The customized LED of my Blackberry started blinking, its bright yellow flash indicating a calendar alert. July 31, 2011: BSB Concert, Nassau Coliseum, 7:30 pm.
I had almost given up hope on ever seeing my idols play live. I was way too young to go to concerts by myself at the time they were really popular. All I could do was dream, sing along their tunes and pray that they did not split a couple of years later. I spent all the little change I had on buying everything that bore their name. I became proud of being one of their admirers, and even if everybody else thought I was far from being cool, I didn’t care. My classmates were all into Nirvana. They laughed at me because of who I was, and what I liked, but despite their best efforts to force me to surrender, I did not flinch. I decided to become the strong individual I am today. Nobody could push me to choose something I did not want. My determination ran through my veins thicker than my own blood. They could all hate me, I knew I would never fit in. I nonetheless subjected myself to their worst reaction after they all united to make my life miserable. I quickly wondered what it would have been like today; with all of us having cell phones, and computers with constant internet coverage. I felt happy that none of Facebook and Twitter existed at the time. Their bullying would have gotten much further had they been able to post nasty comments about me on everybody’s wall.
These thoughts dragged me back in time to a place where I didn’t feel happy. No matter how much I hated their intolerance, I had nowhere to go. I almost got myself into a fist fight because I called a girl a stupid skank. I was not ashamed of anything I said; I meant every word. But at 13, what could I really accomplish with my big mouth and my rebellious attitude? I soon realized that my offensive strategy was flawed. I had to back down and watch my enemies from a different angle. I, therefore, decided to outsmart them by pretending I liked the same stuff they did, so that they would leave me alone at last. Deep inside though, I stayed faithful to my first love. I would never abandon them, and if all it took was for me to start a holy war to protect my freedom of thought, then it was meant to be.
I shut up about my likes and tucked myself in a role that I played to perfection. The mold I created soon became a second skin, and everybody forgot about bullying me. I, however, managed to be fake for a few months at best, until a classmate asked me out one day. I was not interested in dating anybody; my heart was taken, I responded. Whom was I in love with? His name was Nicholas. Nicholas Gene Carter. Who was that? He was one of my idols.
It did not take long for these suckers to come back at me stronger than before. I had learned to defend myself in the meantime. They could do whatever they wanted, I was not scared of them. I stood my ground and let them circle me, until they moved so close I inflicted the first blow to one of them. I kicked right in the crotch, and I escaped. All the courage in the world was, however, not enough to defeat them all. Time would take care of them, I thought, but until then, I was really screwed for a dreadful few months.
When I started high school one year later, I slowly pushed these memories out of my mind. I kept on listening to my idols, perfecting my English to their songs and gradually becoming more of an adult. They did not split for all the years I followed their steps, and they never forsook me, despite me deciding one day that I was too old for this shit and I needed to move on.
I discarded all my posters, my magazine articles and my memorabilia thinking that I was really done with them. I ignored their existence and even forced myself to forget that I liked them a lot when I was a teenager. I buried my memories and hid them very deep in the ground, so they would never come back to haunt me.
How wrong I had been. They reappeared in my life when I expected it the least. First, I found one of their albums in my Itunes music library. I listened to “Never Gone” for two months in a row. Then, I started playing their music videos on YouTube. It truly felt like riding a bike, as if I had never left them. For all this time, they stayed and waited for me to be ready for them again.
The coup de grace happened when I noticed that they were playing in concert on Long Island. Pure coincidence or fate? My heart tightened as I checked the price of tickets… I called my friend and asked her if she was willing to come with me. When she said yes, I pulled my credit card and clicked on purchase. The rest was history.
I screamed at the top of my lungs when I finally saw them for the first time live, after fifteen years of being their fan. I jumped, sang along their old tunes and hugged my friend, as I chugged beer after beer, getting drunker and drunker, the excitement of making a teenage dream come true overwhelming me deep to the core. I never thought that going back in time could be so easy and feel so wonderful. I had last night the most amazing time of my life, and I will forever remember that moment as I looked in the mirror and saw myself, the 13 year old me, smiling and waving, happier than ever. The bullies of my past were long gone; all that remained were the sweet memories of me singing to their albums, knowing all the lyrics by heart, my head full of fantasies heavily involving Nick Carter and his pals, as I developed my own strength, and I discovered my romantic side, staring at the stars and dreaming about a better life in the English language.
For a couple of hours, I went back in time, and it felt truly awesome.