Tonight was a good night, and I needed that. Another concert on the plaza. Two down, eight more to go. It’s easier this year, because I have some help. All I have to do is show up and introduce the band. No more lugging things from my car, dumping bags of ice, and later the water from the melted ice. Still, concert nights make for a long day at work. Eight hours in the office and then what feels like another work day in the evening. I’m not at my best right now, both mentally and physically, and these concert days wear me out. Tonight was good, though. I knew the band. They are friends. Back when I was a musician, I played in bands with several of them. That seems like a lifetime ago. It was. I was a different person back then, but that is another story. Right now, I am trying to concentrate on the life in front of me.
The drummer for tonight’s band is from my own little town. I’ve known him most of my life. I can remember being a middle school girl and watching him play. Years later, he was my son Andrew’s drum teacher. He is also my friend, and we share many mutual friends. I had calls all day from people in my little town. “What time is the concert tonight? Can we bring a cooler? Do we need to bring chairs?” Even so, I was surprised to see rows of people that I knew! I was surrounded by friends and family tonight, and that felt so good. My worlds collided in a good way. My work world in a city that I love and my real life world from the town where I am rooted were all gathered in one place tonight. I danced on the plaza with childhood friends to music played by other friends. The sun was setting over the river, and a sliver of moon shown in the sky.
Tomorrow will be another day. Tonight’s magic spell of peace and calm is now just a memory, but it is not gone. It is not lost on me. It was a stepping stone on this path. Tonight bolstered me up just when I needed it. Good people were once again put in my path at a time when I most needed my faith in human kindness and goodness restored.
None of it was about me. None of it had to do with me. No one was there to see me, or because of me, or for me. Still, the evening touched me. Once again, I was an observer. I watched. I looked at people and their reactions. It was seeing those reactions that reminded me of how it felt to be happy. I remembered! I saw them enjoying music, the evening, the company of their friends. I saw them smile and laugh and dance. Watching it all, these people from my town and my life in the place where I work, reminded me of some lost song that my soul used to sing.
My life has changed. I am no longer the middle school girl watching the band. I am no longer the mother listening to her child learn to play drums. I am no longer the woman in the band. I am no longer the woman filled with hope who once stood and watched the snow fall twinkling like magic through the lights of the plaza almost four years ago. I have seen things I should not have had to see. I have lost things I should not have had to lose. I am someone else entirely now.
We have all changed. None of us are free from the pain and changes life throws our way. We have all changed. I still don’t know who I am or who I have become or will become. Maybe the people I watched tonight know who they have become. Maybe that is why they are happy.
As I sit here writing, I am afraid. I am afraid of sleep and dreams and tomorrow. What it will bring? I don’t want to plunge back down, but I know I will. It’s inevitable. I know that. Tonight was a brief intermission. Tonight I was not alone. I felt good and whole for a few moments. That’s why I must dissect those moments and glean all possible knowledge from them. Tonight was a stepping stone that I must carefully place in a solid resting place on my path.
Before the curing of a strong disease, even in the instant of repair and health, the fit is strongest.
Evils that take leave, on their departure most of all show evil.
~ William Shakespeare