A Mort Laitner Short Story
I sat cramped with my knees almost touching my chest—you guessed it I’m in the BB&T Center—in the nose-bleed section waiting for Springsteen to take the stage.
But I felt relaxed, lucky and mellow. No one sat to the right of me; there were empty seats in front of me; the Xanax started to kick in. My legs shot over the front seat. My body shifted toward the right seat and I was about to see my first Bruce Springsteen concert.
At 8:00 Bruce and the E Street Band took the stage to a roar of 15,000 fans. I scanned the fans around me. Like me, they had grown up with Bruce’s music, his energy and his sexuality. They still possessed his music.
Aloud the audience sang, “Born To Run” and “Dancing in the Dark”, enjoying the freedom to be in the Boss’ chorus. Now more than 40 years later, most wore the badges of age across their faces and their bodies. But Bruce still had it. He gave it his all.
The fans responded by shaking and rocking the arena.
They cheered. They swayed. They shook their booties.
That’s when my eyes caught one of those shaking booties. She must have been around 59-years-old. She rocked it like a 16-year-old.
Next to her sat a subdued 70-something-looking mate and a handsome nine-year-old grandson.
This dyed-brown-headed gal with shag cut filled her blue jeans to perfection. She danced as if she remembered Bruce in the back seat of her Seventies Mustang.
I wondered, “Why did grandma bring her grandson to this rock concert? And why give him a Jerry Lee Lewis performance?”
I thought, “Obviously, to create a memory that the two of them would cherish for years to come—like those family trips to Disney.”
But I shook my head from side-to-side. There was more to this picture.
She strutted her stuff a little too much for a family-Kodak moment.
She flickered her fingers through her hair as if a teenager in search of love.
She shot her arms toward the arena dome as if praising the Lord with screams of, “Halleluiah.”
Grandma returned to her glory days.
At 9:00 Grandma left for an obligatory bladder break. As her grandson fiddled with his iPhone, she returned with a large Coke and a black Boss-concert-schedule tee shirt. She gave both to her grandson, who in an act of gratitude gave her a peck on the cheek.
At 10:00, I watched as nine-year-old crawled into his grandma’s lap. Now cradled in her arms, he felt her unconditional love.
Again I asked, “Why bring the child to this concert?”
And then it hit me.
“Unconsciously, grandma was imprinting or ingraining her hip, sensual image into her grandchild’s brain.
Years later, her grandson would not remember Bruce, nor the E Street Band, nor the 15,000 roaring fans.
Years later, he would ask himself why he dated petit brunettes, with short haircuts, who wore tight-fitting blue jeans and shook the booties with all abandon. And why he craved a woman who would render him unconditional love.
What the readers are saying:
It is always enlightening to read a piece you have penned. —Emanuel
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful scripts. Your show don’t tell comes across terrific.—-Gina
LOL. We had a girls night out group in front of us. I’ve never seen anything like it. The one we called red was at her first Bruce concert. She told us she had wanted to go when she was younger but her mom said no… Her mom was now dead so she decided it was time to let go. Lets just say I’ve never seen air guitar played on the handrails quite that way before. By the end of the night she was shoeless and covered in beer and beaming with the sheer joy of it all. 🙂 —Tracie