The blond boy shuffled his feet in the gravel next to the building. He was waiting. He struck a match, holding the orange flame up to the joint held between his lips. Inhaling deeply, he began to relax. This could be the night.
He watched as a couple of girls ran past him, paying no attention to the boy in the shadows. There was a muffled sound of music seeping out into the chilly night air. Pulling his jacket closer around him, he walked toward the back door of the venue, following in the girls footsteps.
Scrunching through the rocks, he rounded the corner. There was the bus, belching diesel fumes into the cold air. The driver had just let the two girls inside. He sighed, knowing he would never be invited in, yet still hoping…always hoping.
He glanced at his watch. It was almost time. He moved closer to the double doors, his heart pounding a rhythm to match the beat of the music from within. Then a thunderous roar was followed by a silence that made his ears ring. A sudden surge of adrenaline coursed through his veins.
A thousand footsteps behind him were coming closer. The doors flew open as two burly men lead the way to the bus. In the few seconds before the crowd caught up to him, he made eye contact with a tall musician coming through the doorway.
He hears the words, “Not tonight,” spoken, as the musician signals to him with a hand over his heart. Then he is gone…swept along with his entourage onto the bus
The blond boy is just another face in the crowd of fans now gathered there, hoping to get a glimpse of the musician. It is bittersweet, having been seen, yet not invited along. He turns away, preparing for the next stop on the road ahead.
Inside the bus, the musician watches through the window and sighs.
“Who were you talking to?” a band mate asks.
“My brother,” he replies.
“I didn’t see anyone there.” the band mate says.
“I know…he died two years ago. He was my biggest fan…and he still is.”