The guitarist finishes his wailing solo, the singer throws his hands in the air and with a final scream the set is finished. The roar is deafening, with hands and bodies flailing. One or two people yell “encore, encore” but the band is already gone.
I walk into the airport while trying to balance a pair of shoes on my shoulder. The sun shines in through the windows on the walkway and warms the toes sticking out of my sandals. My passport is checked, my seat assigned, my water bottle filled. The view from the concourse looks out south towards the ocean, but you can’t see it from here. The mountains on either side of the valley rise strikingly.
Wandering out of the bathroom, I lean against the bar and watch the crowd slowly filter off of the floor. Roadies are already tearing down the sound equipment. A group of women dressed in a way that’s only appealing to someone without fear of disease hover around the stage door. I’m still sweating.
Getting the window seat means I can make up for staying out so late each night. At the time its living for the moment, but you pay eventually. The plane takes off with it’s usual shudder and I try to spot the Acropolis, this time knowing where to look. Athens looks smaller from 10,000 feet.
Outside the air is cold and immediately refreshing. The air fills my lungs and my eyes refocus to greater distances. I start walking towards my car, rubbing a pair of ears still ringing.
Nine hours goes swiftly with a pillow and a book. I grab food, switch planes, return to Virginia. The metro is quick to arrive, I barely wait 3 minutes. No one in the train speaks on the trip home.
The next morning my ears aren’t quite back to normal. Images of the mosh pit, the skinny girl floating above me, the look of ecstasy on the singer all replace the picture my eyes return. Work on this, work on that, yeah, I know the drill.
On my way to work I buy a coffee because even with 10 hours of sleep I’m still tired. My eyes have a little trouble focusing on the words on my computer screen. I can still see the ocean, the cliffs, the exotic brunettes. The fact that the applicant is claiming 20 year old technology doesn’t seem as pressing of a matter anymore.
When you hear or experience something truly loud in every sense of the word, it takes quite a while before the quiet things return to their original level.
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