Cincinnati, Ohio Late Fall 2011
He has an angel’s face; with hair that touches his collar and brown eyes, lighter than my own.
I force myself to stop daydreaming and instead begin to wonder whether I’ve gotten myself into some awful predicament that I won’t be able to find a way out of. I’m still sitting on a rusty stool, in the same stupid broom closet I’ve been stuck in for almost two hours, waiting for Jay. In the meantime, the water that’s been dripping from a leaky pipe has not only soaked the floor, but has also begun to puddle around my feet. At the same time, pieces of conversations from people I can’t see seem to be getting closer to where I’m hiding.
Even worse, the bucket standing in the corner stinks with the bitter smell of bleach, dirt, and something else which finally causes an immediate urge to sneeze. Afraid that someone might hear me, I hold my finger right below my nose as I recite the words I made up; ’I must be still. I must be quiet’.
I repeat them twice, hoping they’ll also calm what’s becoming a bad case of claustrophobia; something totally new to me. And then I shake my head, positive I’m one of the dumbest people in the world.
Making sure my sneakers don’t slip or squeak on the wet concrete, I slowly slide off the stool while I look around, trying to find something to read for a few minutes, even if it’s just a label on a bottle. Instead, I back away while I watch a very large spider crawl from behind some cleaning supplies only a few inches from where I’m standing. I hate spiders and finally force myself to take a few silent steps through the open doorway, positive its long, hairy legs would have eventually found my arm.
The fresh air helps my itchy nose but with every breath, the anger that’s been building up inside of me continues to grow. I don’t have a clue as to why he’s doing this to me, and now I know that he never planned on coming back, even though he promised he would. I hate Jay. I hate him for leaving me stuck here… and for a hundred other reasons. I hate myself even more.
I realize a lot of girls my age have already ’been there…done that’. Still, I’m positive their memories of that first time with a boy are better than my own. Thinking about all the things he’d said while his rough hands touched me in places no one had ever touched before makes me almost sick to my stomach. I still can’t believe I was stupid enough to trust him…or to have done what I did.
Once again, I stop myself from thinking about anything as two men walk by, eyeing me with their sly male smiles while I try my best to melt into the wall behind me. They wink and then look away as I begin to inch along that same wall, trying to remember exactly where we entered the building.
Right above me, a couple of burly guys shuffle around as they struggle with the last pieces of equipment. I keep my head down as I walk past, hoping they’re too busy to notice I’m here. A few steps later, I’m finally hidden behind a very large black crate, almost sure I’m heading in the right direction.
I huff out another angry breath as I stuff one hand in my jeans pocket, touching the ticket and the twenty-dollar bill I put there three hours earlier. I don’t know why I bothered to bring the money. It’s not important anymore. What I need to do is find the door we came through; the only one I know of that will put me beyond the gated area of the theater. Stupid me should have paid more attention as to whether we turned left or right instead of looking at all the props and amplifiers we passed.
I finally look up ready to keep going, only to see the man I wanted so much to meet walking toward me with two others, while my heartbeat accelerates just because it wants to. The three of them stop for just a minute, laughing about something, while I stand there grinning, unable to move or even open my mouth.
Immediately after I spot Jay, sneering at me as he leans against a pair of heavy metal chains, and I’m totally pissed off once again. Somehow, he knew I’d never have the guts to follow through with my crazy little scheme all alone. I also know he isn’t going to say a word or introduce me like he’d promised.
For a few minutes, I glare at him while he shrugs his shoulders, laughs at something, and then turns and walks away. Not two seconds later, someone grabs my arm. He isn’t rough, but the look on his face tells me he’s aware of why I’m here. Printed across his shirt in bold white letters is one word: SECURITY.
“You can’t be back here little lady. This area is off limits...to everyone, including you.”
The man addresses me as if I’m twelve while a blush of pink rushes across my cheeks and ′little girl′ tears gather in the corners of my eyes.
“I know,” I whisper, looking down at the concrete floor and my very damp sneakers.
The sound of his deep, masculine voice drifts toward the two of us and for just a moment time stops as I look up, while my blush deepens and the tears that were ready to fall somehow vanish.
“You have a ticket sweetheart?” Leslie Cohen asks with a soft, warm smile.
I nod my head and immediately look away. After all, I don’t want him to think I’m staring. At the same time my hands tingle, my knees shake, my heart stutters in my chest, and my vocal cords refuse to utter any of the words I’d wanted to say.
The security guard grasps my arm a little tighter, chuckling to himself as he begins to pull me away. But I manage to turn one last time and smile, only because he’s still looking back at me. Awed and embarrassed, I look at the ground once again, while the man who has my arm pulls a little harder, forcing me to walk with him. The guard continues smiling as he escorts me through a pair of double doors, up the aisle, and finally into the lobby of the theater.
“Don’t try it again missy. Next time your parents will be called,” he says as he holds the final door open while I walk out, praying that no one recognizes me.
Taking a deep breath, I wait in the cold like everyone else, hoping I’ll find someone I know; someone who’ll give me a lift when the show’s over. I’d rather walk the ten or so miles than beg Jay for a ride.
Maybe one day I’ll remember this and smile about it all. Maybe it was worth it; worth every awful minute with the jerk. The seventeen-year-old almost adult me; the one that’s heading off to college in less than a year knows that I’m lying. I don’t want to think about it anymore so I tuck it away until later.
I button up my coat as I begin to walk the perimeter of the building, peering in the long rectangular windows that are all blacked out, allowing no one to see what’s happening inside. I sit on a wooden bench under a leafless tree thinking about the fact that Jay never really cared about me, and then I walk some more.
Finally, the crowd begins to slowly file into the theater through the turnstile. I reach for the stub of my ticket, find my seat on the far left, halfway between the lobby doors and the stage, and wait a little longer.
As the lights begin to dim, I listen to the constant buzz of people talking while I watch the shadows made by the members of his band, and when the final curtain starts to rise, I’m on the edge of my seat grinning just like all the other girls around me.
And when he comes on stage I look at him; I look at his angel face and wish with all my heart that I had just one more chance to say hello instead of looking at the ground.