You stand shoulder to jostling shoulder within the crowd, a throng of humanity which grows ever more aroused with each riff on the guitar, not to mention the effect of a relentless percussive thrum. The tide could turn at any moment. The collective unconscious vibrates with a propensity for an orgiastic expression of primal love or a violent manifestation of its, well, darker aspect. There’s no denying its potential, nor its power. The moon glows against the depth of an unseasonably warm and clear October sky, illuminating a lone heart-shaped swath of cloud cover. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear the wisps were growing wings—or perhaps horns.
Snapped out of your trance by the intrusion of your ruminations, which bring you to the cusp of an uninvited realization, you pocket your vape and nudge your way through bodies pressed mercilessly against one another, the result of a quest for expansion within the very constraints of each seeker's physical space. Though the crowd writhes around you, your movements prove sharp and purposeful. Your belly gently spasms around that which has coaxed your center of gravity ever lower by the day. And, you desperately need air.
Emerging from the throng, the moonlight intensifies. Your feet fall heavily upon the earth, leaving boldly stamped footprints within the silvered darkness, until you reach the venue’s gate, where the ground beneath you abruptly transforms to pavement. Easily pushing past security and a smattering of latecomers, you cross the street where the barricades stand and enter the corner market in search of ease.
Within half a minute, you make your way to the register with a bottle of Old Crow. The man behind the counter asks for $22.38. Your change is exact. As he counts it down to the cent within his calloused palm, his gaze meets your own and holds steady for a brief moment. He then tucks the bills and change into the register with eyes downcast, uttering not a word.
Back on the street, the thrum stalks you—reverberating against your sternum, throbbing upon your pelvic floor—until you turn toward the reprieve you seek amid the stench of a narrow alleyway, where the crumbling brick of aging structures absorbs the vibration, leaving you, at last, with some semblance of peace.
Honored as you are to carry this child, you find your task to be a lonely one as you make your way past the dumpsters and unconscious derelicts, stumble over the rats and recessed sewer drains. Just beyond someone’s back door, you set down the bottle and lower yourself onto the pitted asphalt.
Night falls. And, with it, a subtle yet relentless chill. You wrap your trembling arms around your core, wherein the forces of creation and destruction have merged to form nothing less than your own primordial chaos, an oh-so-solitary return to the void, on behalf of each of the unchosen. Tonight, there is no soothing you, and you know well that no one will care—nor dare—to try. So, you settle within your sanctuary, finding comfort in the padding of a couple broken down cardboard boxes, and remind yourself that, the next time your eyes flicker open, you’re all but assured of awakening to the golden glow of yet another fucking promise-laden dawn.
---Kelly Sauvage Angel