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The Young Man I Met Last Night

Wolf Parade Philly Oct 2017

The band was still finding its footing, having just placed their drinks down and positioned themselves at or picked up their instruments moments earlier, but you had gone from zero to 60 with the first note. You bounced along to “I Am A Runner” with more spring than I have ever possessed.

I was envious as I watched you joyously move with every keyboard stroke, kick drum pound, and piercing chord from Dan’s guitar as it sliced through the Wurlitzer-like bass lines keeping time last night.

You reached out for my hand during “Sons & Daughters”, and I was taken aback, but you smiled and mouthed an impassioned thank you, so I went along with it even though that kind of contact, with a stranger, is miles removed from my comfort zone.

I don’t know how or why you spotted me, a few feet to your right and slightly behind you, or why you wanted to hold my hand for that briefest of moments, as the lights from the stage alternated between red and white. I couldn’t guess your intentions but you were obviously happy enough to embrace a stranger mid-song so I replied in kind.

A warm smile, a nod, and a firm grasp.

Wolf Parade Philly Oct 2017

After the encore of Cloud Shadow, Heart’s on Fire and I Believe in Anything you found me again, in the thinning crowd as the stage hands began to disconnect mics, wind up wires, and spin loose the cymbals.

You had tears streaming down your faces, cutting new lines across the slippery tracks still obvious from earlier. Your mask was a mess of irrigation, your eyes looking eagerly for an ear to bend about what tonight’s show had meant to you, what with all that you have been battling this week and for the last 7 months.

I tried to explain what the scene was like when I was young, because you asked, and about the other times I’d seen Wolf Parade live. This was your first and you were moved to tears multiple times hearing live the songs that, on record, have been helping you overcome a dependence on alcohol and computer gaming.

You are 23 years.

You could be one of the three figures drawn on my heart.

We shook hands again then pounded fists. For a split second, I considered initiating a hug because it seemed as though we’d both been through a lot in the past 90 minutes.

An offer of encouragement, a plea to stay strong, and a verbalized belief I had no authority to levy that “you can do it” put a bow on our unexpected relationship.

I guess all that’s left now is to fight, to rage against the night, and believe in anything including that it is indeed getting better all the time.

All the best to you, son.

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