I was there with friends. It was an outdoor concert, my first ever, and the sun had finally set after quite a long day. No longer were we all beaten down by the intense heat. The cool night air was making all of the secondhand smoke more tolerable, and as the Stone Temple Pilots warmed up on stage, I looked around at the mass of people. I looked at my friends from school, at the random strangers, all here for a purpose. I saw the couples making out, saw those normally invisible bonds strung like steel spiderwebs between certain pairs of people, about some groups. Almost everyone was in attendance with others they knew, others whose friendship and company they treasured.

The show started, and we turned our attention to the huge stage, shining bright as day in the dark like some flesh-and-blood movie screen. As the various melodies floated out above the crowd I started helping body surfers over my head, watching people go nuts in the mosh pits and trying unsuccesfully not to get knocked in the head by a wayward shoe. I was getting so into everything, hands in the air, swaying and nodding my head with the lifting and sometimes haunting songs, when I noticed her. Off to the side of the stage, her eyes closed, leaning comfortably against a tree. She was all alone, physically, and presumably had been all day. Kind of pretty, but looking weathered and sunburned like the rest of us were, I wondered what she was doing. A song ended and her eyes opened. She looked disappointed. I saw her look longingly at some couple all over each other, and then look sadly away. The next song started up. She breathed deeply as if trying to take in the very music in the air, and sustain her happiness, her life, her place in everything. I saw her there, lonely, trying to fill herself with the concert, and felt for her. I had been there before, seeking solace in music, trying to stop thinking about how lonely I was in a place filled with those who weren't. I felt for her, but at the same time, I envied her.

Somehow, it's easier to feel the music when you've got no attachments to cloud your vision. Gut-wrenching sappy love songs and bitter anti-ex ranting songs hold their own special meaning. I couldn't help but wonder how she came to be that way. I didn't have the courage or the initiative to fight through the crowd and then disturb her, just to get in on what had happened. I'll never know.