Or what if life knew I wanted to have the best seats in the room and life just gave me that?
Or the day that the Universe winks at you. Or a night that you wink at the Universe. Wink, wink. And you remember it forever.
The days that are so full of electricity, you can’t even tell anyone about until the following days, are the days that stick with us forever. Not even your parents who you’re with, on holiday, at your brother’s. Cristina, you haven’t even told me how was it last night, at the U2 concert!, mom. Wait, wait, it’s too soon to get into it, eyes wide open, I raise my hands, look up, put my hands on the cheekbones, then through my hair, I pull out an Whooh! and get out of my brother’s kitchen that features big windows and an island.
His name is Radu and the way we call each other… I don’t even remember where we call each other like that from. It’s not about some sort of caressing, it has never been, but it is about loads of kissing and hugging. Coming from me, at first, and only after from him, apparently a bit forced, but, always, with a fun smile that feels like only I know about.
It is with my brother that I live some of the most intense moments ever since I can remember myself. The way the kids do, naturally, without ever actually thinking about it. Only the place changes. It’s no longer the room we used to fall asleep in together, at home, with our parents; it’s on the shore of England, it’s by the fireplace at his house, it’s in his sports car, always clean and with music that makes entering his car feel like entering our home, over a glass of wine I find out it’s his favourite and start to tell him what I feel and see about it. Because with us, everything is, also, about what we feel and see about something. Genuinely. Spoken, but also unspoken. Our mom does these pies not many people get; they come with loads of musical notes, images, scents and an after-taste that goes straight to that place in the brain and this is how we get to that place. Ours.
Sometimes, he laughs just from getting my reaction. Few people can, actually, do that to the core. Laugh and get it. It’s where the music is, the world is, the tastes, the holidays, but also the clothes. It is the place only we know about. I write about it here, but it’s, still, only us that know about it.
When the cable guys installed the Internet, at our parents’, and I had to tell them, fast, a network name and a password, I immediately said evenbetterthantherealthing and iwanttogotoau2concert. I hadn’t used nor thought about this user name or password before. It was more than twenty years ago, years, during which, each time anyone comes to our parents’, parents call and ask me what is the password (again and again, yes), because the guests somehow guess that evenbetterthantherealthing must be our network. I have just changed it. I went to the U2 concert with my brother on the 20th of October 2018.
I bought the tickets on the 8th of August 2018. One of Radu’s best friends told him he was going to come visit him and that it would be great for them to go to the U2 concert, in Manchester. My brother tells me about this. I say What? I want to go, too! Radu: This used to be our Internet password at home, right?. A couple of days go by and I tell him that it would be cool for us all to go, with the parents, also, so I look for tickets, find them on viagogo. He looks, too, finds some at the Manchester Arena, but we don’t buy them. Another week goes by, I find the two last tickets, in an area that was still OK, I call Radu, he doesn’t answer, I buy them and think There’s so much time until then…
But the 19th of October comes in an instant, it seems, and we land at my brother’s, the place where I forget about the Internet. We all spend a Friday evening that’s so nice, it looks and feels like a flute of champagne that gets us to a Saturday like no other. The whole week has been pretty unforgettable so far, yet little did we know just how unforgettable it was about to become. I went above and beyond for what I wished for. The tickets I bought for the concert we came for, still, hadn’t been delivered, so I talked on the phone with various guys from the UK and Switzerland (?!), gathered about fifty emails from the same various guys that were, constantly, reassuring me of a super professionalism. I believed them.
Saturday, on the 20th, post the breakfast in the yard, I leave with Radu and his girls to a friend’s of his girls’ birthday party. They party at their party, we party at ours, getting to spend our time together. I wouldn’t have, necessarily, mentioned about this, should I have not spent, a great amount of time, talking on the phone with the aforementioned guys. Radu was, questionably, looking at me. It’s too much to explain, don’t worry about it, I am mimicking. It’s going to be 200%. I’ve just quoted a Thierry.
We get back home in time for us all to eat and we leave, Radu and me, drum roll. We embark on an hour and something drive to Manchester, stop at the gas station, it is the gas station we, usually, stop at to get some salted honey almonds Ritter Sports and some coconut filled ones, another two types and a Coca-Cola. No water or cherries something whatsoever. I was a bit high on the enthusiasm. He takes me up on a road above the highways where we get to see the intense traffic from, the sun about to go down. The sun is with us the whole time, on our way, it feels like it’s playing hide and seek with us, just as a cartoon character would. The highways intertwine, beautifully, between them and the vegetation around. We have the sun in front of us, then it’s shinning from the back, then here it is on the left, then right; it feels like a sweet game.
With music in it, oh!
Thierry from Switzerland calls me again, our conversation lasts for a half an hour (!!) and I find it so difficult to focus! He seems to struggle at getting me as confused as possible, or this is how I feel, at least, trying to seem like he is trying to, actually, clarify me and my mind is trying to make some room for the sun coming in to our car. This phrase feels long because it is. I’m struggling now, but the discussion with Radu, on my right, about the Universe, all of a sudden, makes me feel crisp back. I look at him and it’s now, for the first time, that we ask the question, almost simultaneously: Is it possible that there’s a lie somewhere here?. But also: Is it possible for something to go so wrong on a big level like this one?. I, only, saw the second question this whole week.
Oh, and after my discussion with Thierry on the phone, I tell Radu: If we get to this concert, anything is possible!. The level of psychological ambiguity is somewhere so high right now that my brain already hurts. You know how you feel it stretching totally unnecessarily, at times? It is my soul, though, that, still, believes.
