I was sober and all of my friends were gone. Peak hour, at four in the morning, the music downstairs at Basement was pummeling at full speed, but I was looking for a moment of quiet. Through the back stairwell, I went upstairs to Knockdown Center and found R, who was working the event, and we shared a cigarette out by the patio. Groups of chatty girls in white, cotton tank tops and black handbags made me miss a summer that had ended, unannounced, a day or two ago. The wind was strong. A blonde man, in a white button down shirt and crooked smile ambled by and asked to bum a cigarette, cocking his head. We gave him one, and he thanked us, balancing on one leg. I tend to people-watch more when there’s a lack of noticeable looks amongst the crowd. As if a disinterest in individual style, choosing the clothes of suburban malls registered an opaque interiority, a deeper mystery, which made me more curious about their lives, their thoughts. It's a strange life, the life of a raver. I like watching people's faces in moments of leisure—as if in the excess of time outside of capital time, you can glimpse a person's reality. R had to go back on the job, so I wandered inside alone with a fatigue that felt pleasurable in my limbs. Earlier, when Avalon Emerson was DJ'ing, the massive dance floor of this repurposed glass factory was packed to capacity, except now, a whole three-quarters of the room were empty, making the vast dance floor look like a horizon line, like the flatness of the I-5, the desert highway I used to drive down for hours at a time from my parents’ house back to the university I went to. Those desert drives taught me about the austerity, or savagery, of aesthetic constraint: flat expanses of dry land, with me driving a hundred miles an hour and seeing nothing change except the angle of the sun. I believed the silence of those drives were either a confirmation of the abandonment of God, or a resurrection of him. After five or six hours driving, I thought that I would go mad. I was twenty-one. I was twenty-nine when I started to hear voices in my head. A door had opened to a reality that I was not meant to see, and now that that door has closed, I could not forget what I saw. Those voices are mostly gone now, three years after my hospitalization in a psychiatric ward, though sometimes at raves, I still hear words in certain sounds that aren’t actually there. This might qualify as the pareidolia effect, the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful word in a random or ambiguous sound. At Knockdown Center, I sometimes wondered if PLO Man was inserting vocals, or spoken word, into the tracks. “Trust,” I heard spoken in a gauzy blur of reverb. Unlike Matrixxman at Wrecked downstairs, PLO man was DJ'ing at a low, steady tempo which emphasized the details in his all-vinyl tracks. There’s a difference between withholding and control. This was control. I watched a Latino man nearby, with a black goatee, nodding his head as if he were admiring the sheen of a new car. A blonde girl behind me held poppers up to her friend's nostril. Watching others dance showed me how to groove my body into the music, like sliding into a parking space. I closed my eyes. The different components of each track all seemed like they were suspended in air, revolving around an organizing intelligence. Hand claps smattered at me from every direction. Upon the elevated platform, PLO Man looked over his turntables with nonchalance. The tempo was slow enough where, on each downbeat, I lifted my feet rather than stomped, giving my body a kind of levity or nimbleness. When I was younger, I used to care whether or not my dancing demonstrated a kind of elegance of form, but these days, I just thrash my arms around. “Trust,” said the vocal. Kierkegaard once wrote that listening to the harmony of music led him to God but that’s not what was happening here. Eyes closed, I started punching my arms in the air, thrashing against the fact of the abyss of my own interiority. Out of some sinister compulsion not altogether healthy, I let go of control, giving my body over to this foreign sound, this Other, which knew me intimately but did not have my best interest in mind. My body had gotten lost in its own momentum, and I submitted to it. When I opened my eyes, I saw that no one around me was dancing. I kept going, even more aggressively as if to prove a point. There was something profoundly antisocial to this. As if I had broken a contract and this was my sentence. I was left on my own now, between me and the music I was locked dead-center onto. People either eyed me with amusement, or ignored me entirely. Who was going to tell me to stop? I could no longer keep the muscles in my face tight, and they collapsed into a grimace. I began to cry, panting, my body’s limbs gyrating in repetitive circles. The music's rumbling opened up. Sheets of sound washed over me. I caged my forearms in front of my face like a boxer defending himself, shoulders involuntarily rocking. What this was was an absence of mind. I became desperate, but what I was desperate for, I did not know, nor did the DJ, yet he knew he was the only one in the room who had the power to gratify it. Beats pattered like acid rain, with arppeggios galloping toward some destination that was necessarily occluded from me. I turned my face up to the ceiling, watching the lights spin in figure-eights as I struggled to keep my balance. I was stumbling. I thought of the dancing plagues in the Middle Ages, where townspeople, spun out of volition, danced in the streets until their death. Here was my body, ignoring my mind’s pleading for it to stop, dancing until I collapsed, and if that’s what the music demanded from me, I'd do it. When I tried to catch my breath, I gagged, about to vomit, yet nothing came out. But I thought if I kept dancing, I could at least keep my insides from retching out. PLO Man never lost control. The music went on steadily, giving me what I needed and only what I needed. I thrashed and thrashed. “Trust,” the vocal repeated, now sounding more like a tease or taunt. What was I waiting for? What was I hoping for? What was coming after all this? It never showed.