I knew I had to leave before anyone saw me, so I walked past the girls and back into the bar. In the corner. I saw Lydia at the piano with her boyfriend, Jed. He was sitting next to her, gazing romantically at each other, and didn’t notice me. Candy poured flutes of champagne, and Fran walked around with a silver platter filled with the delicious mini crab cakes she’d made. Brett sat at the bar chatting up one of the pretty cocktail waitresses. And me? I ducked behind some people and bee-lined it toward the exit.
The lights began to flicker, and the brick walls were slick with sweat. I heard Candy laugh, and shout to her customers that magic was in the air. As I pushed through the door, I felt a tinkling pass through me. It was so quick and fleeting that it might have been nothing. I would describe the sensation like a champagne fizz, a light airy sparkle, nothing more. I do remember thinking how I’d like to be truly beautiful from the inside out. Any other thought I may have had was whisked away when I stepped outside.
Thunder rumbled in the black sky, then a flash of lightning came bolting down toward me. I jumped and shrieked. The sky lit up like the Fourth of July as electricity sparked and flashed and danced, reminding me of rock concerts, magic mushrooms, and light shows. By the time I reached the car I was drenched and shaken. Running to the car, I’d half expected to get zapped, but somehow I managed to get the door open and slide inside.
From my place of safety I watched the lightning rip open the sky and thought how incredibly beautiful it looked in all of its menacing, malevolent glory. I’d never seen the night as eerie before, like something out of a Tim Burton movie, and my fingers itched to paint it. With a final flash of lightning came the wish—to view the world as I saw it tonight—vividly, with passion and depth, so I could be the greatest painter ever.