The heat steamed off my freshly misted back. Perhaps it had been a mistake to wear my black Star Trek: The Tour shirt to a music festival, even in October. Thankfully, the mist tent was just a few yards from the 2nd stage. Danzig was chubby and clad in leather and black linen. But the angry balm of chaotic energy held me captivated.
My heart beat faster than I thought it could, and I looked bleary-eyed at the concrete-walled restrooms, a cool spot maybe, just walk a few feet and maybe it will be cool. Like a cave. Someone happily yipped and darted past me, causing goosebumps to scattershot up my arms. Just walk, start walking, be there in no time. And one foot pulled from the Earth, weighing tons, each toe gripping independently like a sloth releasing a branch to make its way down for its monthly shit.
Inside it was cooler. The water vaopr from flushing toilets and washing hands mixing with the hotter, wetter air. Waiting for the next available sink was torturous. I knew if I could only splash enough water on myself, I could cool down. I should sit down, but I wouldn't want to get up, and I might lose my place in line. The crowded room was thick with body smells, perfume, cigarettes, and pot. The soap from the dispensers had long been depleted. More experienced women had brought travel-size pouches of baby wipes.
I just had to make it to sundown. My boyfriend had left me at the 2nd stage to see Sepultura. It was the only time they would be in North America, so I didn't fault him. But, I wondered if he was worried about me at all, beer in hand and gleaming with that boyish energy that made everyone adore him. It was no use; the thought of just taking my shirt off fought against my need to cover, to never show any more flesh than absolutely necessary.
The chatting and laughing only made me feel more in danger. As if I would perish in this crappy restroom in the asscrack of America, people stepping over me and laughing. But, this was a heavy metal festival. It was Ozzfest. Women offered me baby wipes and fanned me with t-shirts. It hadn't really been that hot. It was a panic attack, a feeling of being crushed by the sheer weight of humanity in such numbers. I was able to push myself to hear the last few numbers by Sepultura. "Roots" is so much more heart-wrenching live.
By the time Ozzy took the stage, I was already scoping an exit. Half a set, that was all I could handle. My boyfriend didn't understand and was pissed that he was going to miss the finale. As we walked to the parking lot, the sun had finally set, and the pressure evaporated like spilled vodka on a desert road.