My brother and I were still blissfully ignorant of the shadows in life then. I was sixteen. He was eighteen. It was a happy time in our lives. He was finally getting out of the house, away from our parents' broken marriage, going off to college. I had finally gotten my drivers license and a job, giving me more control over my life. There was a feeling of deluded freedom both of us shared together that summer. We were like blind birds, taking off with our liberties into the dark world, but unwittingly heading straight towards a net.
Sam and I had been worried about getting mugged walking through Golden Gate Park at night. But when we parked Sam's old Beetle on JFK Dr. and headed into the park, we found there was an adequate amount of people around. There were too many witnesses for someone to try and pull a stunt like that, especially because those witnesses would be Zombie Love fans, who are usually their own brand of crazy - crazy you didn't want to mess with.
We had a map, but we didn't need it. We could hear the sweet grungy rifts of Zombie Love flowing through the park, and the path to Peacock Meadow was littered with groups of people we could fallow. The darkness factor was also something we didn't need to worry about. People were wearing glow stick and lighting the way with their cell phones.
After a brisk walk down Pompei Cir., our palms sweaty with anticipation, the meadow revealed itself, and that which was in the meadow - Zombie Love. They were there in person, right up on stage. Even though there was a considerably large crowd in between us and the band I felt incredibly star struck. I could literally see the sweat dripping off their bodies, the amazing sheen on the lead guitarist, Eddie Durelli's signature leather pants, the tattoos dancing on Blake Heartman's forearms as he plucked away at the base. The spunky, pink haired, front woman, Trixie Fuller, rocked and danced along to the beat James Pepplin was laying down on the drums. Her voice was amazing in person, light, yet tough and soulful.
This was it, me and Sam's last hurrah. It was our last adventure together before he headed off to college in two weeks. I was going to miss him fiercely. And I was sure he was going to miss me. We were so close. I was going to miss his goofy teasing and protectiveness, him helping me with my math homework. I passed geometry this year because of him. I was going to miss our long talks, talks about school and our parents, those jokes that were so deep in our lifelong history that no one would ever get them but us. This concert had to be epic. I was going to make sure of that. We were going to savor this night for the rest of our lives… so I thought.
I nudged Sam in the arm with my elbow, and shot him a giddy smile. He smiled back at me with equal excitement, his teeth sparkly white in the low light of neon glow sticks. Sam had perfect teeth. They were straight and even, the perfect size. Unlike mine, which were white as well, and straight for the most part, but my two front teeth were longer than the rest. He called them my chipmunk teeth. It was all in good humor though. He always assured me that when he referred to me as a chipmunk he only meant it in the most complimentary way, saying that I was cute.
Sam looked pretty much perfect himself as well. He was tall and well muscled. His hair was dirty blonde and curly, grown out just to his chin. He held strong masculine facial features, defined jaw, prominent brow. His eyes were a deep blue. Both our parents had blue eyes and blonde hair, so that's what both of us got. Over the years both of our colors had faded to a very light golden brown, but since I was a girl I had the vain privilege of dying it. And that I did. I bleached it to the point of practically being white. My skin was really pale so with the light hair I looked like an albino. This of course was another thing Sam liked to tease me about. But what can you do? He was my big brother.
Sam was the way he looked in personality. He was manly, dominant, responsible, and perfect. He participated in every sport known to man, or at least every sport our school would provide. He had straight A's. Girls wanted him, and guys wanted to be him. Even though he had all this going for him, he didn't have a crazy big ego, like most guys like him would have. He was nice, modest. He wasn't a womanizer. As a matter of fact he had only dated two girls during his entire high school. If there was anything about Sam that impressed me the most it was his beautiful sensitivity towards women. Sometimes I liked to think that I was partly responsible for creating that in him. And who knows? Maybe I was.
I was different than Sam. I didn't get straight A's and participate in school sports. I was flawed. I was more on the artsy side of things. I liked to draw and paint and make up stories. My imagination was where I lived. Like my personality, everything about my appearance had it's own little quirks, pointy upturned nose, small pointy ears, freckles, then there was my chipmunk teeth. I was tiny, compared to Sam's stature, short and thin. He was everything ideal, while I was an unconventional sort of beauty.
It was funny how two people so different could be so close and somehow have so many things in common. We really were a pair.
Tonight Sam looked a little more tough than usual since we were at a rock concert. He was wearing a black leather jacket, with ripped blue jeans, and converse. I was dressed up in a pair of black jeans and flats, and a holy black knit sweater over another long sleeved shirt. It was chilly, but I had a feeling I was going to get warmed up once we headed into the crowd. And I couldn't wait.
"This is amazing!" I beamed to Sam. "Thank you for taking me."
He smiled toothlessly. "Just don't lose your head, okay?" then he messed the top of my hair with his palm. "Come on Chipmunk."
We headed into the see of people in front of us.
The music was sick. Out in the
middle of the crowd I felt like my ears were going to explode -
in a pleasant way - if that makes any sense. I was completely
captivated by the band, singing along to every word, raising my
hands up in the air. I was faintly aware of the crowd around me,
the pushing and shoving of bodies, like the ebb and flow of an
ocean that I was now apart of. My ears took in the sounds,
letting them enter my brain and slosh around my thoughts. I
closed my eyes to let it all sink in. This was my favorite song.
It was about sacrifice for the people you love, an open concept
that could relate to a lot of hearts and a lot of situations,
which is probably why I liked it.
"There is a dark cloud,
Rooming your soul.
The mind over matter
The push for the pull.
This gift is for you.
Just the same, the joy for the tear,
The peace for the pain."
