Tuesday, 16 June 2015

View from the Other Side: You're Gonna Hear Me Roar

1:00 am.

I remove my headphones for a bit and, for a while, there is nothing. Silence. Then my ears retune and I pick it up - a confused mix of sounds. The stomping of feet on floor. The occasional sip of drink. A drunken lyric, sung in a key hitherto unknown to mankind. In the distance, the bar calls. (I fish my wallet out of my pocket, checking for my last residue of change - also producing another sound.)

Making apologies that nobody can hear, I wend my way through the silent disco throng, their noise-cancelling headphones emitting an eerie neon glow, colour denoting the song they're listening to. They are dancing like they never have before - a kind of human interaction that would make a fascinating experiment, were they not all slightly intoxicated.

In the bar, there is more noise. Chatter from those who have decided to escape the silent disco. The man at the bar, who's been up since 7:00 am, fixes me with a forced smile and very tired eyes. He's done weddings before, but probably none like this.

"Two Diet Cokes, please?"
"Right. That'll be £2, please."

My wallet screams in pain as I rip the coins from it and hand them over.

"How are you doing?"
I turn to face the Dutch girl who's been hanging around for the whole wedding, but whose name I've never tried to learn.
"Fine, okay. Tired. Thirsty. I'm not sure I can carry on."
"You can! It's a wedding! Go back and dance!"
I nod. She's right, of course. I take my Diet Cokes and jog back to the dancefloor.

Mane Jr. is leading his brother and the young raver in a silent singalong of something or another. My pregnant-friend-who-is-a-nurse and the also-pregnant Lovely have retreated to the sanctity of a nearby Premier Inn, taking with them MTH and Robinson. Jilly is sitting down to rest her tired feet. Scene girl is dancing with her sister, her eyes closed in a silent scream of glee. My friend-who-is-a-teacher is missing.

The bride staggers in and sits down into a chair at the vacant top table, a neon heart softly glowing above her head - a halo matched only in radiance by mine and the neon lights of the silent disco headphones. She is exhausted by the day's events. I raise my eyes to talk to her; she matches my gaze and grins. The groom, with a little more energy, wanders in and engages her in conversation. I break away from them and put my headphones back on.

Immediately the indistinct jumble of noise is replaced by music, filling my whole world with sound. And I dance. In my own world, shared with others dependent on the song. Eventually the bride joins us - Mane gives her his pair of headphones, fishing a replacement pair for himself out of the box. We are all here, united by this girl we've all known for years: she has brought us together to celebrate in glory. And we're all dancing to music no outsider can hear.

I feel empowered. I feel embraced. I feel loved. I feel special.

I feel free.

Katy Perry's Roar starts playing into my ears and I notice people's headphones indicating that they are also partaking.

I thrust my fist into the air and let out a silent roar of appreciation, power, love... and relief that I have made it through yet another wedding.

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