So, this is a little bit of a different take on my usual travel article. I am a writer, who derives much inspiration from my travels and adventures. Half of my stories are true events, and this one is no exception. This is an excerpt from some writing of mine. It was written as fiction, and the band and characters’ names have been changed, but this story is entirely based off of real events that happened after I got to randomly meet my all-time favorite musician when I saw the band play live.
It takes place in Las Vegas, during a road trip with friends. This pic was the actual pic taken at the scene of this story. Some of you may know this artist.
Please enjoy 🙂
The air was cool and crisp as we left the Mandalay Bay and meandered back around to where we could cross over to New York, New York. DeeDee and Heather chatted happily about the show, but the sharp pains shooting through my foot were distracting me from joining the conversation. I knew it wasn’t broken, but I sure must have sprained it something fierce.
I glanced up as we walked past the back door of the House of Blues. I caught sight of Escape’s tour bus sitting placidly by the entrance, and a handful of diehard fans were waiting around, but it didn’t seem all that interesting to me. I really just wanted to sit down. Spotting the nearby curb, I did exactly that. “Hey, guys, let me rest a second,” I called, halting my friends in their progress to the after party. “My foot freaking hurts. I need to sit down for a little bit or I’m gonna be worthless.”
“I told you,” DeeDee said, coming over to stand next to me. “You should have started drinking.”
I gave a weak laugh and stretched my leg out, watching as a security guard made a beeline for the small crowd of people who stood around us. He started to roll out a barrier that kept us from seeing the tour bus. One girl cried out in protest, but the guard only chuckled and shook his head.
“I have to do this,” he said in a joking tone. “Otherwise you guys will all rush the bus. You know how it is.”
I smirked and tried to flex and bend my toe, which objected to the movement. I noticed the same girl try to squeeze her face in between the barrier and the shrub it was next to so she could get a better look. I sighed, and turned my attention back to my jacked up foot. Probably shouldn’t have walked on it so much after hurting it….and I’m sure standing for a three-hour show hadn’t helped. Oh well. My pain was worth it.
I jerked my head up as I heard that same girl murmur his name. It wasn’t loud, but it carried. DeeDee and Heather didn’t hear her, but the way she was practically dancing in place and staring through her peep hole in the barrier made me stand up abruptly. The bottom dropped out of my stomach. I shuffled over to the side of the barrier opposite to where that girl was. The gap on my end was wider. A man and his young daughter were monopolizing it at the moment, letting me know that something definitely had to be happening on the other side.
I turned and glanced over my shoulder at where DeeDee and Heather were still talking, oblivious. “You guys—” I tried to call to them, but the words died in my mouth as the artist I admired above all others, the man whose creation inspired my own, slipped out of the narrow space between the barrier and the casino landscaping. I stared. It was all I could bring myself to do, stare in abject wonderment. A thousand thoughts rushed through my mind at once and canceled one another out until I had nothing in my brain at all aside from one echoing statement: He is so beautiful.
And he was. Much more so than from the stage, which until that point, I hadn’t thought was possible. My heartbeat thundered an obnoxious cacophony of sound in my ears and threatened to pound itself straight out of my chest. I shot an awestruck glance back at Heather, who meanwhile, had realized just exactly what was going on.
To my utmost relief, the man and his daughter who had been guarding the barrier opening started to talk to Thomas, giving me the opportunity to remember how to function like a coherent being. Slowly, my shock abated and my heartbeat decelerated, but only slightly.
I let my eyes take in their fill while I waited for…what? I wasn’t sure. I figured I’d know what to do when the time was right. I was firing on pure instinct at that point. The man bogarted Thomas’ attention for a few minutes, and Thomas told him he wasn’t feeling all that great and was heading back to the hotel to get some sleep instead of going out with everyone else. My heart sank in disappointment to know that he wouldn’t be at the after party, but it was a fleeting moment. Getting to see him on stage was amazing. Being able to stand so close to him was a miracle. Beggars couldn’t be choosey, and right then, I was thanking my busted up foot for deciding to throw in the towel when it had.
