It’s the morning after and I’m quietly sobbing while Isaac lies there, legs outstretched, hat on face, saying nothing. Rain is pittering on the tent and I’m listening to Adrian telling me that Freya will be fine as she’s very forgiving. That the drugs were strong and if anyone understands that, Freya should. That I really shouldn’t worry as it was Just One Of Those Things that happens at festivals.
But in my head I’m back there, putting up the tent in a field glistening with raindrops, sipping straight vodka from a bottle and buzzing. Bumping into friends of theirs and drinking more. Doing more. And listening. To bands and DJs with crazy, kaleidoscopic visuals of mashed up sunflowers, purring kittens and babies chuckling over and over. Over and over. Till the others have drifted away and it’s just me and Isaac, who’s right next to me moving, dancing, smiling. His smell mingling with mine, hips touching mine. Till the sun casts a long, slow languorous beam across the crowd in front, and Isaac’s hands are deep inside my pockets, his mouth on mine, the taste of peppermint gum sharp against my tongue.
So I had a ticket for the Big Chill as Freya couldn’t make it. Too much work she said, plus it could be awkward with Isaac. I’d never met him but they were together for years, him and Freya. Then on and off like a malfunctioning light till the bulb blew for good. Or so she said. So Isaac was going, plus Adrian who I knew a bit but not well so I had a fluttery feeling in my stomach as I wasn’t good with people I didn’t know, especially at a festival where it’s all so mad, where you can’t even have a shower or cocoon yourself away if you don’t feel like speaking, which I wouldn’t. They picked me up at 3 and Isaac was driving, his eyes hidden behind shades and messy hair. My heart flipped when I saw him. He glanced back at Adrian. ‘You didn’t tell me she was fit. Hop in.’ The whole way there it rained. Nasty, squally rain that ran down the windows like tears, and I listened in silence to the metronomic squeal of the wipers while they argued about music and politics and people I didn’t know until eventually we stopped for a bite in a pub where I nibbled a prawn sandwich, gulped down some cider and tried to relax. And afterwards Isaac slipped a pink smiley pill into my hand which kicked in later when we were driving along a dirt track and parking up at the back of Carpark B.‘Feel anything?’ he said. I nodded as he put his warm hand in mine.
‘I know this will be a good night,’ he said.
Mary Thompson works as a freelance teacher in London. Her work has recently featured in journals and competitions including Flash 500, Fish, Retreat West, Reflex, Ellipsis Zine, Spelk, Ghost Parachute and LISP, and is forthcoming at Literary Orphans and Riggwelter. She is a first reader for Craft Literary Journal.
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