4. The Revelation

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Charlie

                The line was short; how good could this band be? Noise of tune-ups and sound checks tempered out of the door with exciting clarity. “This. Will. Be. Epic.” Her punctuated voice only alluded to how thoroughly freaked she was for this concert. Dethany jumped up and down next to me, both of her tiny hands wrapped around my upper arm. It was cool out; the wind made her hair fly back away from her face. She was pretty that night.

            With her blue hoodie, spotted with cart-wheeling monkeys; with her longer hair in soft waves, no outrageous color streaking the locks; with some kind of lip stuff on that made her look feminine and pouty, she was very pretty. It was weird.

            “I’m freaking out!” she exclaimed, giving a wad of crumpled, messy papers to the kid in the booth. The poor guy looked something close to shocked, but he took the printed out tickets, gave us our stubs, and stamped our hands with x’s so we wouldn’t try to buy alcohol once inside. Though it wasn’t like all of the other high-school teens didn’t just wash them off in the bathroom. Dethany and I slapped the back of our hands together like we always did. Good luck tradition. The one time we didn’t, the band’s lead singer lost his voice half-way through the show.

            The buzz and hum of the soon-to-be sizzling amps was a dull rush in my ears. With everyone crowded into the small space (well, small for a concert) it was hard to talk to Dethany. Usually, we’d hang outside before a show, but something had her peculiarly excited and she wanted to get as close to the stage as possible. I wasn’t a foot-kisser. I didn’t like being close enough to be sweat on by the band, gaping and reaching up to touch any part of them as if they were gods.

            “These guys are gods!” she squealed, moving past a few other girls who stood by the stage primping and taking pictures of themselves.

            I was more of a heated molecule during a concert. I preferred the middle of the room where I’d be shuffled past and bumped into before the music started, where I could pretend to gather energy from other people and use it to boost my own. Then, when the first drumbeat was hit, when the amp made that annoyingly important first squealing crescendo, and everyone in the building forgot what it was to be separate, I screamed.

            It was crucial to me to be one of the first twenty gig-goers to lose it. Absolutely lose it. Arms shot up like we’d all just reached the tallest hill on a rollercoaster, and then it was grins, squeals, and cheers for everyone. In that one moment, just before the opening song, no one felt bad. No one remembered anything violent or sad or quiet. No one had to be anything violent or sad or quiet. No one felt anything but what everyone else was feeling. It was like being broken down and then rebuilt.

            I didn’t know the name of the band or what kind of music that they played until they started. That was fine with me. I let go as soon as the singer’s voice filtered through the speakers. I heard ‘woo’ and then the drummer was making a valiant effort at bursting all of our eardrums to smithereens.

            After about thirty seconds into the song, I could feel myself breaking down. I loved how it started. My torso was the first to go. My pulse was no longer my own. My heartbeat was the drumbeat. My body was shaking with the bass. My fingers and hands and wrists and forearms began to lose feeling as the blood rushed downward. But I couldn’t put my arms down.

            I felt my lips moving. I was singing along with the chorus, somehow. There was a heat in my head, right where the sinus migraines always disturbed me. This heat wasn’t painful, it was like a unity. I couldn’t see where Dethany was in the crowd and wouldn’t have been able to locate her to save my life, but I was breathing with her, singing with her, with everyone else in the room.

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