Valley Fiesta

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a true story of what happened to me at Brisbane's "Valley Fiesta" 2007. For those of you who don't know who Brian Aubert or the Silversun Pickups are, it's not up to much. For those who do - read on and hail me!

Submitted: July 06, 2008

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Submitted: July 06, 2008



 I lay stiffly on my side, my eyes wide open and staring out into the greyish light that meant it was dawn outside. The first thing I felt was fear, the second, a desire to get out unnoticed. But it just wasn’t going to happen. I told myself to get a grip, to try to go back to sleep.
 About an hour later my bed partner stirred, moving slowly so as to not wake me. When the bathroom door was safely closed, I turned on to my stomach and took the opportunity to pull the sheet over myself. He returned to bed and must have noted my change of position, as he started stroking my back. It had the simultaneous effect of comforting and distressing me. It brought back memories of being touched that tenderly, and by whom, and this was just a skilled simulation. I sighed quietly, and as I relaxed, the night before came back to me in small but clear pieces.
 I felt the excitement rise in my chest as I stood waiting on the platform. The days had dragged on way too long with the anticipation of the weekend. But at last it was Friday, Valley Fiesta, Silversun Pickups and I was determined to have a good time. The vodka in the coke bottle seemed to gleam under the glare of the station lights. Catalyst.
 I don’t mind catching the train by myself at night. There’s something about it; some deeply imbedded city instinct and the sense of mystery, and adventure, or something. I felt utterly comfortable in my skin as I stepped off onto the crowded platform at Central. Is it just me, or is rush hour getting later? I weaved through the dishevelled suits, lithe in youth and exaltation.
 Where was she?
 Holly. Jesus Christ, could it be her? I clocked the stick thin legs and the rest of her body, swamped in clothes that shouldn’t have swamped her. I knew she was sick, but it didn’t really sink in until then. Her face was the only thing vaguely familiar, and when I got close, her big blue eyes. We embraced and I tried not to feel the bones of her back.
 Then onto Brunswick street, talking all the while. It wasn’t awkward, considering how long it had been since we’d seen each other. We have both grown up I guess. Walking through the valley through bright lights, smoke and noise, I could sense her nerves. She said she hadn’t been out in a while. Don’t worry girl, I’ll show you a good night.
 We sat at the side of the stage behind a crowd of similar eagers. I offered Holly swigs from my bottle, and I texted Saul. Immediately upon receiving his reply I looked across the stage and our eyes met. He was with another guy I didn’t know. The crowd’s excitement was building and before long we were standing up.
 So Silversun played and they were amazing. I got lost in the music. Holly and I kissed on the cheek a couple of times. I was so happy just to be there, with this girl, seeing this band I’d just recently fallen in love with. When the set finished we pushed through the crowd. Saul was craning over the stage, and introductions were fairly impossible due to the rush of departing punters on either side.
“We’re going elsewhere”, I waved goodbye “See you later maybe!”
 So anyway, we wound up at the same bar as them; Bar Burlesque, not a regular haunt of mine. Since it was just the four of us, Holly and this other guy, Jordon, paired off leaving Saul and I to chat. I realised it was only the second time I’ve been properly out with him since we first caught up when I moved to the city. Late evenings spent just hanging at his place, playing guitar and X Box and watching zombie movies. The alcohol started to catch up to me by that stage as I don’t remember much of our conversation. More people turned up and I got to meet the infamous Katie; Saul’s best friend. She looked a lot older than eighteen, a lot older than me. Maybe it’s the married thing.
 A few drinks later, Holly wanted to split. She had to work in the morning. I remember what that feels like, even though I’m a lazy student now and had the rest of the weekend to get out of my mind if I so wished. I did. Saul was at the bar. I tapped him on the shoulder and indicated we were leaving. It had been a good night all in all. He leant in for the usual embrace and as he pulled back, I tilted my face up and kissed him goodbye on the lips. I love stepping over lines.
 As Holly’s train pulled in to the station, I decided I didn’t want to go home. She laughed as I turned on my heels and headed back up the ramp to Brunswick street. I have a thing about nights ending prematurely, and this time my instincts were definitely right. I walked up the stairs in the bar for the second time that night and the first person I saw was the front man of the band, Brian Aubert, talking to Saul. They clocked me and I smiled, brushing my fringe from my eyes as I walked forward to request, and receive, a hug from him.
I remember being on the couch between Saul and Brian, and across from the tour manager, flirting with them all in turn.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” Sometimes subtlety is not the desired option.
“Yeah I do, back in the states...” His knee was pressing against mine though, and I thought to myself what a fucking achievement this would be…
“Oh, so that means I can’t make out with you?” Shamelessly slipping into the American lingo, we laughed and continued drinking. I leant forward to talk to the tour manager, and soon enough my name was on the door for the Snow Patrol gig. Saul nudged me on the other side,
“You’re getting hit on by the front man and the tour manager of the band.” I smiled and raised my glass. I felt a momentary pang of empathy; that being in the right form, the right body, meant I reaped the attention from the people he so desperately idolises. But fuck those drunken melancholy thoughts. Brian got up to go to the toilet, probably to do a line now that I think about it. I was on my feet again, leaning over the balcony watching the karaoke and trying to stop myself from shaking. My phone had been buzzing for a while now, messages from friends wanting to meet up. I punched off a text, smiling to myself in incredulity as I read it back. I was not leaving the bar.
 A pair of elbows and a glass rested alongside mine. The Jordan guy wanted me to pass on his number to Holly, and I was only too happy to oblige.
“So you fancy my friend Holly, hey?”
“Yeah…She’s pretty nice.” He passed me back my phone after putting his number on it and gave me a drunken squeeze.
“You’re pretty nice”, I tease him. “Do you fancy me as well?” We hadn’t really parted yet, so in response we both leaned forward into what would be one of the most pointless, and potentially the most devastating, kisses of my life so far.
 The next thing I recall was Katie in my face, saying I shouldn’t have done that in front of Saul. Being drunk and hyperactive I immediately leapt to defend myself
“Saul doesn’t like me that way, he never has - ” It’s just not the case. Still, I conceded her point: if I was going to make out with a random person, why not make it him?
 I have no idea what I was doing for the next part of the night, milling around in the bar with no one I knew there. Saul and Jordan had both gone home at that point. Separately. It couldn’t have been long before Brian was back, and we were linking arms down the stairs and out into the valley…People were coming up to him in the street and paid no more attention to me than a fly on the wall, but that didn’t matter at all because a taxi was pulling up. Ours.
 And then the morning after, this slightly numb feeling. I could see through the blinds real light now. I rolled over, sliding my legs over his.
“Good morning.” He smiled and returned my embrace.
“Morning. Did you sleep okay?”
“Mmm. Yeah. You?”
“Kinda. I don’t wanna go to Sydney for this MTV thing. I’d rather stay here all day with you.” He brushed a strand of hair from my face. The reality of where I was started to sink in. As far as one night stands go, I wouldn’t know how it went. I suppose it was appropriate for my first to be with a famous musician. But he was just a guy, in the end. As he hugged me goodbye down the street from his hotel, I was glad to be alone again as I made the final foray back to the station, and home.

© Copyright 2018 kerryh. All rights reserved.

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