Authors: Elisa Jackson
She had been following their successes, though. As many other friends, they had gotten real big.
It was just Darya who had no success to be proud of.
Staring at their older, but still familiar faces took away the sudden chill that had braced her before. This couldn’t be a coincidence. Never. Coming across this poster when wandering around a random, unknown street had to be a sign. The concert was happening tonight.
In less than an hour.
Their tickets will be sold out, no doubt.
Yet, the sudden desire to be there among the thousands of fans, to be inside the sea of the thousands of hands that would wave at her friends felt as necessary as air to her – maybe even more. She could live with no air, but never without music – she was a true child of Rock ‘n Roll and this felt like a long waited call to come home. Her
home. The only
She danced and the whole world got a new meaning in her mind. She sang – remembering every word, every tiny bead of memory hidden in the shells of those lyrics.
Darya listened to Drake DaBlazer – one of her all-time favorite rock vocalists scream the lines of “Flaming Hearts” and she remembered how this legendary song was created. How Drake cried when his first girlfriend disappeared on him without leaving a note. Later, they found out that something had happened to her family and young 18yearold Drake believed that flames united their hearts forever. Drinking beer in their storage center, which was also their rehearsal place, could they ever imagine that years later thousands of people would still cry listening to this song, would sing in chorus with Drake – now a middle aged man with wrinkles and old style makeup. Would Darya imagine that she would be at their anniversary concert remembering the moment this song was born?
“Man, who is going to listen to you whining about your ex? Rock is about power, bro…” She remembered the boys teasing poor heartbroken Drake.
Back then, as she sat holding Jay’s hand, she could never imagine that the day would come and her heart would also be broken, yet no songs would be born out of that sadness, no flames would keep her love aflame.
Darya let her body get lost in music. She let herself fly and all the shadows of past were forgotten, every trouble creeping inside her tiny dark heart was nonexistent for a moment. The true self of her was out dancing with her hands spread around, shaking her head and sending her long hair flying – like hundreds of tongues of flames.
“Damn, this is big. Do you think we can make our sound heard in this studio?” the voice of then 17yearold Sid whispered in Darya’s mind. They were waiting for their turn to audition at “Rock-hard Records,” a label that was looking for new talent. None of their bands had success on that day, but they were so young and so full of hope.
“Get used to it, bro. This studio was crap though, we’ll be playing in stadiums real soon, trust me I can feel it in my guts.” Jay was always good with encouragement.
Sometimes Darya thought their band as well as DaBlazers would have given up long before their first success if not for Jay and the constant inspiration he spread around.
Sid’s guitar roared like a wild beast now – not afraid of any studio or stadium size. He was the most adored member of the band having thousands of girls write his name on their t-shirts and flash some of their sweet parts for him at the gig. He was the same Sid, just with a strand of silvery gray hair highlighted in his long dark hair.
Kids and teenagers cheered and sang every lyric of every song as did the older fans. Darya was surprised to see so many fans from older generations.
Those who grew up with us,
she smiled at the thought, but it was a sad smile. She could remember some of their most devoted fans from the times back in the 90s, they were like family to them driving across the country from state to state to follow their tour bus and attend every single concert they played.
Would any of them even remember my music now?
Probably not. She had refused to listen to any of her music for more than eighteen years now. Why should others listen if she herself did not care?
She recalled one night at the rooftop – there were DaBlazers, Jay and Darya with their band members and some of their closest friends and fans. It was a year after their first album release and they were just starting to get popular. They were lying there counting the stars in the sky when Ed – the drummer who back then played with both of their bands made a half-drunk toast.
“If I were some important guy – an astrologist or something, I would name one of these stars DaYa – because all of you will be forgotten and her name will shine in the…” probably he intended to say ‘skies’, but was so drunk that he fell asleep before finishing the toast. They all laughed at the joke. Darya laughed now as well, but there was no humor in her nervous giggle – she was the only faded star among all of them. Go figure that out!
She felt a sudden rush to run away and hide. Music was not home anymore. Or even if it was – it was one with daunting ghosts in it. As she left the stadium, Darya still lingered in the hallway maybe she was still feeling nostalgic and wanted a moment to process her feelings, or she was simply hoping for something or someone to call her back to hold her and not let her run away.
She laughed at the thought there was nobody who knew her at the concert. Well, except for the band members, but they were busy on the stage at the moment.
It turned out that the Gods of rock ‘n roll could still hear the thoughts of their favorite daughter, as they did grant her with her hidden wish made her escape not possible. As Darya turned towards the stairs a huge figure emerged in front of her blocking her way. She felt annoyed that the person did not move to let her go. It took moments until Darya realized that it was Mike – the tour manager of DaBlazers, standing in front of her. He had apparently recognized her and stood with his arms crossed at his chest waiting for her to look at him. Mike had been a part of the band since the very beginning and knew her well.
“Look at who has honored us tonight!” he screamed loudly. Darya was glad that the music was so loud in the stadium that nobody could’ve heard them. She still intended to keep a low profile and disappear right after she talked to Mike. She was scared that he would ask questions, but also glad to run into an old friend.
“Hey Mike…uhm, you look good,” small talk could maybe help her escape.
“That should be my line. You look stunning, diva! Give me a hug, I missed you, girl. Nobody heard of you for years. Are you doing well? How can you live without music?” The last question was more an accusation.
Darya felt the discomfort creep into her bones.
“Yeah. I have a business now,” she said as if that was an explanation.
“That rocks,” said Mike with less than zero enthusiasm. Why give a damn about fashion if he was the manager of the kings of rock n roll. “Listen, the show is coming to an end, but you absolutely need to join the after party. The guys will shoot me in the head if they know I’ve let you go. You are a VIP guest, here.” He shoved a badge over her head and trapping her between his strong arms forcefully carried her backstage without hearing any excuse.
