Sometimes I go to a concert with the usual pilgrims. We sit in line for hours, licking lipstick off our teeth. In square formation, lying on raincoats, we lean in towards each other, hair held in limp buns, swapping confidences. Some boys and girls abandon the front and trade spittle, fingertips playing along the fault lines of the sternum. Eyes done up in black and pink, showing off thighs and purple braces, we are a sight to behold.
When it is finally time we run as though chasing down foxes, winding through the back of the open-air auditorium.We push and tug at sleeves, blitzkrieg time baby, nabbing a central position from the enemy. Backs to each other, brothers and sisters, we’ll protect you. We’ll make it as close to the music as we can.
It’s hot, sweet Jesus, it’s so hot. Packed in tight, molded into the contours of strangers, breathing in foreign fluids. The weatherman had predicted precipitation and we await it like dogs for masters. Oh it’s raining, is it? Strobe lights color us neon and gold, a modern, a glossy spin on mini dresses and striped sweatshirts. We let the rain fall upon us, we lap it up like beasts digging into the heart of a deer, sucking up blood thick as honey. I swivel on my heels in time with the bursts and crunches of the stereo. We are a mass of a thousand plebes matching their heartbeats to the thump of pulpy paganism, running down our throats.
I imagine you somewhere in the throng. Maybe you’re eyeing a girl’s glittering make-up, maybe you’re even sticking your hands up her armpits and thrusting your nose into the artificial perfume of her yellow hair. That lavender was created by a chemist off the New Jersey turnpike. That waxy glow on her cheeks is factory-made, processed and standardized, spun up in a Petrie dish like candyfloss. The first thousand to wear her chapstick were a generation of white guinea pigs, engineered to be quiet in battery cages and docile under the microscope. But still you bare your teeth and her breasts underneath the skylights.
It’s a game of will. The hours pass and concert-goers feed on the vision of a singer they’ll never share anything with. There’s nothing substantial in their relationship, but still they feel that shortening the distance to the stage will bring about fresh closeness. It’s a tenderness they transmit through screams and whoops, feet pounding against the tarmac. But how could you hope that a few transient hours would bear fruit? There’s no way he’ll ever spot you in the crowd, absolutely no way your eyes will meet and he’ll fall instantly and irrevocably in love with you. How dare you even think of such a thing? Famous boys don’t care for your sort, dear, famous boys would be wasted on your bland looks and personality. I can just imagine the both of you seated on a tartan-print sofa, looking away from each other, thinking of other things. He’d be thinking: what a mistake, what a mistake it is that I’ve made.
Somewhere you’re letting your hands stray underneath the elastic hem of a girl’s jeans. The extraordinary only ever love the extraordinary. What a fool. What a fool I was, to ever think otherwise.