It was somewhere in the wafting atmosphere born by lit joints and wheezing smoke machines that, ironically, my head found my shoulders.
I stood amongst a crowd of concert-goers. Some were content to live in the moment with bodies asway and eyes closed while each loud bass kick sent a visible ripple of sheer ecstasy through their bodies. Others were content to merely record the moment, faces hid behind lit phone and camera screens watching the event that unfolded before them in the third-person.
I couldn’t bring myself to be the latter for more than a second. I knew I was in the midst of a dream, and I didn’t want to surrender even a moment of it for the sake of reliving it later.
For the first time in years, I wanted the present to remain the present. I dreamed not of the future nor was subjugated by the past. I was living, and cherishing, the present as it unfolded.
Damning thing about the present, though, is that you can’t control its speed.
We had separated for the moment, and I schmoozed with the crowd around me to find that feeling of comfort and effortless companionship I’d enjoyed moments prior. Some considered me a schmoozer by trade, but the reality was that I felt truly comfortable with very few.
After enjoying another of the DJ’s serenades, I decided to replenish my liquids, so I slowly made my way through the tightly-packed crowd towards the bar, accidentally rubbing and being rubbed against hungrily by Mollys as though I were the baggy they were passing around earlier in the evening. When I finally emerged from the amoebic body of dancers, I was able to take but a breath before finding myself again in the midst of a schmooze.
“Bro!”, he yelled as he approached me. Spilly, I’d dubbed him, had spilt a drink on me earlier in the night, and he quickly made reparations by buying me one at the time. Feeling content to play my role as high-rolling schmoozer, I returned him the favour in good humor.
For the moment, we bonded, and when he asked me if I knew where to score some drugs, I found myself surprisingly contented — it was a quick hit of camaraderie, my drug of choice.
Little did I know I’d get it in spades one second later, as two British girls spotted me and immediately grabbed me by the arm while spouting words that I could neither hear nor understand. I, easily charmed, followed along. It was only after one latched herself around me and warmed my neck with her breath that I understood: they’d found, as she put it, “my girl”, and they were trying to reunite us.
The beginning of “Language”, the headlining track of the entire event, had started playing at this point.
The girls dragged me back into the center of the dance floor, searching for their friends who were with “my girl”. They led me by the hand, and for the time being, I regressed to boyhood, being led blindly by strangers with the trust that I’d find home again after becoming lost.
Weaving through the crowd, they carved a path towards home. They pushed. They pulled. They frantically searched around. We couldn’t find them. We couldn’t find her friends. We went right. We went left. We used people as reference. There, by the weird hat guy! No, there, by Glowsticks McGee! No! We’ll find them! Hope. We’ll never find them. Despair. Come this way, she yelled. Then, no no, that way. It was hopeless; it’s not hopeless! And then, she’d screamed, Oh my god, there they are!
The crowd opened to reveal what it held as a pearl in its clamshell, and there she was: a brilliant starburst piercing through the darkness of the club floor.
How I long to be able to freeze that moment as a tableau forevermore. The crowd held still; the once-schizophrenic lights statically targeting a single point; airborne and askew glowsticks hovering motionlessly; smiles, laughs, cheers — all held in stasis. It is eerily quiet and yet appropriately devoid of distraction.
We stand across from one another, my face reflecting the surprise upon our nigh-infinite separation coming to a welcome end. But hers is what I want to remember. Eyes alight, grin forming, hair jostled perfectly as to suggest excitement, body mid-stride towards me and only me.
We were flawed in many ways. We’d each our own bank’s worth of insecurities, issues, regrets, and torments, locked safely behind vault doors to which we held the combinations dear. We were on two seperate vectors of life.
But in that moment of intersection, that simple and glorious second, we were perfection incarnate. We were whole and again together, free from any thought or worry or strife or preoccupation other than the euphoric glory of having found the one we lost. It was a high the likes of which no manmade substance nor product of nature can offer — the type of moment, the only type, with the power to create and destroy love.
It was that moment, that 100% perfect moment, I wished to freeze. But alas, such power is a fantasy, and I knew it. I reluctantly let myself slip from that state of stasis to give time its due right to proceed just as the crescendo of event’s title track enacted the synesthesia that would, to my great surprise and delight and eternal gratefulness, freeze the moment forever in my mind.