A Prayer Heeded : Chapter 1 : PROLOGUE

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July 2012

It's the peak of summer and people are dancing crazily under the open sky, on the rooftop of one of the nightclubs I own in downtown Toronto. I tap my cigarette over the ashtray and blow smoke rings into the air. I'm not a regular smoker, but I do when I have a lot on my mind, usually in places like this. It's the weekend, so it's crowded, and all I can smell is smoke, alcohol and sweat. Men are lined up at the bar for their drinks, but also drinking in the available women around them. Women are waiting for an opportunity to hunt them down into their bedrooms tonight. Purple and blue lights are changing and flickering over the dance floor, as the DJ rolls the discs and changes tracks. Couples are dancing closely, grinding to the beat of the music, swallowed into the mass of squirming dancers filling the dance floor.

I see a man running his hands all over his woman, as if he's going to take her right here and now. Get a room! It's a blessing of the weather that women get a chance to wear hardly any clothes in the open air, pressed between steamy male bodies. They are sweating hard, but none of them is showing any inclination to leave, reveling in the sultry atmosphere of the club. Running a nightclub is a strange business, isn't it? You're giving a platform to all the singles and availables—to come, drink and pick up a partner for casual sex. And the next day, they don't remember who they slept with, let alone talk to them afterwards. But then, why am I wondering at them? I do the same when I come here. I don't remember a woman after a fuck either. The only difference is, I don't talk to them before or after it.

I take a sip of whiskey, and a woman in a very short red dress sits down next to me. I check out her red stilettos, my gaze traveling up her long sexy legs to her neckline. Yeah! Fucking sexy body. I turn my eyes back to my whiskey glass. I don't look at the women's faces. They don't intrigue me...not anymore...except the one I saw a few months back. I'm not sure if that woman was real or a figment of my imagination, conjured out of fantasy and too much alcohol. But whoever she was, she's raised the acceptance criteria of beauty for me. I look at women and I don't find anyone as mesmerizing as her. It's mid-July, almost five months since I saw her in that nonexistent spiral structure, but never once has she slipped from my mind. I seek her beauty in every woman's face, regardless of whether I'm at work, at a party or in a nightclub.

I look toward the crowd, hoping to find the same provocative beauty that took my breath away, but I guess she was just my imagination. I saw her at a place which has never been built. I've returned there so many times, hoping to find that same rusted door, but there is no building attached to that restaurant. I don't know what it was in her that drew my body and soul so close to her. Her face was half-covered, with a mask tied around her eyes, but the radiance that beamed from her has cut me deep inside. I search for the same refinement in every woman around me. I touch so many women, hoping to feel the same spark that I felt when I touched her, searching for her divine fragrance. And the kiss—it was off the charts. After looking at her sensuous lips, I have no desire to kiss any other woman. I don't know what would happen if I saw her again; she might unman me with just a look.

I don't believe in the concepts of Hell and Heaven, but if someone told me that she had fallen from Heaven, I would believe it. If I take my faith in a direction where Heaven exists, I would believe that she is not from this world. I have looked for her for five damn months, and if she truly existed, I would have seen her somewhere on the street, in a club, at a party—anywhere. But where is she? Why do I always lose my concentration when my mind and soul shifts into the memory of her? I don't realize people around me are talking to me or waiting for me to say something. My eyes keep searching for her; my mind constantly trails into that spiral passage.

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