I finished rolling the cigarette by quickly licking the glue on the paper’s edge. Concentration ceased and was replaced by a familiar feeling of smoker’s expectation. I stopped rocking my body for a while, clumsily put the rollie in my mouth and slid both my hands into my pockets looking for a lighter. Yes, I was definitely wired. It took me a while to realise my hands were not finding what they we searching for.
“Jess, I think I’ve lost the fucking lighter again. Damn!” Suddenly, I became a little bit disappointed with myself for not being able to keep my shit together.
“Well, let’s go for a walk to the info tent. They must have some lighters there. At least they should have some information about where we can get one, right?” Her logic was solid. We were ready to leave the dancing crowd immersed in a sea of liquid psychedelic beats for a bit.
As usual, our route wasn’t exactly straight. We had to run to the toilets when we spotted couple of portaloos and realised we were both busting for a piss. Random visuals protruding through the trees also had the potential to sidetrack us. But eventually the amplified urge for a nicotine hit brought back the fact that we were on a mission. The info tent!
When we reached our destination it felt like a small victory. We approached the group of people inside the tent straight away.
“Guys! Do you know where we can get a lighter?” The group of about seven people started to laugh with exception of one young woman in the corner who tried very hard to stand straight. Her body was rocking back and forth, her eyes were closed, an unlit cigarette broken in half hanging from her lips. Her face was giving an impression that she was occupying a slightly different reality than the rest of us. Yet she managed to slowly wobble closer. She put both her hands deep into her pockets in same fashion I did what by then felt like a century ago. In her case, though, with her eyes still closed, she produced about twenty lighters with each hand. She threw the bunch at the table in front of us with a visible shadow of satisfaction on her face. Mission accomplished.
“Hey guys, have a seat with us and a smoke,” said one of the info tent people. We accepted the invitation. And we chatted and ate cakes and we took care of a lost puppy that someone brought in and we were also giving information to random people passing by. And we laughed our asses off.
“Do you work here every day?” I asked one of our new friends. “Haha,” he laughed. “Mate, we are not working here at all. This place is actually closed till six in the morning. I don’t even remember how I ended up here, mate, but it’s pretty cool, don’t you think?”
“Yes, I do,” I nodded with a smile. Then I pointed to the side of the tent where the festival merchandise was on display. “I think I will get that t-shirt hanging over there once this place opens up again. I really like the design and I would love to have some memory.” And so I did. Almost nine years later I still have the t-shirt and wear it often. It has been with me on many trips and many more festivals since. The cool turquoise dragon still shines on the side and on the back it says: Rainbow Serpent 2004. The colours cracked and faded away a little and it shows some signs of wear and tear, but it is still holding up really well. Kind of like a really good memory.