It was three months and six shows later I saw him again. I’d thought about him regularly, wondering if and when we’d ever meet again.
I couldn’t get over his dark tendril hair, his half smile and quick wit.
We didn’t talk or give our names that first meeting, but like I said, we’d meet again.
I turn into the dark abyss of the club, looking into the ticket window, strategically placed in a corner at the end of the narrow hallway overflowing with stapled concert posters. I can barely see inside the dingy glass between me and the club worker. Several people before me had scratched stuff into the glass.
The gothic teen with straight, black hair and even blacker eye rings and septum piercing take my money and snatches my cell phone to put it into its numbered slot.
I can hear the loud, pulsing beat of the music from around the corner. I’ve always loved that sense of anticipation right before a show, when you can feel it and not quite hear it.
I round the corner and what I see almost takes my breath away.
There are only a handful of onlookers in the crowd.
Two girls sit idly sipping in a corner, fidgeting with their straws. Two dudes stand next to each other nodding their heads to the beat. A lonely bartender stands cleaning glasses with a towel.
The band plays, yet the music seems… distant. Like it’s been turned down to level 4.
Where the hell is everyone?
And that’s when I see him.
He’s sitting on a wooden bench against the window. His legs are crossed and his chin is cupped inside his right palm. He sits listening like Rodin’s The Thinker.
I get that feeling in my chest, like my heart is tingling. I feel my forehead getting hot. At least the music covers the sound of my self-perceived heavy breathing.
I stand there, deciding - bar, band, or boy…. When I noticed movement on his end out of the corner of my eye.
Is he sitting up, walking away or walking my way?
Thankfully, it’s the latter. All of a sudden he’s standing next to me, a full head taller than me. His hair is pulled back and he’s wearing a worn out Seahawks cap. I don’t look any longer for fear that he’d think I’m staring.
“Hey,” he says, almost under his breathe, and surprisingly I can hear him through the muffle of the band.
“Hey. How long have you been here?” I ask. Immediately, I think, WHAT!? What a dumb question. We weren’t meeting up or anything. I mean, I don’t even know his name!
He doesn’t even answer, just gives a light chuckle. What does that mean? I face the band. I notice they’re wearing makeup, like that band my dad used to listen to back in “the good old days.” They called themselves, Kiss. I have no idea why. No one would want to kiss them with all that crap on their face.
“Wanna sit down?” He asks. I nod and we head back to the wooden bench.
He sits to my left. I sit next to him, trying not to sit too close, but wanting to so badly.
His arm brushes mine as he reaches for his pocket, and my body gives a little electric tingle.
He pulls out a cigarette and offers me one. I take it, knowing I hadn’t smoked in at least ten years. But who cares? Who knows what the future holds?
He reaches out his left hand with a silver Zippo lighter and fires me up. I try not to choke.
I want to know his name, and before I can get the nerve to ask he stretches out a hand and says, “Chris.”
I take his hand and give him mine; Sarah.
No last names are exchanged. No phone numbers.
We keep listening. I’m puffing here and there, trying not to inhale.
I keep trying to push away the feelings of desire, wanting, not only his body, but wanting what it used to be like. Boy meets girl. Boy asks for girl’s number. Boy takes girl out on date. They sleep together and never see each other, or hold out a bit and make it last.
Things are so complicated now.
The Go Back, or GB, movement is in full force. The daily headlines are straight up Orwellian.
The guards have taken over. Our democracy is crumbling. Sure, the president still makes his weekly address to the nation, but rumor has it, that it’s all for show. Everyday headlines read, “Fake Media. The whole of Asia is now our enemy.” The government says it’s protecting us, to prevent a World War III.
We started having to check out technology at every door. This made for more protests and long lines at the concert venues. Local political figures hesitated speaking out, because either way they failed. If they claimed to be pro-GB, protestors slammed their town halls. If they came out against it, pro-GB protestors slammed their town halls. Riot police were not unheard of nowadays. Two weeks ago a local representative shot a protestor in the leg. He got off scot free. The guy lived. He got his 15 minutes of fame on a few morning news shows before he disappeared. Paid off or murdered? Some believed the worse of the two.
But it wasn’t really that bad. As long as kept the conversation out of politics and, as the Beatles said, “Let it Be,” you’re ok. As long as you left the phone at home, you flew under the radar. You got used to it.
We likened it to smoking. There could be all kinds of limits on when and where, but they could never restrict what we could do at home - or could they?
Chris and I sit and listen for what seems like an hour.
Just when I think he hates me, he puts his arm around me and looks into my eyes. We don’t have to say anything to know what we both feel.
He hands me another cigarette.
“See ya soon.”
I put the cigarette into my purse and watch him walk away. By now the band’s packing up.
I don’t have long enough to think about things because I need to head home before 1 o’clock curfew. Oh yeah, did I mention we have a curfew most nights now?
Chris and I don’t really say goodbye. I wish I had because the next time we meet the world is blown to hell and gone.