Monday, April 12, 2010

The concert:

I don't know this band, but most of these other people do. All kinds of different people. A lady in mom-jeans. That man in the black trench coat with long white hair, cowboy hat and wicked cane. Those boys with the spiky hair and too-tight jeans. A little boy. Average people that escape notice. Skinny people. Obese people. Clean. Dirty. Meticulously styled. Unkempt. Everything in between. I watch them. Judge some. Envy others. I don't understand and I empathize. We are so different from one another. We are all here together.

The music starts and we stand still and listen. Some people shout and scream and clap. I anticipate. Somewhere between the first song and the last one, we meld. We become one person with a single focus. The group on the stage. They conduct us. They lift our hands and make us jump and shout and sing. They unite us in anger against war and injustice. They tell us we can change the world together. They harness the energy of us and bring it out into a bouncing, swaying, singing mass.

It is hot. The air moves across my face in varying waves of cool air from the fans and body heat from the back in front of me. The bodies beside me. The arms and legs and torso pressed against my back. I feel a moment of panic. Only a moment. If I wanted to leave, I couldn't do it very quickly. But then we start jumping. And we are jumping together. All of us. Landing in different places so that we run into one another in time with the music. It is a contract we have with each other. No need to apologize. Just move together.

But eventually the set ends. The lights come up. The spell is broken. It seems that a great re-arranging is taking place with no planning. We at the front don't want to see the next band. Some from the back make their way forward. There is one set of stairs and two masses moving towards them. It is like the great battle scenes in the movies. Suddenly the two front lines are forced together into there are only people moving against people. I am being pushed. Pressed forward and backward and to the right and to the left. For one suffocating moment I am being pressed inward much, much too hard. A voice in my ear apologizing as he presses against me. "I'm sorry," he says, "I am being pushed." I tell him, "We are all being pushed. It's okay" And then the pressure breaks like water tension and I spill out into the second level. Follow the flow outside. Amazed at the room and the vastness of the ceiling of stars. I breathe in cool night air and several different kinds of smoke.

We aren't one anymore. It didn't last. And now I wonder if anyone else noticed it happen.

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