by Miles Rost
Hirsan was getting bored with the party being held in his honor. The bespectacled 24-year old grad student had just finished a major exam in his Geography 507 course, dealing with the political intrigue relating to assassinations and their relative location to national capitals. He received a text message to come and visit his father at the estates in mountains in Orange County.
He didn’t realize it was going to be a 24th birthday party.
Sure, he was the son of royalty. The heir to the new throne of Syria, once the old dictator Assad was brought down to his knees and the insurgent Iranians sent back to their native land. However, today, he thought of himself as simply a college student and a deeply humiliated individual.
Hirsan liked to live frugally, to learn how to survive on his own and work with the other people. He wasn’t religious, and preferred to be focused on love and life, rather than political intrigue and negotiations. However, this surprise party was his father’s idea.
“When King Rahsan gets an idea, you know there will be lots of money and pomp behind it,” he said, dejectedly.
He scanned the floor of the main ballroom from his perch on the second floor. The main ballroom was gigantic. With marble flooring and bright orangish colors up the sides, it was surrounded on a second floor by four large open corridors with seating along both sides of it’s wide hallways. He sat next to the edge overlooking the ballroom, looking at the main ballroom doors to the north. A string ensemble was on one side of the ballroom, while a disc jockey was on the other side. While the adults played, the string ensemble were in play. After the adults would retire, the youth would have the disc jockey for the rest of the night. The DJ was a good friend of Hirsan’s, brought down from San Francisco for the occasion. He had a list of certain songs that Hirsan would be using on most nights.
He was just about to get up and walk towards the kitchen in frustration when he saw a face appear through the main ballroom doors. His heart froze, and he stood, transfixed. He knew this person who walked through the doors, and he did not know what to do.
She wore a beautiful peach-colored satin dress. It was definitely flirty, but it wasn’t over-doing it. It stated confidence, like it knew what it wanted and that others should stay away. Her skin was light, but had a tinge of color to it. Likely unnoticable to most people, for Hirsan, it was a perfect color that showed the beauty of East Asia. Her almond eyes lit up with kindness as she was greeted, and her light-red lips gently displayed laughter.
Hirsan immediately bolted to the stairs closest to the string ensemble. He ran over to the main conductor and tapped him on the shoulder. After talking in an animated way to him for close to a minute, the conductor gave him the nod, and he continued to quickly rush over towards the DJ. He gave him the number 51, and told him to wait for his cue. The DJ just let out a hearty chuckle and slapped him on the back. Hirsan then proceeded to walk slowly in the direction of the young lady.
He came to within two feet of her, and she turned to look at him.
“Hirsan?!” she said, gasping a slight bit, “You’re the birthday boy?”
“It is, Keiko! How did you end up coming over here?”
“It was your dad. He said that you mentioned me a couple times, and he thought it would be nice for me to come celebrate your birthday.”
Hirsan smirked, while looking down and shaking his head.
Dad, there some some days when I have to wonder just what’s going on in that head of yours.
He looked back at her and smiled.
“You look absolutely gorgeous this evening. It’s a change from seeing you in normal clothes in Heitler 150.”
Keiko looked back at him, and gave him a sly nudge.
“Are you trying to say I don’t look sexy?”
Hirsan immediately tried to explain, tying up his tongue and eliciting a guffaw from an old colonel who was standing next to him.
“Don’t dig yerself a hole there, Hirsan. You may just fall in.”
Hirsan quickly facepalmed, took a breath, and sighed.
“You look great in anything you wear. I just never have seen you in as elegant or, shall we say, shiny of attire.”
Keiko blushed slightly.
Hirsan knew his next move, one that he hoped he would be able to pull off. He proceeded to gently pick up her hand, placing it in his.
“Keiko, would you care for a dance to one of my favorite songs?”
Keiko responded with boldness.
“Of course I would, Hirsan. You might be surprised by what you ask.”
Hirsan proceeded to take her hand and move her around a couple directions. He gave the signal to the composer to stop, and the “5-1” with his open hand to the DJ. Both did as they were supposed to do while Hirsan brought Keiko to the middle of the ballroom. Other people started to move out of the way, as the couple finally arrived. At the precise moment they arrived, his song started up.
For the first 30 seconds or so, he slowly moved with her around in the middle of the crowd, which had opened up into a circle. For the near 3 and a half minutes, Hirsan moved across the floor with Keiko. He utilized partner dance skills that he had been taught long ago as a child, and applied old-style charm in a bid to make those four minutes the greatest of Keiko’s life.
He twirled her around in the choruses, and did tango/mamba mixes during other parts. She just grinned and laughed as they went through the song. He found himself at the end of the song looking into her eyes and saying words that he never thought he would have uttered in his life.
Keiko looked into his eyes with what could only be termed as a “sultry stare”.
“Is this just from our dance, or has this thought been going on for a while?”
“Ever since we first met in Wilshire 100 lecture hall for Professor Chaudhury’s World Geography class.”
Keiko blushed, showing that she too had the same answer.
“Well, now that we know we can dance to the music, let it play!” he said, giving her a flourish and signalling the string ensemble to start playing again.
It was definitely going to be a great 24th birthday for Hirsan.