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End of August
Three pm that afternoon came around quickly. Speeding off from having lunch, my family hustled over to pick up my friend from her house. It was still warm out, the rain clouds teasingly hanging about the mountains, watching the city. I was cramped in the back seat with my aunt. The BMW doesn’t have very comfortable seats. As the complex towered overhead, I continued to question myself why my mom decided to take this car to Phoenix.
The rainclouds were now creeping overhead. I pulled my hat over my sleek black braided hair, praying it wouldn’t rain just yet. My mom rushed over behind me and greeted Ms. Catalano as Isabella walked out. She smiled and we laughed while our parents discussed the evening plans: head up to Phoenix, check into the hotel, Goo Goo Dolls concert at seven, stay overnight, return the next morning. My mom made it sound complicated.
Walking back, I was shoved into the middle and sat sandwiched between Isabella and my aunt. The rain drizzled as the car pulled onto the highway. My dad kept his eyes steady while my mom blabbed on the phone.
The clock was going by slowly. Our backs ached. I was about ready to stab the seats. The rain had stopped and the city surrounded us like a flashflood of lights and color. The hotel came into view and we all let out a sigh of relief. I had butterflies piling as we stepped out into Phoenix. It was 5:30, one and a half hours till the concert. I was pleased as we piled into the hotel.
I began slipping on my leather bracelets as we returned back downstairs. I had changed into Goo Goo Dolls shirt I had gotten at another concert earlier this summer. I adjusted my ripped skinny jeans with the British flag stamped on the right side pocket. My Puma’s made my feet sore from the lack of support. Isabella kept telling me not to stop fussing with my hair. My dad took us down to the lobby’s bar for drinks. We drank peacefully. My mom lectured the rules for the evening. You know, the “don’t-wander-off-don’t–talk- to- strangers-stick- together-I’m-going-to-call-to-make-sure-you’re-ok-once-the-thing-is-finished” speech that every mom is required to give as part of their job. My aunt stood up.
“ It’s time. We should head over.” She began packing her purse.
“Dodge Theater isn’t far.” Mom grinned.
“We’ll give you a call.” My aunt walked off, high heel shoes clacking. I began to wonder if her feet we’re hurting.
“ Thanks mom!” We rushed over to catch up with my aunt. The sun was deep into the shadow. The city burst with lights encrusted on the concrete walls. We kept walking, skittering over puddles as we crossed the streets.
The air was cool and the music flowed out into the air as we reached the lights surrounding the theater’s entrance. My aunt hustled over to the ticket counter.
“Excuse me?” My aunt opened her purse.“I have an extra ticket. Can we give it to you?”
“ I’m sorry, “ The girl shook her head.” You can’t sell the ticket back. I’m sure you can give it away.”
“ Thank you.” My aunt moved. An envelope held our front row tickets. My aunt handed Isabella and I our tickets and she took out the extra from the back of the envelope. “Now, what to do…”
I saw a man with red hair and a scruffy beard approached the window.
“Maybe he needs one.”I pointed. My aunt walked over. The man looked up and glared.
“ I don’t need a ticket.” He said rudely as he held up a hand. My aunt backed away.
“Rude.” Our group walked to the entrance to see if there was anyone who needed a ticket.
Suddenly, the man walked over towards us with a sly smile.
“ Whatcha got?” He asked, trying to be friendly.
“I’m not talking to you.” We walked off. I could tell he was fuming. He disappeared with the crowd. We returned to our spot at the ticket window and waited. Seven was coming way to close.
Suddenly, a security officer approached us. She was quite tubby and she stepped slowly.
“Excuse me.” The woman said. “ I heard that you were selling tickets.” I snarled to myself. That man squealed on us.
“ We have an extra ticket. We asked the lady at the ticket window-“
“ M’am, you cannot sell tickets here. I am going to have to ask you the leave the premises.”
My heart dropped into my stomach. Leave? I wasn’t’ going home! The officer pulled at her blond ponytail.
“We have an extra ticket. We don’t need money.” I stood terrified. Isabella watched on neutrally beside me.
“ Do you have your own tickets?”
“Yes!” All three of us showed the tickets.
“You can rip it.” My aunt handed the extra over. The officer looked on, nodded, and took the ticket.
“Stay out of trouble.” She went off on patrol.
“Someone could have used that.” My aunt grumbled.
We flew into the theater and sped walked straight to the stand for shirts. My aunt paid for Isabella’s first concert shirt and I got my second. My aunt refused to get one.
After Isabella changed, we walked into the theater. 5,000 people had to have been there, seeing that every seat was taken except for ours at the bottom in the front. The three of us went with the flow and reached the bottom. I was ready to dance and sing. We adjusted ourselves and relaxed in our seats. The crew set up for the opening band, Switchfoot.
“Ready?” I asked Isabella.
“Yeah. I’m nervous for some strange reason.” She checked her camera.