It was eerily quiet, and all of the people who stood by were very respectful, keeping their distance and admiring from afar. The city lights gave off just enough of an iridescent glow to make everything seem surreal, which was exactly how it felt to be standing there at that moment.
I had spent so much time watching live DVDs and YouTube videos of the musician in front of me. He seemed not of my world, larger than life, a fantasy who lived on a completely different plane of existence. Even on stage, he seemed more of an icon to me than a human. He represented the purest and most intense form of passion to me. He didn’t just create music. He was music, the complete embodiment of it. To see him standing right in front of me, backpack slung haphazardly over one shoulder, conversing politely with his fans, looking as tired and bedraggled as any man finishing up a hard day’s work, was strangely refreshing. I found it odd that I thought that, but it was true. His magic didn’t disappear because his eyeliner was smudged and he looked like all he wanted was to find a soft bed. It just morphed shape, transforming from the glittering dust of untouchable celebrity to the soft, mellow light of an exceptionally talented human being. The rock idol mystique vanished and left a man of flesh and blood in its place. To me, that made him a hundred times more gorgeous than he had ever been.
He finished up his conversation with the man and his daughter, then turned and started to walk past me. I intercepted. I had to. There was absolutely no way I was going to let him wander on by me while I stood there looking like a deer in the headlights. I’d kick myself for the rest of my natural life.
I didn’t even say anything like “excuse me,” or “hello,” which probably would have been the polite thing to do. I just positioned myself right in his path and stuck my hand out. He blinked up at me and seemed slightly bewildered for half a second before he reached over to shake my hand.
A strange calm came over me and everything around me seemed hushed, like I was walking in a dream. His hand was exceptionally warm, warmer than I had expected, and his stunning blue eyes held more depth in them than I had ever seen a person possess in just one simple glance. “I just have to say, it is an absolute honor to meet you,” I said. I surprised myself at how professional I managed to sound. My voice was clear and strong, not wavering like I’d expected it to be.
He gave me a bashful smile and dipped his head in a shy gesture, murmuring a thank you before he released my hand and turned to Heather. She gripped onto his hand immediately and held onto it even when he tried to pull it away. “Thank you so much for your beautiful words,” she said. I frowned as she continued to tug on his fingers. What was she, blind? Did she need to feel every knuckle in the man’s digits? I stifled laughter and let my gaze return to Thomas’ profile. He smiled at Heather with genuine light and warmth in his eyes, thanked her as well, and continued on to the crosswalk.
I stood there for a few moments, shell-shocked. Had that actually happened? My hand still burned from the contact with his. I hadn’t thought that was actually possible. I always wrote about that in my novels, the heroine continuing to burn from the touch of the hero, but I’d always thought it was just a highly romanticized reaction to an attractive person’s unexpected touch. Nope. I mean, it was highly romanticized, but it was real.
I glanced over to where he stood, patiently waiting for the signal to cross the street. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Everything but my mind, which was turning so quickly I could barely process the influx of thought. Holy crap, he’s still standing there. This is real. I really just met my greatest muse. What are the odds of me happening to stop here at this exact moment? That’s insane. Do I have anything to sign? Crap, no. I didn’t bring any kind of bag whatsoever. DeeDee has my ID in her wallet. Not like I can ask him to sign my ID. Why isn’t the cross signal coming on? This is taking forever. Crap! Why didn’t I bring my freaking phone? Then I could have asked him for a picture! No one is going to believe this actually happened if I don’t have some kind of proof. I might not believe it myself once he walks away. Dang it… Wait! DeeDee has her camera phone! Should I ask him? The quality would probably turn out like crap. Better than nothing, though. Should I? The poor man looks exhausted. Last thing he needs is me bothering him again. I should probably leave him alone… What? Screw that! Carpe freaking Diem!
