Happiness



We stood in the cold for an hour. I was apprehensive, unsure whether my ticket, purchased from a reseller, would actually allow me to enter the venue. Dread was building at the base of my skull, the low buzz of anxiety slowly turning into a howl. What if they didn't let me in? What if my ticket wasn't valid, what if I had flown all this way for no reason? What would I do then?

The parents in front of me, who were accompanying their teenage daughter and her friend, reassured me: they bought their tickets there as well, if the security people at the entrance made a fuss they would support me, or even help me buy a ticket off a scalper - after all, "we understand how much this means to our daughter, it must mean even more to you, having traveled so far; we've got you luv". Never in my life have I been called "luv" and "darlin'" as much as I was in Manchester. Their kind reassurance made the anxiety receded to its normal, dull thrum.

Finally, the line started to move, at first slowly and then more quickly, towards the door, towards a dream I've had since I was 14. As we reached the door, the parents and two teenagers were able to enter without problem, and then kindly waited for me to get in as well. Never have I ever anticipated a "bip" as much as when the security guard's scanner was hovering over my ticket. When it finally sounded, the rush of relief was immediate and immense. The parents gave me a quick hug, we wished each other lots of fun, and all of us entered the venue.

Making my way toward the stage of what felt like a perfectly-sized room (capacity about 3000), I noticed something that made me very happy: British women (at least those in Manchester) are really short, most of them only coming up to my chest or shoulders. I fell in line with two boyfriends who had been dragged along; at about 1,80m they weren't giants, but with me in the middle as the anchor, we presented an unbreachable wall to the people behind us. Their line of sight completely blocked, we also instinctively closed ranks whenever someone tried to push through. I felt bad for a second, but then remembered that I had spent more than 120 Euros to even be in the room, so my guilt quickly dissipated.

Random songs blaring from the speakers, we stood for another hour. As my legs grew stiff, the tension started creeping up my spine: what if they didn't show up? What if the sound was bad, or they simply did their set and left? Normally, I try to keep my expectations on the lower end of the scale, so as to avoid disappointment. Tonight, however, 13 years of expectations were pushing down on me, and the voice in my head was just waiting, begging for me to be wrong so it could tell me "I told you so". An unmemorable opening act, playing four songs to lukewarm reception, came and went, after which we stood for another hour.

And then... then the first few chords came crashing through the speakers. As the crowd let out a roar, the four members of McFly took the stage, and everything just fell away. The anxiety, the worries - I forgot about all of it. Transported back to the first time I carefully placed the single into my discman, plugging the headphones into my ears, my foot tapping along to the beat, I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience: I knew what I was seeing and hearing was real, but couldn't believe that I was actually there. Standing ten feet away from the stage, people screaming and jumping and singing all around me, "5 Colors in Her Hair" splashing down on all of us, tears started rolling down my face and I felt... calm. At peace. And unshakeably, uncontrollably happy.

After the first song was over, the sensation rushed back into my body, and for the next 1 1/2 hours, I enjoyed what has arguably gone down as the best night of my life. Singing along to all the songs I knew by heart, occasionally bumping into one of the two very patient (if slightly uninterested) boyfriends, I enjoyed 90 minutes of pure, anxiety-free, and complete happiness. Leaving the theater, tour poster carefully tucked under my arm, I fell out into the cold night air. I practically floated back to the hotel, replaying all the little moments between the guys in my head, reveling in the fact that they played two of my favorite songs at the very end of the show, and laughing quietly at the people who jumped over each other to catch an empty can that was thrown from the stage (why??).

Falling into bed exhausted from smiling so much (not even making that up), I lay awake for another hour watching all the videos I took, excited about the fact that there were no hands in the way (thank you, short Manchunian ladies) and enjoying the crisp, high-quality sound of the music I love (thank you, Nokia Lumia).

When I finally fell asleep, for the first time in a long time, the little voice in my head was quiet. Because after such an incredible night, there was no anxiety, no worries, no nagging, no thrum... just happiness. And wonderful, incredible silence.


McFly Anthology Tour - a dream come true