A wall of Brown sound erupted from the darkness and held me captive. I could not breath, I could not move, I could not believe what I was hearing… until the next power chord drove a torrent of sonic fury up my spine. He held the note until its fiery intensity had thoroughly drown me in its current, he held the chord for as long as he pleased.

It was a strange animal being unleashed onto the crowd. You could hear it breathing as the power of that chord’s resonation shook the arena. The whole place was literally shaking. The intensity of that one sustained chord curled every hair on my body… and then it stopped as suddenly as it appeared. It was as if its sudden departure created a vacuum in the room.

It was still dark, and I could feel my heart beginning to pound in my chest. Then without warning a blistering fury of notes and power chords, that made those first two eruptions seem docile by comparison. The fury pounded my heart into submission. Then once again… silence.

The vacuum was more intense, more sustained this time. Perhaps I just died.

Then he pounded his strings once more and this time the wall of sound pummeled me with a barrage of lights and smoke and he emerged from the darkness of the stage alone… just one small man, and his guitar and he shook the ground upon which I was standing with such a violent presence, that I was nearly moved to tears. He was Edward Van Halen. I’m not sure, but I think he was immortal. He was one with his guitar and he played it at will. It was as if he fed off it, and the guitar fed off him. They needed each other.

The band kicked it into ‘Jump’ and proceeded to play for the next two-and-a-half hours and I witnessed a spectacle that transcended emotion.

Stacy Bast

I saw her pen rolling towards me, like a train wreck about to take place, and everything was happening in slow motion. My heart began to pound a rhythm that nearly folded my brain in two. Her pen was rolling in my direction and for one brief moment, my world stood still.

Stacey Bast was the prettiest girl in high school. She always carried herself with grace, dignity, and kindness. She was the sun and all the other girls in school were candles and if I looked in her direction for too long…man! I could feel myself going blind as her image burned into the back of my brain. From behind shaded eyes, I would look upon her from afar, hoping to catch a glimpse of her shadow so that I might continue my day, drunk on life. She was my high school crush.

Back in those days, I could never work up the courage to talk to girls. On this particular day, it all changed, but only for a moment. I was sitting in a math class and Stacey Bast was seated across the aisle. A pen fell off her desk and was rolling towards me.

Her pen was rolling in my direction and for one brief moment, my world stood still…

Even when we’re here, we’ll always be gone forever with the arrival of the very next moment. The high school eyes that I once looked upon her with are gone. The girl I used to look at with those eyes is also gone. She’s a beautiful woman now, and I’m just a guy tapping keys on a stream of consciousness. That shy high school boy was swept away forever in yesterday’s moments and now lives only in my memories. Everything is as fresh and brand new, as everything passed, is gone but not forgotten.

They build memories and merge into wisdom and as I looked upon Stacey for the first time in twelve years, I marveled at how yesterday’s moments belonged to yesterday, and today’s moments will pass you by if you’re not careful to mind them.

The way of things have rhythm. We all hurt and we all laugh as one human race in a rich blur of colour on a small ball in the universe that otherwise might never be found without directions. The rhythm can never be directly observed. It is only in a faint shadow of an echo that we may become aware of its presence. And when we feel that presence, we all feel a connection to the way of things in life. No hurt, no tear is never, ever cried alone. No joy, no laugh is ever celebrated alone.

Moments pound a beat to an unstoppable, unshakable rhythm. My world rarely stops for anything anymore. I can sometimes hear the next moment come before it even happens. And so while I never ever predicted that I would wind up one day in Stacey’s company, drinking a beer, and talking about nothing in particular, I wasn’t surprised that the moment came. My heart did not flutter, my world did not stop, and at that particular moment I remember thinking about the last conversation I ever had with Stacey Bast…

Her pen rolled my way in a Math class. I picked it up off the floor and looked in her direction. She turned to face me, and with all the courage I could muster I said to her, “Stacey, you dropped your pen.”

She smiled, took the pen from me and responded, “Thanks Jarrett.” Then she turned back to her friend and resumed her conversation.

How perfectly silly it all seems now… that moment. But you know it’s kind of funny how that brief exchange of words was a highlight of my semester. Still is.