Mary really wants to go. The tickets are already bought. The phone rings. It is her. “Are you up for tonight?”. I pause, consider “Do you want the supportive girlfriend answer or my honest answer?” I do not know why I ask. Perhaps I just need reassurance in this moment. “The honest answer”. I say “No. I am not up for it. I still have a pounding headache from overdoing it yesterday”. Silence. “Should I find someone else to go with me?” “Maybe.” More silence. I think about where I am at and say “I am tired, and you know nothing seems possible when I am exhausted. How about I take a nap and you call me back in a few hour”. “Okay.” Click.
I snuggle into the couch, purring kitties around and on top of me. Close my eyes, relax. I startle awake as the phone rings. I swim out of the covers and cats, pick up the phone. It is Mary again. “How are you feeling?” I am rather duh at the moment “I just woke up, give me a second.” “You have been asleep since we last talked?” “Yup.” I look at the clock on the phone – two and a half hours have passed… and I probably could sleep even longer. I take a moment to personally assess. My headache is still here. Fucker. I am fuzzy, but that could just be from waking up.
We discuss. The tickets are bought, and neither of us want to kiss $70 goodbye. Mary is not coming home beforehand. To save myself for the actual event, we decide that we will not meet for dinner out. Mary will fend for herself and meet me a few minutes early at the venue.
Well, it is decided. I will go out and have fun, even if I am not up for it. My aces are waiting for me in the bathroom – Excedrin, Ibuprophen. To manage long-term healing, and for day to day stuff, I rely on herbs and natural remedies. I live with an herbalist after all. But in these situations, I have to say thank goodness for the pharmaceutical industry. I mean, the magic of taking a few pills and being able to do what you want when you want cannot be overstated. Knowing caffeine effects me for about 5 hours, I time my ingestion accordingly.
By the time I arrive at the venue, I am smiling. My headache is not totally gone, but I find I just care a lot less under the influence of caffeine. Tickets – check. Cash – check. ID – check. Earplugs – check. I am ready to go. I find my lovely lady inside the venue, check our coats, have our tickets scanned. We enter the larger of the two rooms at Higher Ground.
A decent number of people are already inside, background music is playing. As we approach the center of the room I feel the noise as a wave, the loud-to-me music causing me to sway and lose my balance. Shit! I hastily fumble the ear plugs out of my pocket and put them in. That brings the sound to a tolerable level for me. The feeling of a buffeting soundwave does not dissipate, though, and I sling my arm around Mary’s shoulders to keep myself upright. My eyes roll around in my head, a little wild. I feel a grin on my face reserved for when I am really not okay but damned if I am going to admit it to anyone. I am here and I am staying. Mary and I are going to enjoy the fucking show.
The first performer begins. Mary knows her and likes her music. I am relatively unmoved. About halfway through her set, I feel more steady on my feet. I do not know if that is because I have adjusted, or if the bodies surrounding us block some of the soundwaves that make me unsteady. I keep a hand on Mary at all times, just in case.
Between the opener and Ani, Mary and I pretend we are the only ones in the room. As 5′ and 5′ 3″ tall people, it is easy to feel crushed in a audience of taller people. Better to ignore the fact that hundreds surround us. The only people in the world are Mary and I. We sway to the recorded music, laugh, smile, play. I kiss her ear, her shoulder, her hair. I only see her, and I think she only sees me.
Ani shows up on stage and plays for an hour and a half. After about 30 minutes, I am tired and ready to go. I shift from foot to foot, wiggling my toes to ease my numbing feet. Nausea is like an irritating little brother in the background, undeniable but ignorable. It is a fun show. Next time I am going to bring in a box for Mary to stand on. All she catches are passing glimpses of Ani as other crowdmembers shift back and forth. At three inches taller, I can at least usually see Ani’s face during her songs.
After an encore, it is finally done. We can go home. I grab Mary’s hand and pull her through the crowd. I do not hit anyone out of the way, per se, but I do keep up a string of “excuse me”s as I get us through the crowd. In 20 seconds we are at the coat check, in another three minutes out the door. We drove separately, so we drive home separately. The caffeine is still coursing through me, so I am able to get home without a problem.
We get home to a cold house (yes, I turned it down to 55 because we were not home). Mary dives under blankets. We grab books to transition a bit before bed. I still feel rather distant from the aches and complaints of my body, but I am starting to come down from the drug high. To bed.
I wake before Mary’s alarm, as light just begins to filter through the bedroom. She hops out of bed to get to work, and I roll over to her pillow and fall back to sleep. To make our night out possible, I did not schedule anything until the afternoon today. I wake surrounded by cats, one on either side. I wonder how I feel, what the cost of all that drug use and rocking music is going to be. Mild headache. Maybe a little fuzzy-headed. I give myself Reiki for 30 minutes, hoping to prime the pump for a good day.
As soon as I stand up, my head starts pounding. Damn. Well, it probably is no worse than it was before going out. My mind stays relatively clear. I lumber down to breakfast. Read a bit while I eat. I keep expecting monsters of pain or stupidity to grab me, but none do. I will be able to drive Otis to his vet appointment at 1 pm safely. Great.
I did not have the energy to do everything I wanted last night – like go out to dinner with Mary – but I was able to make it to a concert with her. That is tenable. The cost? A mild headache. Maybe I will be tired a while. I need half a day set aside afterwards. I can live with that for now. And, truly, I expect I can live with that if it never improves. Ahhh, how I would love it if it changed, though. How I would love it.