Cassie stepped out of the modern overly functional office building and onto the sidewalk more than a little relieved. A slight westward breeze swept her tussled dirty blonde hair across her face. All she could do was shrug and try not to think about the eventual knots that would form. She sighed ruffling the powder blue blouse under the straps of her oversized maroon purse. She slid the purse down off her shoulder down to her elbow before opening it. Sitting on top of the disorganized contents were her lime green and blue tennis shoes. She quickly swapped them out for the black short heels at the end of her straight cut black slacks. The tension that ran from her heels to her neck loosened just a bit as her body adjusted to the airy cushion below her sole.
An hour late again, it was the third time this week. She had been determine to leave on time tonight, but Deborah brought that file at the last minute and told her she needed it finished, for some meeting in the morning. Of course, she couldn’t have given it to Cassie while she still had time to finish without staying late. No, it always had to be some last minute thing just before she was about to go home. She usually got stuck, watching as Deborah left on time with a smile and a wave.
Cassie shook her head and fetched a small mp3 player from her purse before placing the heels in, covering up the interwoven mess inside. A quick flip of her arm brought the straps back to her shoulder tugging downward on her blouse. She unraveled the ear-bud headphones from around the player, taking hold of the buds and sliding them into her ears. The busy street went deaf. She excommunicated herself from the world with one click of the play button. Falling from reality into a drifting dream fueled by the random choice of her shuffle setting. In her disconnected universe she could feel her legs moving propelling towards her apartment, a mind of their own.
The bass thumped in the small space between speaker and eardrum drowning into the slow thick melody. She could feel the deep vibration reverberate through her body. In rhythm her heart began to pound with the intense beat. Relaxing into the motion of her legs the thudding sound paced her steps. The vibrations pulsed through her body as the soft angry whispers started over the top. The singer’s rage flowed into her thoughts, flooding them with thoughts of her boss. Late again was all she could think while the lyrics told the story of evisceration and dismemberment. Determination drove her forward down the sidewalk, oblivious of the traffic buzzing past on her left.
The steady heavy bass sped into the next song racing hard and fast. The thick melody evaporating leaving a swift high pitched rhythm to counter the furious roar and cry of the voice. Death and decay filled the lyrics and her world while she watched the blue sheen of glass and bright red of brick fade into disrepair before her eyes. Her pace raced to a near gallop, but disgust at the thought of Deborah leaving on time everyday filtered her thoughts. Contempt grew with the song as it throbbed through the speakers in her ears, but it also faded with the end of the chorus. Slowly the song mercifully died, rolling into a slight pause.
Steadily, the beat pulsed and a chanted chorus started to drown out her thoughts. Surrounded by voices, she stomped along, slipping into the rhythm, her head began to nod with the song. An electric guitar rose and fell with her breath, climbing and descending the chords. Malice fled, replaced by the second unified chant of the chorus. She could feel her lips forming the words, with the voices in her ears. Professing guilt of lust and passion of the flesh. She could feel the heat in her blood as it rushed through her sore weary body. Oscillations of life, broke loose the tight sensation across her back, before vanishing into another quiet pause.
The wind around her picked up with the major chords of the guitar. She could sense the beads of sweat forming and the smearing of caked-on makeup running into the long hair of the rock star as his voice vibrated. Sex oozed from his lips as he described the object of his lust. Intentions clear, professed to a filled stadium she could see the performance. She imagined the scene, the show, hundreds of screaming fans filling the artists plea for validation. She could picture the band on the stage in flashy tight jeans and leather vests, in front of a roaring crowd. Women sat on boyfriends shoulders flashing the long haired performers screaming out the lyrics, feeling the adrenaline of the moment. Then in a moment she was back pacing down the sidewalk as a smile began to cross her lips.
A saxophone popped in along with the electric guitar as the singer reassured. The loose style ebbed into Cassie’s gait as her hips began to slightly rock side to side. Cadence and swing started her hand tapping against her purse with each step. The catchy ring of the music dragging her into the moment and away from her thoughts. Her eyes widened with her smile as she hummed along to the tune. Her smooth steps hid the flow of her body moving to the meter.
Cheer crept through Cassie’s heart as the soft voice of joy started the next song. She sang of self confidence and a personal paradise free from the troubles of reality. Cassie let herself get swept away in the sweet tune while she crossed the street. Her tongue whispered the words as she sang along. Unconsciously she drew her hand to tuck her hair away from her face and behind her ear. A step to the side as she rocked her hips, a slight twirl, she was unaware of the outside world as she danced and strode down the familiar sidewalk. With each step she let the music take further control of her body. Her heart drifted into the happy melody with each beat as she forgot everything else.
She hopped sideways up the three steps to her apartment merrily snapping her fingers and bouncing with the song, letting her head nod, while she sang along. She froze, her eyes wide. She pulled the chord causing her ear-buds to pop out. In a flash she was back to the real world. At least she hadn’t walked directly into her downstairs neighbor, even if she was never going to be able to look him in the eye again. Her face flush she wormed around him and into the building while he stood motionless staring. Once she was inside, he continued on, and she remembered how to breathe.