My father and I are head over heals in love with Esperanza. He was first but my second was like some beautiful virus, I caught the Esperanza influenza.
We consider her a goddess of sorts. With her frothy Afro, slender figure, snappy clothing, and ability to make music that causes your soul to bounce.
As soon as Esperanza’s tickets could be purchased at the Tennessee Theatre box office I was the first or one of the first to claim two of those precious (interjection: “precious” is my favorite Esperanza Spalding song.) tickets for the two of us. No back row balcony tickets would make us content. We wanted to be so close we could feel her breath sweep across our awestruck faces.
Waiting for that concert made me feel like a child waiting for Christmas. It dragged on sllllloooooooowwwwwllly. Tauntingly so.
But finally the day arrived. I’ll admit, picking out my outfit for that night was a challenge. I wanted to be sharp. After tossing seven different outfits on the hardwood floor of my room I went the all-black route. “Very New York,” I thought.
My father pulled up to the curb, I hopped in, and we were off.
We walked to our seats, third row center, and sat down. Me next to my dad and my dad next to a quiet lady. Being polite my father asked her if she had “ever seen Esperanza in concert before?” He might as well walked into the bathroom and asked the same question to the door of a stall and probably would have gotten a more satisfying reaction. Not even a flinch. Pure unadulterated focus. Turning back to me we exchanged a look of shared wonder then returned to our excitement.
The first note strikes and out glides Esperanza. Flawless, exquisite Esperanza. The lady next to my father lit up like a bonfire. And I mean LIT UP! She wasn’t speaking to my father out of protectiveness for her idol. She was keeping Esperanza all to herself. I don’t blame her.
The entire production was perfection. It filled me up. Folded me up like a paper airplane and launched me. I couldn’t help but smile the entire time. I wasn’t surprised at all to find out that Esperanza was a true performer on stage, introducing each song as if she was a character in a play, her play.
My father and I were in the presence of a person who is completely her self. The truest, purest, and most unrestrained form of herself in full bloom. A flow and constant whoosh of creativity. It was magic. It was heaven.
You know that little exaggeration, “I was so inspired I couldn’t fall asleep.” No exaggeration here. I must have laid on my back staring at the scattered florescent glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling for at least an hour and a half. Blog posts, sewing projects, books, painting, drawings…I was overflowing with ideas.
I got the Esperanza influenza and I hope I never recover.