Those were my favorite lines. The last rifts of the song shrunk away, as if they were heading off into the distance, leaving echoes in my mind. My eyes opened slowly too see the band settling down before they transitioned into the next song. I turned my attention to Sam, who was standing to my right, but when I did, I realized a stranger was standing in his place. My eyes searched about, to my left, front, behind me. He wasn't there. "Sam!" I called. No answer. I stood on my tip-toes to see over the people who were taller than me, which was most of them. I couldn't see him. "Sam!" I called again, knowing he wasn't going to be able to hear me over the music.
The fear of being alone in a strange place began to unsettle me, even though logically I knew I'd be fine. It was weird that Sam would just walk off without telling me first. Maybe he did tell, but I just hadn't heard him. Or maybe the crowd had separated us somehow. I thought about just waiting and staying in the same place, but I was too antsy.
Slipping and shoving my way through tons of bodies, I searched for Sam in the crowd, yelling his name. No one took any notice to me. They couldn't hear me. I couldn't even hear myself. Everyone was too entranced by the band, the same way I had been twenty minutes ago, to pay any attention to their surroundings. This was like searching for a needle in a hay stack.
Eventually, after attempting to push my tiny self all the way around the aggressive and huge pool of people, I was coming up exhausted, and I still hadn't found him. I realized he was probably in the bathrooms. There was a group of port-a-potties way off to the side of the concert. I drudged my way to the edge of the crowd until finally I was free of the heat, shoving, and sweat within it. As I walked toward the port-a-potties the chill of the San Francisco evening seeped through my clothes. I could feel Goosebumps forming under my shirt and sweater. It reminder me of the sensation of walking out of a hot tub and jumping into a cold pool. Once I was far enough away, the music exploding out of the amps on the stage had become fainter.
I knocked on the middle of the six port-a-potties. "Sam?" I inquired of the bright turquoise structure.
"Ocupado." called an unfamiliar voice.
God, this was awkward.
I went through the rest of them, knocking, some giving weird responses, some none at all. I was sure there was a couple making out, or only god knows what, in one of them. Gross. A few of them I opened to find that they were only empty. Sam wasn't there. Now I was beginning to get worried. We had been separated for a considerable amount of time. I began to regret my decision to get up and look around. Maybe I had only separated us further and he was wandering around looking for me too just as worried. Jeeze, I was stupid. Why did I have to be so impulsive?
I walked back to the edge of the crowd and stopped, looking for a familiar head of dirty blonde curls within it. Still none. I circled around to the very back of the crowd where the forest started. Only a few glow sticks stood out from the almost pitch darkness within the trees. Probably more couples making out. I craned my neck towards the crowd, once again on my tip-toes.
Then I felt a slight change in air pressure behind me. It was so sudden I could barely even register it before a voice said, "Your not going to find him," leaving a flood of cool breath upon the back of my neck. I spun around abruptly, and was met with the dark gaze of a tall young man. It was as if he had appeared there out of thin air. I hadn't heard the grass rustle or leaves crunch in precession to his arrival. And I didn't remember seeing him anywhere around the area a moment ago. I think I would have remembered a person like him.
He towered over me, his long form lean and angular. He must have been at least 6'3. He was wearing a long black coat, a grey t-shirt with holes at the bottom, faded black jeans, and black boats. There was a cross earring dangling from his left ear. He was definitely making a bold fashion statement. His skin was a deeper olive tone. His dark brown hair hung lengthily past his shoulders, sleek and straight. It was longer than mine. The planes of his face were dramatic, strong jaw line and high cheek bones. Then there were his eyes, his deep brown, almost black eyes. He fixed them on me intensely. They were like pools of darkness and I felt like I was drowning in them.
"Excuse me?" I blinked, trying to concentrate.
"He's not here." his voice was deep and almost melodic. It sounded to me like a beautiful love ballad.
"Sam? You mean Sam?" I questioned in confusion. How would some stranger know anything about Sam?
"He left with my sister, Elena, a while ago."
"What?" I shook my head in disbelief. "No. Sam wouldn't just leave me alone to go off with some girl like that. He would never… you must have him confused with someone else."
"His name is Sam Buhrdstrung."
I froze. "How do you know that?"
He chuckled lightly. "Because I met him, about thirty minutes ago when he left with Elena."
I furrowed my brow. "Are you sure?"
"Do you honestly think there are two Sam Buhrdstrungs at this concert?" he asked sarcastically.
I laughed inwardly at my own stupidity, biting my lip.
"I told him I would look after you for him."
I crossed my arms and shook my head. "I don't believe this." And I really didn't. He was leaving me alone with some stranger dressed like Bender form the breakfast club, so he could run off with some girl? This guy could be a murderer, or a rapist for all I knew. How could Sam do this to me? This was nothing like him. There was something wrong about this.
"Hey, I'm sorry if you're upset. I'm
Seth by the way." he smiled charmingly, locking eyes with
Suddenly, I began to feel at ease. I knew I didn't really have a reason to trust him - he was a stranger - but it was like my brain just glossed over that logic, and operated blindly to reason. "I'm Lilly." I introduced.
"Lilly? As in Lillith, Adams first wife? Your named after the notorious mother of demons?" he chuckled.
I scoffed. What a wierd guy. "No Lilly, as in Lillian."
"Ah, Lillian, after the flower, a symbol of innocence, purity, beauty…" he smirked pleasantly. "that definitely fits better."
I found myself flattered and giddy, which is something I usually never was when guys complimented me. I could see through all of them, bunch of sleazy bastards. But not this guy. I was dazzled by everything he did. He made me feel light and happy, like I was in some sort of clueless haze.
"Where did they go? Sam and your sister?" I asked.
"Would you like to go see them?"
I nodded. "Yeah."
"Then let's go." he said, holding out a large slender hand.