Part 1: Before The Concert
Today I was finally going to see my favorite singer, Camila Abano. What I liked most about her was how she dressed. There were some songs of hers that were not my favorites but, whenever I used to see her wearing a tight T-shirt tucked into jeans, I did not care what style of music she performed. I became a fan of her images.
I would go to the news stand and bookstore to look for the latest editions of magazines with pictures of singers so I could browse through them and see if there were any pictures of Camila in them. I found one magazine called Barcelona Monthly, which was apparently dedicated to performers from that city, and Camila would be in every issue. She always wore either a tucked in T-shirt or a tucked in button shirt, usually with the sleeves rolled up and the jeans belted very tightly.
When I found out she was coming to Antioch, the place where my biological family lived, I called my mother and told her that I would be coming by for a visit. I had a conversation with her that went somewhat awkward.
I said, “Hello, mom. I would like to see you on Saturday.”
She said, “It’s a good thing because Saturday is your birthday and I tried to reach you but your phone was not on and you probably did not see your messages. We’ll have a whole dinner waiting for you.”
I said, “I did not realize it was my birthday or I forgot.”
My mom said, “People don’t forget their birthdays like that.”
“You’re right. I did not forget. I was wanting to see a singer who will be performing that night.”
My mom said, “We can all go together as a family.”
I said, “I guess that will be okay.”
What I wanted to say, but was afraid of hurting my mom’s feelings, was that I did not think that it was okay for my family to go to the concert with me.
I was raised by a different family growing up, the Johnsons. My biological family was the Miltons. When I became an adult, I located my biological family who were happy I came back into their lives. My mom, Daphne, had never married and she was living at home with her parents who told her that she would be kicked out and living on the streets if she did not put me in foster care. So, for a few years until I was six, she would come to the Johnsons and visit me as a friend. However, social services suggested to her that she stop doing that and she decided not to argue.
I was not adopted. I still had the legal last name of Milton. When the Johnsons died, I figured it was time to see the Miltons again. I was surprised and not in a good way.
Aside from my mom, I had an uncle, her brother, named Dan. He had a wife named Susan and a daughter named Penny. They were all three hundred and fifty pounds each in weight. I also had an aunt, my mom’s sister, Rose, who was only three hundred pounds, the thin one of the family, and my mom was three hundred and fifty pounds, also.
Their eating habits were frightening. My uncle Dan would never wash his hands before making any meals and he spent all day in the backyard of his house handling dirty furniture and car parts. My mother never used seasonings in her cooking and when I suggested putting a little bit of black pepper on the roast turkey, she said she thought I was insane. My aunt Rose liked eating chicken noodle soup but she would add sugar to the soup because she could not stand any flavor other than sweet.
When my mom said she was going to make a dinner for me, I felt like I was trapped in a situation in which I did not want to be a part. I found a solution, however. The concert, which was being held at Prospect Pavilion, was at four in the afternoon and ended at six p.m. I could go to my mom’s house after the concert was over. She usually did not start cooking before seven o’clock at night anyway so I would not be inconveniencing her at all.
2: At The Concert
Antioch was a small town and I did not expect Prospect Pavilion to be huge but, on the other hand, I did not expect it to be as small as it was. I also did not realize that Camila was one of ten different singers, all of whom lived in Antioch and the concert was merely mentioned in Barcelona Monthly because Camila had been born there and that magazine kept current with everything about her career.
I found out this information after talking to a security guard before the show proper. He had said that the concert was a fundraiser for a local business woman who owned a flower shop that had burned down and the money would go towards buying her a new building.
When Camila came on stage, the last act, I was excited. She only did four songs but she was wearing a red sweatshirt tucked into belted blue jeans and did a sexy dance for the first two numbers. For the last two songs, she looked right at me with a dreamy look in her eyes. The sound system was not great so I was not sure what the words were but I felt a connection, as though she wanted me to approach her after the show. She even pointed at me during the last song so that was how I came up with my conclusion. The pavilion was approximately the size of a small saloon so I figured there would be no problem meeting her.
When Camila took a bow and went behind the curtain, after she finished her last song, the same security guard who I talked with before the show had looked at me and pointed to the backstage as if he thought I should go back there. That would be easier than I had imagined. When I walked up the stage, Camila came out again. Her sweatshirt looked like a small part of it had worked its way out of her jeans, probably as a result of doing the sexy dancing, but she lifted her arms for a second and I realized it was still tucked in. She looked good, especially with her sleeves pushed up which complemented her appearance.
She asked, “How did you find out about this show?”
I said, “I saw it mentioned in Barcelona Monthly.”
She said, “I have not been there for a very long time. My brother works at that magazine so that is why I am written about in it. I live in Antioch and consider myself a Californian. Do you live in Antioch?” I said, “No but my family does and today is my birthday. I came here to see the show and then go visit them. They are planning to give me a birthday dinner and I am not excited about it. I would prefer not to show up there but, as a son, I owe it to my mother.”
She looked dreamily at me and asked, “Did you see me point at you?”
I said, “Yes. It seemed like a sign.”
She said, “I could tell you are special. There was something in the way you looked and moved that told me that you are a great person. I want to give you a special something for your birthday.”
I said, “Okay.”
She extended her hand. I gave her my hand and she took it, firmly. She did not say anything but gave me a nice smile and kept shaking my hand on and on. After a few minutes, some of the custodians working at the Pavilion were looking at us so I felt self conscious. I tried letting go of her hand but she tightened her grip and kept shaking. I was nervous.
I asked, “What are you doing?”
She said, “I am giving you the highest honor. Apretón de manos no terminará.”
I asked, “What does that mean?”
The security guard, who had talked with me, said, “‘The handshake will not stop.'” He chuckled.
I was not sure if this was a joke or serious but I was worried. I said, “I have to go to my mom’s place now.”
She said, “I’ll go with you.”