hands linked in a line of seven

by Arielle Friedman

With a perpetual fear of a smudged cat eye and tightly wound space buns, my six friends and I had arrived. Osheaga came to me at the end of my summer. A summer which seesawed between self doubt and self discovery.

One I had spent navigating the turbulent spikes of my anxiety and ignoring the grief that comes with saying goodbye. Making new friends and searching for that feeling of forever young in house parties on the lower east side of Manhattan. I wore T-shirts that belonged to boys I didn’t know because my own skin was too uncomfortable to stay in for long periods of time. I felt lost in the ever changing nature of life and even more confused by the uncertainty of my future. I found my way back to old friends I’d misplaced on the long road away from home, and found the strength to accept that some people are best left in the past. This myriad of feelings would come to be the thumbnail of my twenty-two. A strange mixture of euphoric adolescent bliss while coming to terms with some heavy shit. It has been a weird two years. But today, I was present. Today, I was happy. The happiest I’d been in a long time.

 
_12_0530.jpg
 

This intermission in-between the acts of my depression was sponsored by blue eyeliner, the greatest of friends, and Osheaga. The kind of friends that when you see their faces you automatically smile. The kind of friends you would happily avoid all responsibilities, for the rest of your life, just to spend time together. Friends to have 90’s music karaoke dance parties with, and the occasional Broadway sing-along. Where your inside jokes become a language of their own, and when their mannerisms morph into your natural way of being. For nothing is ever boring, nothing ever dull. They make my heart full by simply existing, and for that I am grateful. For there is something about their company that makes me profoundly content. A feeling I wish I could put in a box, and hold forever by my heart.

It is a strange thing to recognize the present moment as one you will look back on with nostalgia. That’s how I felt about Osheaga. For it would only be like this, with these people, once. Our time together has an inevitable expiration date. One by one we will move away. But while we are still together, all I want is to save these moments. To be present with them all, and really live.

 
__4_0501.jpg
 

Moments, like a wet bar of soap, are impossible to hold onto. Slippery and fleeting, they slip through our fingers before we are aware that they are gone. So I took pictures. The camera an extension of my adoring eyes, I captured the friends that make the demons go away. I picked up that camera partly to fulfil some other form of self expression, but mostly to quench my gnawing fear of forgetting the fun of my youth. Of forgetting the details. Like the color of Sean’s socks, or Caitlyn’s blue hair. The way Carly and Gabe danced to Florence and the Machine, and how her performance made us feel. How we walked, hands linked in a line of seven, pushing our way back home through the crowd utterly content and connected. I took pictures of strangers and my own shadow. Of mosh pits and people stacked on each others shoulders.  All in the hopes of capturing an experience. Of immortalizing a moment. To have these feelings exist outside of my memory and to hold the love we had for one another in film.

When I think of Osheaga I think of the opening verse of ‘In My life’ by The Beatles. “There are places I’ll remember, all my life, though some have changed…all these places have their moments, with lovers and friends I still can recall…in my life, I’ve loved them all.” For these moments, and these friends, help me keep the demons away. These are the moments I will remember all my life. This day was a good day. Osheaga, you gave me this day.