ecstasy

Swarm

The sun was setting overhead, and I could feel it, the vibrations. The trickle of momentum started at my feet, rupturing my locked knees, I swayed from side to side smashed between the bodies of my two best friends. The background bass overpowered our voices, and all I could hear was my own heart enthusiastically pounding against my eardrums. Each pulsation reverberated throughout my body, growing energetically with enthusiasm… and also impatience.

We were having fun, no doubt. But we wanted to get inside the festival grounds. We had been standing in line for over an hour and a half already, and the high from anticipation was slowly transforming into annoyance. The security was obviously overwhelmed with the exuberant crowd lined up in zigzags outside the gates. Angelica suddenly grabbed my hand, and in response I took hold of Ramon’s. She forced her way to the front, dragging us along with her. A twinge of guilt abruptly struck my conscience when I looked back to see all the people we had moved in front of… and then I heard Ramon call my name, pulling me out of my own senseless thoughts. Turning my attention back to my two friends, I saw him raise his phone for a selfie, and I genuinely smiled. It surprised even me — how effortless happiness could be.

After being patted down, very intimately I might add, by the entrance guards, we finally got in. Angelica had a few friends from her university meeting us, and she particularly wanted to introduce me to a certain someone. We had talked about it a lot in the weeks leading up to the music festival. I wanted a new experience, and I think Angelica wanted to give me that — as my parting gift, before I moved to Berlin.

Remembering this, I suddenly got nervous. I didn’t know what expectations I was supposed to have — or supposed to fulfill. Thank god, we had all pregamed before coming. The bottles of flavored vodka had been a good call to buy, it reminded me fondly of high school, and drinking with my best friend in our hotel room was something I’ll always hold close to my heart.

Although, it isn’t about the alcohol — it never is. It’s about the memory being made with someone, the time you can’t ever get back, the pure euphoria of new experiences with a soul your soul recognizes; this everlasting infinity we call the present.

I stayed close to Ramon, while Angelica and her friend Andre, led us around the different music stages searching for the meeting spot. Night had settled already, and the only blinding light came from behind DJ sets, and from the small stands selling beer and food. I was lost in my own mental musings when I finally noticed we had come to a halt near one of the water stations. I stood a few feet away from them watching one of the bands play, while they huddled around in a circle.

“Nice, let me record her.” I heard Ramon say.

“Fine, but don’t be obvious, I don’t want her freaking out,” answered Angelica.

Their voices pulled me out of my drunken isolation of thought, and I rolled my eyes impatiently, realizing they were talking about me. I tried moving myself between their shielding bodies to say something cheeky, when Angelica once again, grabbed my wrist and pulled me forward in the middle of the circle they had created — she held my palm upward toward the sky, and then her hand dropped from mine at the same time as someone else’s hand took hold.

I looked from Angelica to this new person that had gone unnoticed until now. She had this look in her eyes, like when someone knows something more than you do. It made me uncomfortable, so I withdrew my hand from hers. It was a peculiar way to meet a stranger for the first time.

“Trinh, this is my friend, Grace,” Angelica said coolly, a twinge of excitement hidden behind her voice.

I mustered up a nervous smile in response and held out my hand again towards the girl in front of me. I was trying to be relaxed, and not let my anxiousness override my laidback drunkenness. Instead she gave me a hug for a greeting, and this I appreciated. I hate shaking hands; it’s too formal for me.

My enthusiasm for the sudden friendliness erased my initial anxiety, and I embraced her back. I heard Angelica laugh sardonically, and suddenly there was a spotlight in my face. Ramon was shining his iPhone directly against my dilated pupils, and also pointing his gopro in my direction, “Okay go!”

And then I felt it, the irreparable impact of her lips against mine — the collision of chemistry commencing.

At first, came the endorphins. Alleviating my uneasiness, setting each follicle hair on my arms ablaze — unleashing a hungry desire for the person pressing her tongue against mine.

Soon followed by oxytocin. It had to be. How else could I be physically intimate with someone so suddenly? My hands gripped her waist, and she pressed her body into mine, like old lovers do, with no time to waste.

And finally — the injection of dopamine. My neuron synapses were forging and firing off new paths to my remapped brain. Or perhaps, it was serotonin. I mix up my neurotransmitting chemicals. But what I felt was elated joy, my heart pounding sporadically against my rib cage, causing a warm and calm feeling between my ears. My body was comfortably on fire.

The quartet of happiness — the chemistry of ecstasy. 

I thought to myself, as I stepped back and pulled away from the touch of Grace.

It was unlike any kiss I’ve ever experienced before. Powerful, and intoxicating, and unexpected… I found myself simultaneously craving more, but being extremely overwhelmed by euphoria. 

My mental capacity for logic fled my body, and my vision increased in magnitude.

Time no longer felt like a restraint on my dimensional body — its influence disappeared. The speed of light changed for me… perhaps bent is a better word. Light fragments reflected deeper and faster colors. In any direction I looked, everything seemed to be magnified. I felt the world spin beneath me, one axis degree at a time.

I put my hand in front of Ramon’s camera, and gulped a large amount of fresh air to catch my breath. He patted me on my back, congratulatory. Before I could turn back to Grace and ask what the hell just happened, I felt Angelica’s hand slip into mine again, pulling me forward through the swarm of bodies towards the main stage, the others following behind.

The Chainsmokers were set to play in an hour, and people were already gathering in mass around the area. Honestly, I don’t really much care for them. It’s Halsey I was there for, if even just for her voice. Her music had saved me once upon a time, when I promised myself I wouldn’t let anyone complete me.

Yet here I found myself unguarded with every sense of feeling heightened, my Walls of Jericho surrounded by souldiers of light. I realized in this moment I had been wrong, to not want to let people complete my heart — to complete my human experience, and like I’ve said, I’m addicted to experience.

Grace’s kiss had given me clarity I didn’t know I needed — for the tantalizing significance of being alive, in basking in the infinite, of the sacredness of friendship.

The Universe’s little reminder, “You can’t keep Love out of your house, even if you tried.”

Cheers to friendship, I really am surrounded by the most beautiful souls. 

Sun City Music Festival — El Paso, TX 

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