Kim scanned the faces around her. No Tiffany. They’d been together just a moment before, at the port-a-toilets, but now there were just people. Too many people. She recognized the music on the stage – someone Tiffany had wanted to see, so she walked back toward the stage, still looking for Tiffany or George or anyone she knew, not that she expected to know anyone in the 150,000 people around her. Someone from the stage had announced earlier that the concert was free to attend. Someone in the line for the bathrooms had joked about needing more toilet paper if the entire state of New York was going to show up.
She spotted a slightly familiar face. The guy with the missing tooth who’d offered them a place to hangout.
“Hi,” she said, trying to hide her embarrassment. “Do you remember me?”
“Of course I do.” He smiled, showing his missing tooth and startling blue eyes. “How’s it goin?”
“Um, okay. Look do you remember the girl I was with? I can’t find her. Have you seen her recently?”
“No, can’t say that I have. What’s her name?”
“Tiffany with the ebony skin. Beautiful. I’m John Michael.” He offered his hand, which she took automatically. It was dry and soft and he didn’t cling to her fingers. “This here’s Amble.” He gestured to his companion, the skinny – skinnier – guy she’d seen with him before. Amble had a vacant look on his face and didn’t respond to her offer to shake.
“Amble? Are you all right?” He didn’t look all right.
“He’s fine. He’s just walking down the flowery path.”
“What? You mean like LDS?”
John Michael laughed at that. “LSD. Yeah. Have you ever tried it?”
“Oh man, you should. It’ll totally change your world.”
“Not yet. I was going to wait for this evening. Weren’t you looking for someone else earlier?”
“Yeah, George. Tiffany’s brother.”
“Let’s go check the information booth. Maybe you’ll get lucky.”
“But what about Amble?”
“He’ll be fine.” He said that but he bent down and told Amble slowly where he was going and with whom. “What’s your name by the way?”
“Oh, sorry, I’m Kim.”
“Nice to meet cha Kim.” John Michael led her back up the hill toward the main gate. “Where you from?”
“You came all the way from Colorado to see this show?”
“You bet. An Aquarian Love Fest? That’s just what the world needs.”
“And Amble, where’d you meet him?”
“We were both hitching and happened to get the same ride. How long have you known your friend?”
“Since we were five.”
“True sisters then. Cool. And you’re, what, sixteen? What a great time to be sixteen.” He gestured to the festival grounds. “I have to report to the draft board on Tuesday.”
“Oh no. You got drafted?”
“Yeah. Since I graduated from college, I’m fair game.”
“That’s terrible. I’m so sorry.”
“How are you going to get from here to Colorado in a day?”
“Take a plane. I just need to get to JFK on Monday. I’ll make it. Unfortunately.”
“Yeah, that’s a bummer.”
“But – live for the day, right? Here’s the booth.” The booth was covered with all sorts of hand-made notes on all types of paper; paper plates, receipts, candy wrappers. “And there’s your friend.”
“Where the hell did you?” Tiffany asked.
“I lost you when I came out of the toilet. This is John Michael.”
“Hi John Michael. Hey, we met you earlier. Thanks for taking care of my girl Kim.”
“My pleasure. Hey, now that you’ve reunited, wanna take a trip down the flowery path? I’ll fetch Amble and we’ll hang out in the woods for a bit. Sound fun?”
Tiffany got that look on her face, the look that said “Trouble? Bring it on.” Kim tried to get her attention, but she said, “Yeah, that’d be great.”
“Right on, sister.”