Saturday, June 22
My mother called to tell me Aunt Edie died. My mom had visited Aunt Edie in Tennessee a few days ago. She’d driven Aunt Lori and Aunt Tess to Aunt Edie’s retirement home and they'd spent a day visiting her. Aunt Edie had begged them to stay longer.
“We said everything there was to say,” my mother said. “Edie kept saying, ‘Don’t go. You can sleep on the floor of my apartment.’ Can you imagine us sleeping on her floor? Like we would do that? We said everything there was to say. You know how she was. She didn’t say much. It was time to go and we left.”
I hung up and cried.
A couple hours later, I pulled myself together and took Tom to a free Weezer concert celebrating the opening of a Microsoft store at an enormous suburban shopping mall. Concert goers had been lining up since last night to get wristbands for early entry to the parking lot stage. The earliest birds got special wristbands for a meet-and-greet with the band. Tom and I parked, walked over to the stage, and stopped outside the guardrails. A guy wearing a Microsoft shirt walked over.
“You want a couple of wristbands?” he asked.
“That would be great,” I said.
He handed me two. One was a metallic copper-colored one. “That one will get you in to see the band,” he said. “Put them on and go in. Don’t tell anyone I gave them to you.”
“Thanks!” I said.
Tom was grinning the biggest smile I’d ever seen on his face. I put the regular wristband on Tom and the metallic one on me. We entered the enclosure and were handed Microsoft beach towels and had our pictures taken. We walked to the front of the stage where a small crowed had gathered. People began streaming in, packing in tighter and tighter. Wheezer hit the stage and the crowd started moshing. I hadn’t figured Wheezer for a mosh band. Arms were flailing, people were jumping, bodies were slamming. I looked at Tom. He was petrified.
“Jump!” I shouted to Tom. I was jumping in my flip-flops and moving with the crowd.
Tom shook his head.
“Jump, otherwise you’ll get run over! Bend your arms. Put your elbows out like this.”
Tom started jumping. I got behind him. I steered him toward a less wild spot. We continued maneuvering like that the rest of the show.
“That was awesome!” Tom shouted.
“Well, you can mosh now. Wasn’t counting on that.”
Tom and I laughed and began walking toward the mall for the meet and greet.
“Are you watching Blackhawks (sic) game?” Golf Guy texted.
I texted Golf Guy a crowd-surfing picture. “At the risk of you thinking I'm a psycho, I took Tom to a Weezer concert. We’re going to meet the band now!”
Tom and I walked to the line in front of the Microsoft store and a mall cop stopped us by the ropes. “He can’t get in,” he said pointing at Tom.
“He’s with me,” I said.
“Every person who gets in line has to have a wristband. No exceptions.”
I tore my wristband off and gave it to Tom.
“Get in line,” I told Tom.
“No,” Tom said. “You go in. I don’t want to take your wristband.”
“I put that wristband on thinking we’d both get in. Go on.”
Tom got in line. His shoulders slumped. His eyes darted uncomfortably. I gave him the thumbs up sign and did a little happy dance.
“Are u there now?” Golf Guy texted.
“Here,” I heard Tom say. I looked up from my phone and Tom was standing in front of me holding out the metallic wristband. “I feel bad taking it. You should go.”
“Why did you get out of line? Look how long it is now. Go meet the band. I’ll be standing right here. I’m not going anywhere. Go meet the band and tell me how great it was.”
I scanned the line looking for a parent with a child. I spotted an Asian man and his son. “Can my son stand in line with you?” I asked. “He’s uncomfortable doing this by himself. He was in line and got out.”
The Asian guy gave me a nasty look. “We all had to wait our turn to get in here,” he said.
A group of teenagers standing behind the mean man lifted the rope. “He can come stand with us,” a boy said.
“Thank you!” I said. Tom got in under the rope. “I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. This is Tom.”
“No problem,” the young man said.
I shot the mean man a dirty look and watched him squirm.
“Tom’s in line to get an autograph now,” I texted Golf Guy. I sent a picture of Tom in line proudly holding his copper wristband.
“Going to a restaurant to watch the 3rd period,” I texted.
“We are winning 2-0.”
“Are you a Hawks fan now? Cup is coming to the house.”