write about my weekend, but I had a conversation today with Zak (not like we don’t talk everyday, LOL), and I suddenly thought about the upstairs lounge. I haven’t been there since Laz’s memorial get together. This particular place has some pretty good memories, even if sometimes the people attached to those memories aren’t so great. I was taken back to another time, seemingly a lifetime ago. I remembered when I dated Paul (aka DJ Obi Juan aka Aiden’s sperm donor). I was so enamored with him at the time. His clean cut look, his skater shirts, and his library of books that lined his room. He was well read with a B.A. in Philosophy, and we spent countless hours listening to music or talking about books we’d read (before he went all psycho on me). I would go to his apartment on S. Grand and make the hike a few blocks with his records and headphones in tow to the Upstairs Lounge so that he could DJ on Drum and Bass night. I thought that his talent to blend offbeat music that would not normally sound good together was incredible. He made something beautiful in his mixture of sounds and I watched him in amazement. I sat on the couch behind him in the DJ booth and watched as he worked his magic. The lights, the crowd, the atmosphere made me feel like I was in another world. Somewhere I didn’t quite belong but had somehow been invited. Billows of smoke wafted throughout the room from cigarettes and even joints, popular in even the DJ booth. Random people met without any awkwardness and a rainbow of colors from hair to clothes and everything in between. Unique characters that are likely to be found in the underground. I watched as people danced and the television screensaver would change to a myriad of shapes and patterns, all the more enticing to be drawn into this place. Sometimes I sat there silently taking it all in, other times I could be found having a conversation with one of these new strangers that were so kind to introduce themselves. I remember people shaking Paul’s hand and complimenting him. It was those times when I felt special to be in his world, before I knew that it was all a mask…the monster that hid behind layers of intelligence and talent. I only felt like I had fit in because I knew some of these characters that would frequent this dark place barely lit with red lights and booming sounds. The silver from the eyebrow ring that pierced the skin above my eye, or the random tattoo that showed. I joined in with others as random people that didn’t fit in made their way up those stairs to find this somewhat secretive place with it’s unmarked door above the Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant. They would stumble in and look awkwardly around and we would laugh under our breath and watch them as they tried to assimilate into the strange crowd that surrounded them. Unknowing of the secret that was not spoken, that this was a place for people that didn’t belong anywhere else, those seeking some kind of normal when they were anything but. Sometimes I miss those days, that place, the feel, and the music that boomed in my ears and in my heart. Time may go on and I may too find myself assimilating into my surroundings but the memory of who I am and who I was will never fade away, not even in another time.