Late arrivals continue to spill through side entrances.
The half-dark demands proceeding with utmost caution to assigned seats.
Last coughs, laughs, word exchanges.
Joyful anticipation swarms through the oval of the theater like a flock of playful songbirds.
Maybe they won’t show up after all! Hope rises with every minute that passes. Hope that the two seats to my right remain empty. Our seats are as restricting as those on small air crafts. Barely an inch separates my knees from the back of the seat in front.
My family sits to my left. They rise. Oh no!
A thin teenager passes. Her eyes glued on her iPhone. The person following her takes my breath away. I inhale deeply. As if that can assure the lady will squeeze by with more ease. An awkward body dance between us makes it work. I sit back down. Somehow the woman in leather maneuvers her hips into the adjacent seat. Above and below the armrest, her body spills over into my limited space.
What are the odds that she ends up next to me! My mind entices me to play victim.
“Would you like to switch seats with me?” My husband asks. I decline his kindness. His tall athletic body would be even more restricted than mine. I have seen this band live before, he hasn’t. I am determined to enjoy the show, no matter what.
Musicians enter. Light flashes above stage. The band leader gets the crowd fired up with a brief introduction and pep talk. Like a leopard who stalks his prey and waits for the best time to strike, his words make the audience crave for action. The lady next to me whistles through her fingers, followed by high-pitched screams.
You cannot choose your neighbors, crosses my mind.
Red and green beams dance. Simultaneously, the majestic sound of instruments and voices pull my attention to where it belongs. Brings it back to the sole reason for our presence in this space.
Vibrations make floorboards and air tremble. Captivate the audience. Transform it.
Music becomes a vessel through which something much grander infiltrates the arena.
The last note of the first song dissipates.
The audience remains in a stupor for seconds.
Applause, approving screams and whistles crash the silence with a surge of energy. We beg for more.
And the band delivers. Song after song.
I lose myself in the music, in each story told, in the emotions left on stage by brilliant performers.
The body next to me is forgotten. Short-lived is my annoyance with my neighbor’s ear-piercing whistles and screams after each ballade. I stick with my conscious decision that nothing and no one will ruin my experience of this concert!
The lady and I have come to an unspoken agreement. Our arms and torsos shift and move attentively. A permissive dance to allow the respective other to take pictures, and express herself any way she wants. That’s how I picture the ballet of prenatal twins in a womb. When my body moves to the beat, hers joins in. Her joy of being radiates outward. Tangos with mine, and vice versa. On occasion, our eyes meet ... and smile.
Fire displays on stage set the mood for another song.
Simultaneously, cold air waves come from behind and left. They send chills through my body.
My family grabs their coats to cover their bodies. Not me, the constantly shivering one in the family.
I have my lady friend to the right. Her body generates enough heat to keep me warm.
Her abundance is my duvet.
About the author
Anja Kerstin Kuentzel,
Advanced Grief Recovery Method specialist, nature lover, photographer, and bilingual wordsmith combines her passions to offer a different perspective on life that might inspire, raise awareness or even heal.