My inner monologue came to a screeching halt and I propelled myself forward out of sheer selfishness. I snapped my fingers at DeeDee in an attempt to convey that I wanted her to pay attention, but she really didn’t catch on. Her eyes still had that half-drunk, glazed look to them. I ignored her for the moment and made my move. I had nothing to lose really. So I’d look like every other fan in the world. Oh well. At least I’d walk away with something memorable. That was worth a moment of idiocy.
“Excuse me?” Least I’d remembered to say that this time. His eyes came up to meet mine and my insides squirmed. Geez, how could one man’s gaze be so unnervingly entrancing? I swallowed hard and put my hands up like I was about to surrender. “I am so sorry,” I groveled. “I don’t mean to bother you.”
He shook his head. “It’s okay.”
I remained in my submissive stance. “Can I get a picture?”
“Sure,” he replied, holding his arm out to me.
Instead of moving forward like I should have, I took a step back. “Really, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to bug you.” What kind of gobbledygook was coming out of my mouth? Shut the hell up! You sound like a moron! I plastered some cheesy kind of grin on my face.
He shook his head again and bestowed me with a small smile. “It’s okay,” he assured me.
I stared at his outstretched arm for a second like it was the gateway to heaven, wondering if it would be appropriate to put my arm around him or if I should just stand there. You think entirely too much. Shut. Up!
I silenced my over stimulated brain and glanced back over at my friends as I slipped my arm around his back and practically snuggled up to him. “Anybody got a camera?” I called, somewhat frantically. What were they doing? Standing there like freaking lawn gnomes or something! “I need a camera!”
“Oh!” DeeDee grabbed her purse and started to fumble through it.
As I stood there, waiting, my author’s mind continued to soak up every single detail of my situation. It was strange, but my nerves dissolved for a second. He was the most comfortable stranger I’d ever stood next to. I was not a fan of strangers. I didn’t like people stepping into my safe bubble. I should have felt awkward and stupid, but I didn’t. He was warm and inviting despite his aloof demeanor, and he didn’t act put out that I was there. Even though he was tired. Even though his day had sucked. He waited patiently—much more patiently than me—for DeeDee to find her phone, keeping his arm wrapped around my shoulders, loose enough to be casual, but tight enough to feel connected.
The tension melted out of me and I could have very easily turned, rested my head on his shoulder, and closed my eyes. It wasn’t weird, wasn’t sexual. He just felt that comfortable to me, like I knew him even though he was the furthest thing from my reality. He smelled like the red wine he’d been drinking on stage. It made me smile, and I found the smell oddly comforting. It was familiar. I loved red wine.
“Look, I found my disposable camera!” DeeDee declared. “I didn’t even know I’d brought it!”
I sighed. Took her long enough. Although, I was grateful that it would end up being a real picture and not a half-cracked, pixilated phone version.
She snapped the picture. I reveled in standing so close to him for one more second of bliss, then retreated—quickly. “Thank you,” I said with a polite smile.
“She writes beautiful words, too!”
I blinked. Heather’s voice sounded like she was talking through a megaphone, probably only to me, though. I felt my face flame as his serene, blue gaze came to rest on me once again.
“Oh really?” he questioned.
The genuine interest reflected in his eyes, as well as his tone, flabbergasted me. I averted my eyes to the ground and managed to nod. “I-I’m an author,” I rasped out.
He smiled softly, and I took one more look at his glorious face before I sought refuge back with my friends. We all stood there in reverent silence before the signal to cross finally blinked on. I realized all of that had taken place in only a few seconds. It had seemed so much longer.
He walked across the street, and we followed at a respectful distance, as we had to cross to the other side to get where we were going. My foot suddenly wasn’t hurting. I was too stoked and awestruck to notice the pain. As we passed by the back of the Luxor, our paths split. He headed up toward the hotel while we continued on to New York, New York. I watched him disappear into the shadows, and my heart twisted in the strangest way.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. This was one thing I did not want to stay in Vegas. Strange words and pictures flooded my mind like a violent rainstorm. Metaphor and images clashed and formed beautiful lines of poetry, all centralized around a man I ached to know personally, but knew I would never be able to. After all, I was just one of the many, one of the masses.
He didn’t even know my name.