I keep my unused ticket in a box with other memorable stubs from various concerts, plays, and sporting events. They represent efforts made in the name of happiness. Memories quietly preserved on Ticketmaster vouchers. Many of them were from good times; romantic times with my husband. The days when he cared to impress me with orchestra seats. The days when I kept my cocktail dresses dry-cleaned. Those days are dead and gone, but I resort to my special container of memories from time to time when I’m dusting the armoire. My unused ticket rests quietly between the efforts by my husband, almost in mockery. That ticket, with its official time and date stamped on the front, quietly lurks to remind me of the night I'll never forget.
We finished bottle after bottle of wine, and shared crazy stories at our favorite Italian place in the city. It always feels good to laugh. These were my ladies. They have heard earfuls of drama, endured hours of crying spells, and have provided me with invaluable advice. But that night was all about a good time. After dinner, we were girls in a coming-of-age movie, singing along with the latest CD all the way to the venue. The buzz was shared between my friends, as we planned the names of our children with the lead guitarist, and bounced to the music in the KIA. At that time I hadn't seen the band in years. Can they still rock like they used to? Marriage and children can be big dream killers you know. I should know. Luckily for us, the nosebleed section would preserve the fantasy. But no matter how shitty the seats were, I was just happy to be with close friends and out of the house for once.
“It must have been your singing Pam,” I said jokingly. “I’ll take care of Karen, there’s no sense in all of us missing the show.”
She almost didn’t make it out of the car. I volunteered to help Karen as she puked a pinkish blend of pasta and Cabernet Sauvignon out in the parking lot. That was definitely the girls’ cue to head for the turnstiles to catch the opening act.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” A voice crept from behind.
I didn’t look back because I was preoccupied with my friend. “No thanks, we’re fine.”
I was brief and held my drunken tongue for fear that he might be some rapist.
“Then can you please aim your friend’s vomit elsewhere?” He said firmly.
I looked around, and finally noticed that Karen had spackled the passenger side of a brand new Lincoln Navigator.
My demeanor suddenly changed to something more polite, “I’m sorry sir, I’ll clean…” I froze, and then looked up when his distinct east coast accent registered with me.
It was him! Never in my wildest dreams, well maybe in my wildest dreams. But this kind of encounter never happens to someone like me. I collected myself and said, “No ****!” I yanked Karen’s head back and to the side so she could see whose car she was puking on.
“I thought rock stars had chauffeurs?” My cool indifference didn’t fail me.
“Why take a limo?” He said with a sarcastic confidence. “I’m all about the entire fan experience.”
I wasn’t too drunk, but I wasn’t sober either, my reaction was that of a seasoned groupie. I was so proud of how I handled the whole situation. I said everything right to make him invite us backstage. I was cool, calm, and slightly inebriated. As soon as Karen stopped puking, he escorted us through a side door. I had the ticket between my fingers. I tried to look like I knew where we were going, while quietly observing the controlled chaos behind the scenes. He led us through the corridors of the large concert hall, I just remember it looking industrial-like with water pipes and fluorescent lighting running above us. It was all so surreal. I no longer felt that confidence I had in the parking lot. For a split second I felt like a true band slut, but it all disappeared when we appeared in the V.I.P. section. I put my ticket away; regained composure; grabbed a bottled water for Karen; and poured myself another glass of wine.