The air hung thick upon our perspiring bodies. A long day, to say the least; after hours of frolicking deep within Eleanor Tinsley Park, our feet dragged as we followed the seemingly endless herd towards the exit. I wanted to be transported back to Mary France’s comforting Land Rover, but seconds were stretching into hours. My body lurched and desired water, home, and, possibly, a cigarette or two. Trickery was key when Francie’s phone began to holler; “It’s my mom,” she echoed as she ran towards a non-existent quiet spot. She dipped into the darkness between, two portable bathrooms, and began spewing large coals of deceit.
“Hey Mom,” she cooed as innocently as she could muster. “Yeah, I’m just at Kendra’s house watching a movie.” I imagined what Mrs. Looke had to say back to such a lie; did she not hear the yells of festival attendees as they loudly described the closing band’s set? By the expression on my best friend’s face, it was obvious that Francie had prevailed over trouble again. “Mom, I’ll be home soon. Okay?” Seconds later she blurts out, “Love you, okay? Bye.” Serenity turned to panic immediately after she hung up the phone. “It’s my mom, Kendra! We have to go now!” The dawn of night engulfed her crystalline, aqua irises, another typical day with my black-haired beauty.
I am sure I rolled my eyes at the naivety of such a young soul. “Fran,” I said as I grabbed her feeble, yet muscular, arm, “did you not tell your mom that we were going to Summerfest?” Francie brushed it off as she started pushing through the cattle of people; I followed in awkwardness, apologizing for my selfishly concerned girl. On the inside, my Limbic System arose with laughter, because I was not truly sorry for our outlandish shoving. People are people, and when Francis is determined she does not let anyone get in her path, and when Francis is frantic, I follow closely and smile. Even through her gullible and rich girl invincibility, she oozes with happiness; though she is candy coated in despair, she pushes aside her melancholy thoughts to extract a joyful time for all. I picture her body pumping with energy and specialty to the rhythm of the music we had encountered throughout the day. We became entranced as the blazing sun began to lower into an opaque shade of purple.
The humidity of Houston, Texas grabbed at each of my femurs, pleading for a break from the mindless treading. However, our destination was set. First, find the exit; second, remember the placement of Francie’s car. All the clammy bodies that kept brushing up against my flesh swallowed my focus and added weight to my concrete-filled feet. “That way!” I yelled, guiding my directionally challenged friend to gates clearly labeled ‘exit’. “Hurry, Kendra,” she commanded towards my heavy stomping heels. I sped up my pace, taking one stride at a time. There was dozens of people to push through, and my patient personality lingered, in disgust; I am always one to wait my turn. Francie began to weave her skinny body through the thick fog of people; I would have lost her if she did not force me to grab her hand. It gave me comfort to feel her warm palm, up against mine. “Faster!” she yelled, as if I was not moving rapid enough, “we need to go!” The density of her fingers intertwined with the weight of my soul, bringing me calmness in a moment of intensity.
Once again, I sensed my eyes roll back and forth within my head, feeling no compassion for her poorly planned schedule. We both wanted to see the encore, and we both needed to dance out our suppressed emotions. Earlier in the day, we felt the tempo, as she yelled, “We have to stay, my curfew can wait!” Worth weighed out potential consequences. We jumped to the beat of the bass; the drum caught my spirit. It commanded me to groove as the core of my depression fluttered to the notes of the musicians alike. We skated between nuisance and morality; we desired excitement, no matter the depth or cost.
As the duo, we sauntered upon the line of regulations and punishment. A balancing act that we performed each day, we were experts at our job. Stay out of danger, yet relish in the possibilities that our brains could summon. Hasty walking turned to jogging as the exit sign peeked its head above the thousands of unknowns in front of us. She squeezed underneath the hands of couples joined together, breaking them apart; I paced right behind her, absorbing each menacing stare. A sign labeled “Corn dogs, eight dollars,” obstructed our route, but it was no blockade to us dynamic fellows. Leap, her legs went over the sign; reminding me of her equestrian skills, I tried to gallop and gather the strength of her robust, pristine horse, Contendra.
