If you’re like me—young, single, a vegetarian, more comfortable in Birkenstocks than in high heels, and into the jam band scene—then a Phish show is your Graceland. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event with more adoring fans and I’ve certainly never seen so many cute and friendly boys gathered on one lawn. As silly as it may sound, the return of my favorite live band has everything to do with my mood as of late. Damn, I love the summer.
I somehow managed to score fifth row tickets to a Friday night show at Camden and I didn’t have to sleep with anyone or sell my soul to the devil to get them. It was insane. Glow sticks. Giant balloons. Confetti. Dance party. It also was the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death and Phish teased a few of his songs in 2001. I asked my girlfriend Karen if she would take my extra. She took me to my first Phish show 12 years ago in Albany and we’ve seen them numerous times together ever since. Plus, she’s cool as hell. She deserved it more than anyone else I know.
Seated (well, standing. Who sits at a Phish show?) to my right was an extremely attractive guy by the name of Charlie. Ordinarily I’m all for protecting the innocent but maybe with the help of the internet I can be reconnected with this beautiful stranger. We danced and chatted a bit, he placed his hand on the small of my very sweaty back (ewww), we giggled, and exchanged sex eyes. Okay fine, I gave him the sex eyes. He apologized about 20 times throughout the course of the second set and kept saying he didn’t want to be that creepy guy at the show. I’m not sure why he said that but I gave him some more sex eyes. He told me he had recently gone through a breakup and felt he was in a bad place because of it. I understood completely and told him I’m still in the process of healing myself but that each day gets better and better.
It was the first time I’d said the words out loud and really meant them. I’ve been thinking a lot lately of how slowly the heart heals and how soon we want to forget. To erase the pain and walk on with the reassurance that the future looks bright. I didn’t know how to explain all this to Charlie who appeared to have so much weight on his shoulders, but I hope I communicated this to him in some small way.
Once the show ended and the lights came up, we turned to each other to say our goodbyes. We hugged. Stared longingly for a bit.
And then he walked away.