“ Don’t be.” I looked up. The lights began to dim. Switchfoot flew onto the stage and the music pounded. The butterflies rushed out in a swarm that could have filled the theater.
It had begun.
The hour flew by quickly.Switchfoot didn’t find it hard to please the audience. The fans were getting pumped up. The air was heated with the breath of the crowd, the bodies swaying till the band finished. The smell of sweat and perfume spiked the air. The air conditioner began bellowing out its icy storm and the crowd became refreshed. The crew quickly hustled to set up again. The crowd moved in and out of the theater for beverages, preferably beer, and the bathroom. I sat, and narrowed in on a young girl showing off her tattoo of the lyrics to “Iris” going down her back. I winced at the sight of it. Must have been quite painful. A security guard took his post in a chair in front of us, watching with light blue eyes. We relaxed and got out phones and cameras.
The lights began flickering. Everyone stampeded to their seats as the lights shut off. Screams filled the atmosphere. I looked over towards the guitar racks over on the side and watched the red lights swirl. I could see Johnny, the singer, getting ready from over the shoulder of the guard, looking as good as usual(at least to me anyway).
“I can see him!” Greens, blues, whites, and purples lights flashed. The guitar lashed out the notes and the world shouted out. The colors floated over the dark shirts and jeans.
“Come take me home, tonight.” Johnny’s irises look over the front, smiling at the fans. Our group smiles and shouted out as the song ends and the last notes float through. The song changes, Johnny’s tattoos seeming to grow in color as the light bounces off them. The guitar is slowly beginning to start up again. The voices below howl at the sound of the chords. Johnny tossed the guitar pick and reached for a fresh one.
”Could you whisper in my ear”, the voice echoed off the metal of the microphone.” The things you want to hear? I’ll give you anything, to feel it coming.” The microphone became an IV needle, the music poured into the blood being pumped through the audience. I was in heaven, alive and breathing in their music. The guard smiled over at us as Johnny came to our side of the stage and played right in front of us. I could have touched him if I had reached out. My aunt followed my thoughts and put a hand out, Johnny still singing into the microphone, pausing with one of his hands and touching hers. I felt the heat rise up in me as she took my new shirt and put it over her tank top.
Wow, lucky shot. I forgot about the incident really quickly. Johnny looked over at me and smiled, pointing towards me as he sang out a lyric: “What you feel is what you are and what you are is beautiful.” I melted and the guard watched me in the process. He disappeared. Johnny tossed out another guitar pick.
I was glad time was moving slower. The guard returned and stood in front of Isabella and I, watching us jump around and dance. A clasped palm opened to reveal two small blue guitar picks. My mouth dropped. These were the guitar picks Johnny had thrown out earlier! I began shaking and I thanked him greatly, tears of joy creeping out the crevices of my eyes as Isabella and I hugged.
Flash back. I was three when I heard “Iris” on the City of Angels soundtrack and I heard it every night. I burst into a fit of laughing and crying as I hugged Isabella. The guitar sent the pulses of “Iris” through me. Call me pathetic, but this is what I consider a “fan reaction”.
The night was ending and the music was too. Eventually, everything slowly died down and the excitement around me became peace. The lights flickered back on as the group left the stage. My heart was beating, the adrenaline pumping through my veins. I watched the stage director pick up things off the stage: the song list by the microphone, the drumsticks, etc. and walked over the front row, handing out the treasures in his hand. I gripped a drumstick, imagining the magic behind the drum set I had lacked to pay attention to. They were my birthday presents, my coming of age gifts. I held the drumstick close and was ready to fight off any fan trying to take it from me.
“ Wow! Look at that!” My aunt smiled.
“ Yeah… But you’re lucky too. Johnny touched your hand.” I grinned. She laughed and pressed her palm against mine. It was warm.
We walked back to the room. Isabella and I went onto the balcony and pulled up chairs to the edge, overlooking the city. We stared breathlessly for a bit before we continued our giggling fits about some dumb story we had come off the top of our head. My mom walked over, in her pajamas and half asleep.
“ You guys can get room service if you want.” She walked back to bed
“ Dessert sound good?” I asked Isabella.
She nodded. We walked into the room and picked up receiver. We looked over the menu decided: a slice of chocolate cake and a slice of cheesecake. We considered it my birthday cake.
We ate slowly and enjoyed each bite. Slowly, grew tired and stopped eating, deciding to save the rest of the cakes for breakfast. We changed into pajamas and slipped into our beds.
“Enjoy yourself?” I asked.
“I did.” Isabella smiled. “‘night.”
“ Good night.”
After the room went dark, I lay there. It was real. Everything tonight seemed to be a blur. The music, the faces, the laughs, and the priceless souvenirs had all seemed to be part of a dream that I was woken up from too soon. I sighed, closed my eyes, wondering how I could make the seats in the BMW more comfortable for tomorrow’s ride home.