We’ll go and see, Radu. The sun was going down on the highways and we have just arrived in Manchester. Lead by the organisers, we park the car somewhere we still have twenty minutes to walk from to the Arena. We kept on guessing the way to the Arena, it felt like a game again. A game where the car was far behind now, the streets intertwining and us walking to the concert without any form of the tickets whatsoever. Is this for real? Is the concert even happening?, I wonder while holding my head in my hands. My brother laughs, come on!. Thierry told me that we’re supposed to pick up the tickets from the ticket office, all we have to do is show the email from him. We, finally, get to the ticket office and see a huge cue. I’m thinking Oh, they all should be in the same situation. On the other hand, though, I’m thinking How can it be so hard to get these tickets to a big concert as this?. Anyway, while standing in the cue, the talks we have make us forget about the vast puzzle we’ve just been through to get to U2.
Radu is a surgeon, just like dad is. When he comes home (dad is the same and maybe this is why the pressure of But what is my mission in life?), it’s like he comes from the beach, he has this calm air and peace about him that always makes one wonder What kind of work, from everything I do, makes me feel this way?. It’s like he flies and, on his flight, he takes his two girls on and not only shows them that je ne sais quoi, but has fun and dances with them, no matter the circumstances.
My brother had the kind of teens one can only see in movies. As soon as the parents left the house over night, the house was full and the party started. It is very vivid, still, the memory I have with our house, in the morning, full of friends sleeping all over it, all over the always very tidy and neat house (prior to the party house), a party where delicious food was always provided by our mom (who had no idea who was about to eat it, but there we go), sweets and drinks by our dad (who had no idea who was about to eat it, but there we go).
But it isn’t about this that we’re talking while waiting in the cue.
We get to the ticket office, I explain the situation. A nice gentleman checks all the possibilities while my head is, almost entirely, glued to his counter. Something wasn’t glueing together, however. Another gentleman comes and tells me it’s all a lie, that the website I won’t even say the name of again is a fraud and this is how they cheat people. I feel like a hammer touches my head in slow motion.
I look at my brother with eyes that were, still, receiving numerous questions from the brain. Radu smiles, takes my hand and asks another employee if there are any tickets left for the concert that was about to begin in less than an hour. He takes us to another ticket office. Radu talks to the lady at the office, she is very nice, too. He asks about the area where I first bought the tickets from. There were two left somewhere. Without waiting for any reaction from me, he asks the lady what are the best tickets available at the moment. She shows them on the map; Radu’s eyes are asking me; my mind is looking into the map I’d memorised, apparently, from the week full of emails between myself and Francesca or Jack. The cool lady looks at me in the coolest way, I get they’re the best and we high-five in our imagination. Wow, I say to myself. We have the tickets. For the first time this week, I know for sure we have the tickets to the concert. I am relaxed now. We get in. We get ourselves some ice-cream. These tickets, at the venue, cost much less than what I’d pay for. We find the seats.
The best in the entire Arena where U2 are about to perform. The tour is called eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour. Interesting, right?
Life has its ways of showing us things. The journey I, blindly, went through, with no doubt that we’re getting to the concert and unaware of the fact that not everybody on this planet is that well intentioned all the time, to get to the concert sounds like a metaphor for life. No doubt that we’re getting to the concert, definitely, helped and I’m sure that all people are kind, but they just forgot. Which is lame, what else is there in life?
I got there, but without my brother, at that moment, I wouldn’t have entered the concert. I left without a bag, without anything. I left just as when we were kids.
Not a care in the world!
It’s, also, true that he wouldn’t have got to the concert if it weren’t for me to insist. We wouldn’t have gone there if we’d thought we didn’t have the tickets and so on.
The metaphor? Just go along with your clean soul towards what you believe in, what you feel and wish for, regardless of how redundant everything seems to be, sometimes. And, also, learn to be saved, from time to time, because you might, one day, see Bono right in front of you, singing just for you. For you two, ideally.
U2 is singing right in front of us and us, seated, with our hands holding our heads just like we used to when we were kids, at home, when I used to wake up at night to watch the European or Video Music Awards on MTV. Now, we are just 20m away from them, on the best seats in the Arena.
Magic or what?
To save you, go together with anywhere you want to, have fun with are rare and the taste of McDonald’s (sandwiches and desserts well chosen, high-five, Radu!) shared at 2 in the morning, on the highway back home, with the greatest music, talks and a world that seems only ours, in this moment, make into a beautiful moment that becomes a celebration with fireworks at the end. The moon is all around now. Almost full. We still have about 15 minutes until we get home.
I’m taking you somewhere! We exit the highway and drive on some very narrow, but dreamy road in England. My heart skips beat after beat from so many rollercoasters and fireworks.
We get to a place in nature, at night, I literally can’t describe with words. Or maybe it’s just too soon yet! I can only say that I felt the magic wand, this time, touching my head and I saw it touching my brother’s head, too. We get home late at night, drink some water. We bump into dad, in the hallway.
Did you enjoy it?
I wore an electric blue, white dots shirt made of fine cotton that entered straight on a particular kind of shelf in my soul, a sweater that has a small firework attached to it, I got one time while kinda shopping with my brother, the corduroy trousers that have been a surprise from the moment I’d found them, the Nikes that are dear to me by default and the vintage Lee denim jacket I found in a hipster shop so hip that you wouldn’t expect to find a classic Lee in. Is this my jacket?, Radu asks. Nope, I replied. But it could have, definitely.
I am home now. I can have many homes, it seems. I wide open my eyes, raise my hands, look up, put my hands on my cheekbones, pull up my hair, Whooh!.
You, for all of the above, thank you and love you!
Oh f*ck off, I can hear him saying with a specific kind of smile that feels like only I know about.