Heady. Probably the best word to describe how she was feeling. That sweet spot between sobriety and an impending high. All she needed was a shot of tequila or Jaeger. One shot and she would be tipping off the edge. She sat in her little corner watching people. She had the ability to disappear even in the middle of a large crowd, never drawing attention to herself. Right now, perched in the corner, was where she wanted to be. From there, she could see people walk in and out of the main arena and she had a direct line of sight to the exit should pandemonium break out. Better yet, she could also see the stage where the main act would be performing. Besides, this corner allowed her to smoke up in peace and not be too bothered about getting caught.
The main act was a performing artist she had been waiting to see for a long time. She loved his music. She had his two albums on repeat, and even the shuffle option on her Spotify was not spared. She didn’t mind though. All his songs were just perfect. The opening acts currently on stage were good too, but that was not her focus.
Music concerts, festivals and live performances had such a vibe. The mass of happy people. Street food. Overpriced drinks. Vibrant colors. Ridiculous hairstyles. All of it fascinated her. The air always felt charged with a hype or level of euphoria she could never describe, and it somehow made everyone act just a little bit kinder to one another. So for those few moments, she was reminded of how wonderful the world could be and how our differences make life more interesting. She saw how music has this incredible power to bring people together and make people forget their problems, albeit temporarily.
The couple seated to her left looked so in love, and engrossed in each other. They were deep in conversation. They probably did not even notice the goings on around them. Cute. How they held hands. How their body language was attuned to one another. Their drinks, forgotten on the floor next to them. She watched the cold sweat drip off the side of the plastic tumblers and form a little puddle on the ground. The amount of ice melting in that drink must have watered down the alcohol. The three guys seated in front of her were having their own little party. One guy was most definitely in a very happy place, judging by how he could barely hold his own body upright and how the other two were coaxing him to stay awake. Their bottle of whiskey was almost empty. She wondered whether they would be driving home.
The arena was starting to get populated as more revelers checked in. This city truly has good looking people, she thought to herself. Water? Another bottle of wine? Smoke up? She could not quite decide what to do next. That was a short-lived problem as her bladder sort of made that decision for her. She needed to use the bathroom. But who was going to hold her seat? This was the only downside to coming for a concert alone. The moment she left that spot she would be giving it up. The couple from before were now in the middle of a make out session. Should she interrupt or let them be? Maybe if she waited for them to finish they would be of help. Judging from their deep kissing, that plan was bust. That lip locking was not going to end anytime soon. The three whiskey guys were her only option. The really drunk guy was now passed out, leaning on one of his friend’s shoulders. The third guy was staring blankly into the growing crowd.
She tapped his shoulder, startling him. He turned around with a face of surprise that quickly turned into a wide, toothy smile. After the usual pleasantries, she asked if he would watch her seat as she dashed to the washroom. There was definitely no objection from him. Just for good measure, she left her jacket on the bleacher. Just in case.
Tucking her hands into her jeans pockets, she made her way to the washrooms. The heady from earlier was now a full on buzz. And she liked it. Everything felt mellow. She imagined if one could walk on a cloud of marshmallows, that’s what it would feel like. It was like floating on air.
The washrooms were adjacent to the main entrance. This meant that she was walking against the crowd that was coming in. Between the weed-induced buzz and the mass of people walking toward her, she took calculated steps, largely because she did not want to fall and embarrass herself. Her legs were having a hard time not behaving like jello. Emptying her bladder may help her sober up for a teensy weensy minute.
Why were the queues to the ladies washroom always so long? In all this time, the people concerned with organizing events have never thought to have additional facilities for the ladies? Thankfully this line was moving fast enough for her to know she wouldn’t be waiting for long. Thank goodness for small mercies. She was done in no time. It took her all of one minute to wash her hands, take a quick glance in the mirror and walk out. Point to note. This is a popular artist, with loads of fans. And only two toilets for the ladies. Things are bound to get ugly really quickly. Stinky too. She had no business staying in that washroom longer than necessary.
A few steps away from the washroom was the first time she caught a whiff of it. It didn’t last long but stayed long enough for her to catch the scent, which stopped her right in her tracks. You know that thing you do with your neck when you smell something so good. You tip your head to the side. Get that questioning look on your face. Squint your eyes and fare you nostrils? Yes, that thing. Is what she also did. Unfortunately the next inhale she took was that of the washroom. Okay, that’s enough she thought to herself and kept walking.
There it was again. That scent! Only this time it lingered longer. What direction was it coming from? Why couldn’t she figure out where it was, or rather who was wearing it. There were people all around her. a slowly growing mass, all headed in the same direction. Trying to find one good-smelling individual was a tall order. Her pace slowed down just for a bit and she scanned the crowd. This is crazy, she thought. How in the hell is she trying to find a random stranger from a crowd of people all because she caught a whiff of what scent they had on!
Just go back to your little corner and mind your own business, she told herself as she made her way back to where she was seated. Quit chasing the impossible. Right foot hit the bottom bleacher and there it was again! Only this time round, the scent was stronger than before. Dammit!
When she caught a whiff of that last scent sent shivers down her spine. Her heart was beating fast. She immediately felt a cold chill and rubbed her arms. It suddenly felt like she was not getting enough air in her lungs. Her vision was getting blurry. The people she was able to see clearly before were now blurry blobs. The ground was shifting below her and she wasn’t sure how long she could stay standing. Leaning forward, she steadied herself with both hands on the bottom bleacher. She knew she was at a concert. She knew she was safe. She knew that she was in a public place. Her body was here. Right now at this moment. Not her mind though. That scent took her back. To that dark place. To that very scary place. To that place she wanted to run away from. To the place she did not want to remember. This can’t be happening! This was supposed to be a good day. The last thing she remembers is noticing how blue the sky was before she passed out and the back of her head hit the grass below.