My friends assured me they would return in one piece and left me at the arcade to go on rides. Poising my half-eaten funnelcake on the “whack-a-mole” counter and bumping off six moles in less than 90 seconds impressed the booth attendant enough to award the lowest ranking prize.
“Poster of your choice, Miss.” It was a high point in the uneventful, soon to end summer.
Back at college for sophomore year the strategic planting of my county fair souvenir on the wall opposite the door made conversations quite easy. Tina was everything I wasn´t: Accomplished, brave, gorgeous, confident.
“You know she´s playing at the civic center just before Thanksgiving break.” My roommate stated, looking up from her pre-calculus textbook one morning.
“Tina Turner?” I gasped then grabbed my purse.
“Where are you going?” She called as I fled out the door. “It’s getting ready to pour again!”
The purchase of two tickets would not prevent the Great Flood of 1985 from closing down Hollins College and sending everyone home until after Thanksgiving. My only choice was to drive down eight hours to see Private Dancer and back to New York again before Thursday dinner. The second ticket would go to waste, or so it seemed, but for the sudden inspiration to volunteer in cleanup at the campus library the morning of the concert.
After misplacing a pen and walking towards the head librarian’s desk to request another one Eddie, a psychology grad student, stopped me. Pointing at my head he asked, “Are you using that?” My face grew hot. “I need it to take book loss inventory.” He paused, waiting for my answer, his finger still pointing. Noticing my confused look he pushed his finger insistently towards my head, “The pen? In your bun.”
We arrived at the Roanoke Civic Center an hour before showtime. Spectators came dressed as Tina Turner; modeling their blond electric shock hair, short black skirts and high heels during the pre-show bustle. One girl was so authentic we all cheered when she came in. She raised both her hands, shook them in the air and walked a sexy Tina walk all the way to her seat.
The opening act was a new popular band called Mr. Mister with “Take These Broken Wings.” This might have been exciting under other circumstances but the prospect of seeing Tina made the warm-up group seem more of an annoying delay. I glanced sideways at Eddie swaying back and forth to the music with his eyes closed. “Who´s he thinking about?” I chuckled. After a few more songs the band finished.
The crowd was now impatient. We began chanting, pumping both fists in the air to the beat of our chant. “Tee-nah, Tee-nah!” Finally the loud upbeat music began, the stage lights came on and when she appeared the energy soared. A scream escaped my throat and I rushed uncontrollably to the stage.