My story Heavy Metal Lust was inspired by the many, many times I took my child to concerts and had no idea who I was watching or what I was listening too. What we do for love, eh?
But they are brilliant places to people watch and this story idea has been floating about in my brain for quite a while because of these ear bleeding experiences. To be fair, I’ve actually enjoyed a few of these concerts, Def Leppard was partially my idea and I liked Black Veil Brides and Fall Out Boy for the quotient of ‘oh ee oo’ to lyric in their songs.
So thanks to so many bands, so many late nights, so much ear ache for this story. Fancy a snippet? Here you go then:
The racket vibrates through every fibre of me. The sea of bodies all around rolls with joy in time to the beat. Head thrashing, toe tapping, whole body jumping masses of delight, mostly teenaged, it has to be said.
My ears hurt. I’m too old for this shit.
I wait patiently for the screaming, thumping, reverberating aural assault to stop, tap my daughter’s shoulder and wait for her to make eye contact before leaning in to yell in her ear over the screaming around us.
“I’m nipping out for a bit. Will you be okay?”
“Yeah, sure. You not enjoying Eyebleed?” She grins widely.
“No, no I’m not. I’ll be back when they’ve finished. Message me if you need me.”
“Yes, Mum.” A new song starts and Amy starts screaming and bouncing up and down till the metal on her boots clanks and her long, dyed black fringe covers her face. I scurry between bodies until I reach the edge of the auditorium where I stride confidently and quickly to the foyer within the first few bars of the next song.
I’m outside before the band starts to make noise. There’s no way that sound could ever be described as singing. Really, I’m not that uncool—the main band, Black Tranquillity, are actually quite good. But this screaming stuff does not appeal to my music taste. It’s barely music.
The big doors to the 1930s theatre turned 70s music venue are still open so I can hear more than I really want of the noise. I wander round the side of the hulking grey building hoping to seek silence, well if not silence an organic low hum that, no doubt, will be replicated in my bed tonight after the assault on my ears.
The things we do for the love of a thirteen year old offspring. She doesn’t ask for much–okay, she asks for a lot, but generally accepts a no with good grace—and so I give in and let her go to these concerts once in a while. Even though my ear health plummets with every one.
It’s worth it, though, to see and feel her excitement. As a single mum I’m always worried that she’s not getting all a girl her age should. Not enough of my time because I have to work, not enough treats because the money I work for is peanuts, and not enough opportunity to just be a kid because she has grown up quickly. She’s had to be there for me, too.
There’s not much of a view to admire here, but I’m looking out over the area of scrubland and car park while I walk and so it comes as quite a surprise when the toe of my shoe impacts something very solid and I stumble. It’s even more surprising when hands reach out to steady me.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I stutter, gawping at the guy who is steadying me, “I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
“No, no, my fault entirely. Should keep my big size tens tucked away. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, fine, thank you.” He has stunning eyes. A swirling green patchwork that mesmerizes me. His lips are pretty too, plump and ripe and—snap out of it woman—he’s very young.
“You sure?” He squeezes my shoulder. I nod far too hard and for far too long. His touch is hot and when he removes his hand I can still feel the imprint of his fingers.
Really, I should be moving on, not standing and gawking at him. A black beanie hides the majority of his hair, excerpt for a few dark strands that peek out around his ears. An oversized black hoodie—probably sporting a band logo on the back—masks what might be under there, but the skinny jeans don’t leave a thing to the imagination.
“Would you like a cig?” He pulls a dog eared packet from his back pocket.
“Nah, I’ve not smoked in years.”
“Yeah, I’m trying to give up. Hard work, though. Especially with the guys smoking around me all the time.”
“That’s really difficult. Only time I crave it now is when I’m in a group of smokers. My lungs are happier now, though.”
“So, why you out here then? Not enjoying the band?”
I wonder if he’s deliberately trying to keep me talking or if he’s just a naturally chatty person, so I reply without much thought. “God no, it’s horrific noise. All screamy and bangy and urgh.” I shake my head. “My daughter really loves it all. That’s why I’m here.”
“Ah, not a fan then?” His smile is curiously quizzical.
“Not of Eyebleed, no. Black Tranquillity are pretty good, mind. I can sing along to their stuff and their lead singer is pretty easy on the eye. I’ll head in for that. I’ll embarrass my daughter by old woman bopping along to the tunes, can’t miss out on that.”
“Oh, hush. You’re not old!” He exclaims.
“Why, thanks, but I’m old enough to be your mother.” I chuckle, cheeks warming.
“Pfft.” He shakes his head. “Well, however old you are, you’re gorgeous.”
Now, I’m a wordy person. I work in advertising, I spend most of my working week speaking and hardly ever shut up in my own time either. There isn’t a single thing I can say. Not a thought in my brain to push out onto my lips. I’m completely taken aback.
I look at him, then at the ground, then back at him. His green eyes are rimmed with hazel brown and his pupils are huge. I gulp, giggle, and look again to the floor.
“And wonderfully cute too.”
“Oh!” I finally manage to squeak out a response. “Stop it.”
“What if I don’t want to?”
“Then, well… I guess I’ll have to do something to stop you!”
“Oh, yes?” He grins widely. If this was a cartoon, devil horns would grow out of his forehead. “Well, I have to say I’ve not been able to take my eyes off you because I just can’t believe how beautiful you are. There’s your amazing eyes –deep and dark—and your hair, so sleek and smooth I just want to reach out and run my fingers through it –”
“I can’t see your hair ‘cos of the beanie so I don’t know if I want to touch it.”
I talk shit when I’m panicking.
“Oh, I’ll take it off for you then.” He chuckles, tipping his head forward and pulling the hat off. His hair is soft and dark, long on top and shaved at the side. It’s when he flicks the long strands across his face that I see something that makes my jaw drop.
A lightning bolt.
“Thunder?” I gasp. “You’re Thunder—oh shit.”