It was past midnight on January 1st. I stood on the balcony section of the Electric Factory, to the right of the stage where Dark Star Orchestra was enthusiastically recreating the ambiance of the Grateful Dead. The music was nonstop, the number of tie-dye shirts were innumerable. I was trying to find the beat, to sway and dance a bit, while attempting to get a better look at the band and observe the people around me. In the midst of this celebratory and colorful time, somewhere on the main floor, a balloon popped.
And maybe a third, although this I cannot remember. The moment that sound reached my ears my body and my brain sensed imminent danger. I turned and grabbed Adam, who thankfully was very near to me. “What was that?” I repeated it several times. I glanced around everywhere. What was that? What was that? Why?
With psychologist level expertise, Adam led me downstairs. I was terrified, shaking, and crying. I tried to hide my face from the other concert-goers, so that my panic would not ruin their New Year party. I cautiously made it down the stairs and we arrived at the doors where smokers went in and out. We remained next to these doors, so occasional drafts of cold air reached my body and took me away from the crowded and hot venue.
Adam remained with me while I rode the waves of this panic attack. He spoke calm and peaceful words to me. He reminded me that nothing bad was happening. That it was only a balloon. That he had thought this might happen to me, that he was already prepared to take control if I panicked. I felt helpless, scared, and incredibly sad. I started to ask him questions that no one has an answer for; Why would they do that to all those people?
I could only think about Paris and the Bataclan, how I had been invited there so many times, how Tyler had been there so many times, how everyone in Paris knows this place and how wonderful that concert must have been up until that most awful moment.
When I was able to stop crying and breathe in a more regular manner, Adam was able to distract me and help me out of that anxious head space. Then I received a call from Chris, one of my closest friends. A call so welcome and needed that despite the freezing chill, I huddled near the fence outside to speak with him.
The music continued but I had stopped hearing it. Adam and I remained in the back of the room until the almost-end of the show, and eventually joined up with my sister and her boyfriend and we left.
Back at the house I socialized as much as I could, and then I went to rest. We put on Star Trek. We went to sleep.