Stage Dive

November 13, 2010
By , Memphis, TN
“Amelia,” Phoenix poked his head in the doorway of the greenroom. Amelia, a tall, platinum-blonde singer, glanced up from her spot at the brightly lit dressing table. “Ten minutes till we go on.” Amelia looked up at her bassist through her impossibly long, dark eyelashes. He was wearing the shirt she had bought him for Christmas the year before – an orange t-shirt with an octopus on the front. She grinned at him with her bright white teeth.

“Kay, and nice shirt.” she replied, her voice thick with the scary, nauseating, amazing thrill of excitement she always got before a gig. He nodded, smirked, and left the doorframe. She heard his feet shuffling down the carpeted hallway and stood up, stretching like a sleepy cat, to follow him.

As she strutted down the hall with her six-inch heels on, she began to hum – a vocal warm-up that worked best for her. The noise from the opening band, Just Another Stupid Band, was getting louder as she neared the backstage area, which was abuzz with pre-concert electricity.

“Yo, Mia!” Jeff, the lead guitarist shouted. “Took you long enough!” He suffocated her in a bear hug, laughing. Amelia’s heart was pounding, but she immediately felt calmer in Jeff’s arms. She and Jeff had been best friends since they were six years old.

Chico the drummer and Georgina the rhythm guitarist were on the couch making out. “Guys! Get a room!” Amelia shouted, laughing. They stopped eating each other’s faces off to glare at her, and then resumed the activity.

Phoenix chuckled and turned away. “Those two,” he snickered. Amelia looked at him knowingly. He and Georgina used to date. She knew she was jealous. Phoenix pretended not to notice.

A moment later, the members of Just Another Stupid Band filed into the backstage area, patting each other on the back and congratulating each other with huge smiles plastered on their faces. Amelia took a deep breath and strutted onstage, suddenly feeling powerful and sexy and, for lack of a better term, like a rock star. The crowd’s cheers immediately shot above a hundred decibels as soon as she took the stage, Phoenix, Chico, Jeff, and Georgina parading behind her.

“Good evening, St. Louis!” she shouted into the microphone. “We are The Hypnotic Cosmos!” The chords to their first hit, “Stories,” were pounded out on Jeff’s Gibson SG, and the audience roared with delight. Amelia started singing, and her energy was electrifying. She flirted with the crowd, teased them, and got too close to the edge of the stage, and felt alive. The band pulsed through three other songs, “Goodnight & Goodbye,” “Look Sharp,” and “Exactly” and they were halfway through their smash hit “Hold Me Tight,” when disaster struck.

Amelia decided it was the right time to attempt a stage-dive. Big mistake, Amelia.

The unsuspecting crowd held her above their heads, and she felt safe in their arms for about two seconds. Suddenly, a scrawny, scared teenage boy lost his grip and Amelia tumbled to the floor. The crowd surged towards her, and in a sorry attempt to help, she was trampled. The rest of the band onstage looked on in horror as Amelia’s body was swallowed up by the throng of people! A burly security guard rumbled through the sea of fans to get to Amelia. She was knocked unconscious and there was a ghastly gash across her forehead, most likely caused by someone’s stiletto heel. The room fell silent, dead, dead silent. The security guard carried her outside, where the sound of sirens had already begun to inch closer.

“Amelia!” Jeff shouted in a cracked voice. “No!” He ran backstage, followed by the rest of the band, and left the gig through the stage door. The last thing he heard before running around to the front was the venue manager taking the mic, telling everyone to remain calm.

Outside, it was raining and the distant silhouette of the St. Louis Gateway Arch was shrouded by angry storm clouds. His feet splashed in puddles of dirty water with every step. Quickly, he reached the parking lot, where an ambulance sat, lights flashing round and round and reflecting off the crystalline raindrops. Amelia’s crumpled body was being loaded into the vehicle.

“Stop, young man, she’s in critical condition,” a paramedic said sharply to Jeff. He felt salty tears mixing in with the cold, cutting drops of rain that pounded his face.

“Please let me come too. Please,” Jeff pleaded desperately. Georgina, Chico, and Phoenix had come up behind him. Georgina put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. The paramedic saw the pain and heartbreak in his golden-brown eyes and hesitantly nodded.

“But only you,” he added sternly. The rest of the band backed away silently, frightened and unsure of what was going to happen. Chico gave Jeff a little encouraging shove, and he began to walk. Right foot, left foot, right, left. Jeff slowly stepped inside the ambulance and his heart shattered at the sight of Amelia, bruised, broken, dress torn, face bloody. The paramedic team filed in behind him and immediately bent over Amelia’s stretcher, blocking her from view. The ambulance started moving, siren wailing and engine roaring. Jeff wiped his eyes with his hoodie sleeve and more tears began streaming over his trembling face.

Finally they arrived at the ER. Without a word, the doctors rushed Amelia out of the back of the vehicle and into the doors of the hospital. Jeff tried to follow, but they looked back and told him to stay in the waiting room. He collapsed into a chair and started to sob uncontrollably. Amelia, the girl he’d secretly loved since he was twelve years old, the girl who made his heart stop whenever she even glanced his way, the girl who was his entire life, was hurt. “In critical condition,” they had said. Critical. Such a terrible word. Jeff sat, feeling helpless, and cried, unashamed.

After what seemed like an eternity, a nurse came to his side. Placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, she said in a soft voice, “Are you Jeff Harrison?” he nodded and she told him she could take him to Amelia. Filled with dread, he stood up and followed the nurse through an intricate maze of hallways lit with a buzzing fluorescent light system. When the reached her room’s door, he took a deep breath and meekly followed the nurse inside. Amelia was still, quiet, breathing slowly and shallowly. She was hooked up to countless IV systems and her head was bandaged. Not moving except to breathe, she looked so fragile, so….dead. Jeff couldn’t bear to look but he couldn’t bear to take his eyes from her beautiful face. The nurse patted him on the arm and left. As slow as a sunset, Jeff sunk into a chair next to her bed and held her tiny, soft hand in his. Staring at her face, he began to sing her favorite song, “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin even though he was a horrible singer.

He choked out the words to many other of her favorite songs. He had kept track of them over the years. As the words to George Harrison’s “What Is Life” left his lips, he felt her fingers move. He stopped singing, shocked. Jeff’s heart began pounding, pounding, pounding as she stirred in her deep unconsciousness.

Suddenly, her hazel eyes blinked open to see Jeff’s familiar face, tear-stained for the first time since she had met him. His eyes were misty with relief – and another emotion she couldn’t quite place. It was like she was seeing him for the first time. “Jeff,” she said softly, smiling even though it hurt. She tried to sit up to be closer to him, but she didn’t have the strength. She knew what she wanted, who she wanted, why she wanted him. The boy she had just fallen for had been there all along.

“Jeff,” she murmured to him, his face still rigid with disbelief. “Jeff, will you kiss me?”

He gazed at her in shock. Was she loopy or something? She repeated her request and she looked like she meant it. His entire being electrified, he bent in his face to press his lips against her soft, red mouth. His mind was disconnected. His heart was an entire new part of his body. He was floating. She felt her energy come back to him as her lips moved in sync with his. She placed her hand on the side of his face and stroked his cheek. She felt truly happy for the first time in her life as she lay there, broken, in that hospital bed with needles in her arms, kissing the boy she had truly loved all her life.

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