The world was collapsing around her, shooting hot lava and Darya felt like standing right in the middle of it. The backstage felt like purgatory – she was now paying for every single sin she had made in her life and judging from the number of roadies and crew members, who recognized her and the looks they gave her – she had sinned a lot in her past.
Then the gods descend from the skies and sing, every single fan in the stadium knows that right there right at that moment they are singing just for them and them alone!
Eric knew that too, but in all three decades of his life, he had never been to a concert this big. It was worth all the savings and travel. It was worth waiting for so long. Finally, he was here and the DaBlazers were going to rock his world and made this night unforgettable.
He had prepared for this day for weeks. Made sure he rehearsed all their songs on the set list several times to be able to sing from the first chords until the last applause with them. His throat hurt, but for a change, he felt happy, something he couldn’t be bragging about very often.
It was amazing to share the moment with his best friends Margo and Alison. Though being a single guy at a concert with a lesbian couple who didn’t waste a moment to very publicly and very indiscreetly display their affections for each other could hurt at times. Eric wouldn’t mind them much if they didn’t insist on having him stand between them to make sure he didn’t feel lonely or sad.
Had it not occurred to them that with their altruistic effort they brought very few chances that he could maybe meet a hot cute metal chick at the concert? Probably not. But, honestly, knowing him for more than a decade they apparently had lost every hope that he was capable to meet any girl. Maybe he had an empty hole where others had a muscle called heart? Possible, but not quite close to reality. After all he had felt his heart crash once a long time ago and it took him years to recover if any recovery was possible after what he’d been through.
He was functional now at least. He could enjoy some tiny things in life, including the most awesome rock concert of all time by the coolest band in existence. To add more to his best night ever, the girls had somehow managed to get VIP invitations to the after party.
Eric did make the mistake to ask them how they had managed to get the invitations.
“Nothing special, just gave mind-blowing BJs to the roadies,” the couple answered in perfect unison flashing their huge glossy pink smiles at him. Eric was not sure whether they were telling the truth or joking with him, but with those two he knew better than to try to find out the truth.
The after party was something he’d never seen before. His eyes had probably turned round from his surprised looks – had he ever imagined being around so many rock stars while they all drank and partied hard… Eric could only hope that the round eyes were not a permanent damage to his face. Strangely, all of these stars suddenly felt so human, so normal. It was a strange thought. They were not made of metal or rock, even if they played in those music genres.
Ali and Margo didn’t care how many stars danced around them – as if those two had set their minds on startling all of those great celebrities around them and making them wonder who these two new unknown divas were. Eric enjoyed watching their little show and cheering for them, but truth be told, here at the party he started feeling really lonely. He was never the type of a guy to go and talk to strangers – especially when those strangers were authors of multiplatinum albums and their faces had been decorating his walls for decades.
That was the moment when
appeared in front of his eyes.
That was not possible.
Never ever in this universe!
If his mind was playing some nasty games with his brain, this was the most painful game it could have chosen. If she were an illusion, a borne of his imagination, she looked too real, too beautiful, too much like her real self.
I have kissed the skies looking into your eyes,
he remembered the lyrics of his all-time favorite song by her band and those were the only words that would have described how he felt when their eyes locked for just a split second. Then she turned away, her flaming hair flying in the air and, as was proper to her status, started talking to the stars of the night – the DaBlazers.
Eric was still close enough to be able to hear chunks of their conversation. At least he could hear her voice again.
His insides trembled.
The voice caressed his mind.
He watched Drake DaBlazer wrap his arms around her. Of course, he was the star! But her body language screamed of helpless discomfort – a scream only heard to Eric’s sensitive ears.
“You look awesome, D! How could you disappear on us just like that?” Drake didn’t give her a chance to explain, though Eric would also love to hear the answer. “It’s a shame to waste so much talent. If you ever consider going back, I’m your manager, I swear!”
“Uhm… Thanks Drake. But that world is closed for me. Loved to see you, though. You sounded amazing tonight.”
“I’m always amazing, Baby D., while you proudly sound like a failure.” Drake was definitely too drunk with his own pride to notice what his words did to her. Eric saw it. His heart sank.
Edward ‘Ed’ DaBlazer hugged her from the back stealing her away from Drake’s arms. Eric thought at least the drummer was there to save her from her misery.
“I thought it was a prank when they told me you were here! My sweet Rock ’n Roll diva back from the land of dead and forgotten, hallelujah!” He kissed her ear and all the way down the side of her neck and her collarbones. Though it was almost a brotherly bear hug, her body was so tense it could just break into parts at any second.
Her eyes searched the room, probably for a place to run away and hide, or so it seemed to Eric. She was gorgeous, even in her misery. She was proudly wearing the kind smile darkened and weakened by the painful failure. But that was the same smile that made Eric’s heartbeat. At that very moment he knew he’d do anything to put her out of her misery.
“Eric, be a man, dance with Ali,” Margo grumbled crushing next to him and he felt Alison already dragging him to dance. There had been too much beer in the systems of both of his friends, so he sighed as he had to lose
from his sight for the long minutes as he struggled to keep up dancing with ever energetic Alison. His mind stayed with her and if the thoughts could be able to spread towards someone and caress them, she would be the most adored person at this party.
Every friendly question pushed a deeper spike through Darya’s fragile heart. It did annoy her to have to justify and excuse herself to everyone for being happy,
or at least pretending to be happy.
It felt as if each and every friend was trying to take pleasure in confirming for themselves that her life without rock music was worthless, that one shouldn’t even consider her alive and breathing any more… Darya wanted to scream.