It was the Fourth of July, 2013. My twelve-year-old self was eating a tasteless hot dog; my older, irritating, American cousin kept texting away on her brand new iPhone that she kept bragging about. My sibling had gone to get a beer because she was sick of our complaining. We were in the middle of this huge crowd that was super uninterested and unimpressed with some weird indie rock band that was performing at that moment.
A huge caucasian man that smelled like stinky cheese was in front of me, blocking my view.
My fists were clenched: I was pouncing in anticipation to finally see Nicki Minaj, someone who I heavily idolized (much contributed to my sibling’s dismay). I heard a man scream out her name and the crowd got louder; the smelly man had moved a little. I kept repeating “OH MY GOD!” even though the music had not started: Nicki wasn’t even on stage yet.
A few eternal seconds later, I finally saw her, shining like a goddess decorated in a golden fringed bikini, about the size of a toothpick from where I was.
“Y’all ready?” Nicki asked. I instantly start jumping and screaming like a maniac. I was freaking out, screaming while poorly singing the song, which was unfortunately the clean version. I honestly felt like I was going to explode.
My pathetic cousin just stared at me and rolled her eyes. I kept thinking about how that was the best day of my life, how my first ever concert experience was so awesome.
After performing just two songs, Nicki took a break. The fireworks started. My sibling and cousin came up with the amazing idea of going away from the crowd to watch the fireworks.
We slowly crept our way out of the crowd.
Standing in the middle of the blocked streets while watching the most basic firework show, most people and children stood in awe, chanting “USA! USA!”
People were so amazed and impressed while I just stood there bored. I’d rather be waiting for Nicki right now. I couldn’t really hear any music, but I kept thinking that she could’ve come back any second.
These people were amazed by this mediocre firework show: they would freak out if they ever saw Diwali. While I just waited for show to end, I notice people running excitedly towards us.
My initial thought was, “Idiots, why are they going ahead, there’s obviously a better view over here, weirdos.”
Then, I see panicked expressions on their faces. I noticed some screaming and cursing; some were sobbing. That was when I knew that something was wrong and we needed to get moving.
We immediately start running in panic, almost getting seperated in the crowd. My mind kept thinking of the worst possible scenarios: “What if there was a bomb? Can’t be, otherwise everyone would’ve heard gunshots. But what if the fireworks covered up the sound?”
I kept thinking while I ran for my life. My cousin had left her camera and I had left Nicki. I was just super perplexed and out of breath, while my sibling was probably thinking, “Mom and Dad will kill us if they find out.”
My cousin cried. My evil soul was internally smiling as I looked at my cousin’s ugly, sobbing face: even in that situation, I was loathing her.
We eventually saw cops walking the opposite way; immediately, people bombarded them with questions. We had no idea what was happening but we ran. My cousin and sibling just wanted to get away from the crowd and the danger.
I just wanted to finish watching Nicki.
We made it out of the Ben Franklin Parkway, completely exhausted and unaware of what exactly happened. We were in too much of a shock to say a word to each other; all I wanted to do was sleep. At this point I was sick of my cousin’s whining, I was tempted to slap her but I just let my sibling comfort her. I just went to sleep, too overwhelmed with the night’s events.
The next morning we found an article titled ‘1 Arrest after 4th of July Stampede.’
Till this day, I hold a grudge against the drunk idiot that decided to pull out a fake gun and trigger a stampede: I couldn’t finish watching Nicki.
Till this day, my parents don’t know why we came back early from the concert.
Edited by Dhrubhagat Singh