In the near blackness of a party or club, all of our perceptions of others are limited. Obscured by shadow, drowned out by throbbing sound, they come to us filtered and dull, mixed with every other stimulus present. For our understanding we rely on suggestions of facial expression, words yelled close to our ear, brief touches; ambiguities that are troubling because they happen in an environment so close to paradise, so close to sensual perfection in every other way. Troubling because they occur in a place where we expect to be closer to all of the wonderful people around us, not farther away. Troubling enough to make you question your own perception, make you wonder if they feel the same things you do, or if you've only been setting up intricate delusions about what's really taking place.

At the end of the night only the truly obsessed remain; those who want to see the last DJ, hear the last beat, kick out the last step. People that have been enjoying themselves all night, just as you have. Thus, they're also the people who you feel closest to -- you've seen them in front of both stages when somebody good was playing, recognized them by the outline of their outfit, shared a nod and smile when a badass track mixed in. No set of people who share an intense experience can avoid being in some way close, limited perception or not.

And right then, before the final measure is played but very, very close, the house lights come on.

Suddenly, instantly, the ambiguities are swept away and all of the hardcore kids can see one another clearly, a dim black and white TV switched to crisp color. You can see a boy's closed eyes as he steps lightly, lost in the music. You can see trails of mascara on a girl's face, carried down by hard-earned sweat. You can see the group of friends smiling at each other and everybody else, reveling in group joy.

They are all just as beautiful as you had imagined.

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