Instead, I resembled a donkey, knocking over the enticing sign; my stomach grumbled. I turned around in thoughts of picking up my mess and a foot long corn dog with mustard, but the tug of her phalanges gripped my left forearm. “Did you see that?” I bellowed as Mary Frances dragged my body faster. She burst into giggles; we both knew me to be a clumsy individual. Anticipation pounded inside my veins, “The exits are coming! The exits are coming!” I quoted, as if my historical remarks were even moderately humorous. A ‘C student’, at best, she did not recognize the revolutionary reference; all she cared for was conquering the first phase of our mission.
My toes began to grieve as we finally reached the gate; I was relieved, yet distraught, not looking forward to the hike towards our parking spot. It had been hours since we arrived at the festival grounds that morning. “Did we park in that lot?” I pointed, “the one on Taft Street, right?” I scrambled to evoke images that surrounded us earlier when we excitedly hopped out of her car. Francie thought differently, “No, Allen Parkway, Kendra. Don’t you remember?” I searched through my memory files that lie within my head. Was it past the blue building that weirdly resembled an aquarium, or was that yesterday that we placed the car there? The tension grew as the tiny assistant in my mind ruffled through recollections from the past few days. With pride, I untangled our current dilemma, “Oh! Fran! We parked in that lot, you know the one that cost twenty dollars.” She hugged me and shared with me her uplifting, yet mischievous grin; “Yeah, of course. God, it was such a rip off.”
The intimidating trek floated away, along with the previous burdens that pulsed inside my shoulder blades. With the end in sight, our interlocked fingers broke apart and transformed into the grace of a high-five. I lifted her petite body in rejoice, discussing which song we should listen to upon our long, awaited return. “Black Keys,” we agreed as we began singing the chorus, “Just a psychotic girl, and I won’t get lost in your world.” Marching towards the dark tinted windows of the Land Rover, I ached with loss of stamina and felt as if delusions were taking place. A large, reflective black square caught my vision, placed so neatly on the ground next to her back passenger door. In seconds, my finding escaped my mind, yet the strangeness of such a sight still remained.
Slamming our doors, Francie reached aimlessly through the mess of her backseat; “Kendra, where’s my ipod?” “Francis, I’m tired. Just play the song off your CD; I’ll look in a second,” I replied, breathless. I proceeded to place two delicious Camel Turkish Golds into my mouth, lighting one for each of us, as best friends do. I handed her one as she rolled down all the windows. The aroma of such an unhealthy pleasure caused me to close my eyes for a second, just to relax behind the shade of my lids.
On cue, we both threw out the butts of our sinful snack. The song calmed our muscles, and I finally felt content. “I love you,” I said, “I love you more,” she replied, pushing the buttons to close each window. I noticed the sound of the outdoors flushing throughout; “Wait, I think my door is open, stop.” Opening and closing the heavy door of her black, boxy car, she sped toward Highway Fifty-nine. The ambience of passing cars still lulled in my eardrums. She pulled on each tab of the window control, yet there was no change in sound, just noise of wind and thoughts of exhaustion. “My back window won’t close,” Francie whined, urging me to solve the equation set forth.
Eventually I built up enough strength to turn my throbbing head around. Astonished at our stupidity, my eyes grazed over the shattered remnants of shady glass that clung to her belongings that had been tossed around. “I think your car got broken into.” Suddenly, the previous vision I had innocently seen in the parking lot entered my brain; someone had broken into Mary Frances’ car. Full of crime with no punishment, I realized what I had seen. I wondered if I had simply envisioned a black square instead of broken glass, or if I knew the truth all along. My throat bellowed sunken words, “Your window is gone; I saw it. It looked like it was nothing but a black square.” I felt like Virginia Woolf, staring at a wall.