Thursday, September 30, 2004

Going home is not an option...

“I think I’m going to throw up.”

Those were Tracy’s exact words on the way back to the car on I-91 after a long morning walk - a walk we took to find out how far we were from ‘the’ exit. We had just heard Mike’s announcement on The Bunny from one of the cars parked on the highway.

I couldn’t speak; I could only think. I thought about how this was our last Phish show and I was not willing to give up. I kept replaying the announcement in my mind. He never said the show was cancelled. Phish was still going to play and I planned to be there no matter what!

Not knowing what my friends’ reaction would be to this turn of events, my mind starting spinning even more. I thought about taking everything that would fit in my backpack and walking to the show and hoping that I would be able to find my friends from Lexington on the inside and catch a ride home with them. We walked past hundreds of people thinking and feeling the exact same things. Some were crying, some were cussing, and some were turning around and going home. Although it was less than two miles, it was the longest walk of my life. I wondered what Sam, the ultimate voice of reason in our group, would say when we finally got back to the car.

After what seemed like hours, we finally saw the car and it was in almost the exact spot it had been when we started our walk. The only real difference was that there were not nearly as many other cars as there had been earlier. That was when I noticed the sun and how it was shining for the first time in two days. At first it felt like a sick joke, but it quickly became a sign that things were going to be fine.

Sam must have sensed our worries, because before Tracy or I could say anything, he said, “Listen, we’re not making any rash decisions. We’ll just sit here for a couple of hours, see how close to the exit we can get and park the car and walk if we have to!” My heart started beating again for the first time since we had been told to turn around and go home. We were all in this together and we would get there somehow. We quickly befriended the couple parked next to us. There were sitting in camping chairs in the emergency lane and weren’t ready to leave either. We decided to stick together and when the time came, park and hike the rest of the way to the show.

For the first time in over thirty hours on I-91, I felt like I could relax. I opened a beer and started making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for my friends - old and new. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and I was in my element. Our trip had just begun.

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