Past Lives by D I Jolly

“Why are we here so early? ‘80%’ won’t even start until like 11pm at the earliest.”

“Because! This way we don’t have to line up to get in, line up to get drinks or line up to get merch!”

“If the merch is even set up yet. We’re so early it feels like the concert is tomorrow.”

“Oh, calm down, we’re 3 hours early. Worst case we sit here and listen to music in the latest band shirts, instead of sitting at your place listening to music in the old band shirts. Net positive.”

Rebecca let out a sigh, crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, conceding the argument at about the same place she always did. Because it wasn’t the first time, and probably wouldn’t be the last, that Kimberly talked her into something and then defended it using what Rebecca called, ‘manipu-logic’. But she also hated not getting the last word, so after they took another step forward towards security, she couldn’t help but add.

“I mean, we still have to queue to get in.”

When they arrived at the venue, there was about fifteen people in front of them, and after the 2 or so minutes they’d been there, there was now only 2 more people in front of them. It was also the third time they’d seen ‘80% Of A Rat’ play live in 2 years. They had discovered the band just before leaving high school, and it had instantly become a key part of their personalities, and the main reason they were such close friends. No one else they knew really understood ‘80%’ like they did.

For instance, they were the ones who first noticed the matching tattoos the band had gotten, and their blog,, blew up for 3 days when they posted their exposé about it. It was the most hits they’d ever gotten, and in an unforgettable moment, the band even mentioned their blog in an Instagram post. They both screamed, but only Rebecca started to cry. Kimberly managed to remain at least a little bit calmer. Until later that night anyway, when she re-read the post, and cried into her pillow.

In many ways the band had changed their lives, and as much as they loved ‘80%’, they also loved how it had brought them together.

Once they reached the front of the line, and had their tickets scanned and bags inspected, they quickly made their way in to get rid of their coats and check for new merch. Early or not, being inside was always exciting, the feeling that they’d arrived, they had been let in and they were going to see their band.

On stage the first opening act had just finished a song and were having a little chat with the small but attentive crowd, and as they slipped away from the stage to the cloak room Kimberly’s ear tuned into a woman’s voice saying,

“I just really want to thank everyone who came in early, it means a lot to the opening acts…”

And it made her smile, not because she really cared about the opening acts, but because she felt a new sense of validation for being early, saying to herself, ‘thank you for thanking me for coming in early.’

It wasn’t a serious thought but it made her smile and put the slightest little extra bounce in her step.

They checked their coats and headed back to find merch, but were slightly disappointed to see that they already had the shirt that was on sale, and none of the band members were at the booth yet to sign anything. But it did mean they could get a drink and find a good place to camp for when someone from ‘80%’ did show up.

Then Kimberly’s ear tuned into the woman’s voice again, only this time she wasn’t talking to the crowd. She had burst into an epic high note from zero to a million out of nowhere, and it rang through the hall. Kimberly quick stepped to where she could see the stage, and her eyes tripled in size when she saw that the woman wasn’t even holding up the mic. She was just emitting music from her soul like a true Goddess of Rock ‘n Roll made manifest in front of her.

“Hey, what’s going on?”


Kimberly scowled at Rebecca’s interruption, but couldn’t actually bring herself to look away from the stage to inflict it on her.

As the band kicked in behind the woman and the music filled the room, Kimberly felt her soul ring out in resonance with each beat, as if it was the echoes of her very being. Not even ‘80% Of A Rat’ on the best day had so perfectly synced up with her like this, and despite everything she knew about herself, everything she’d dedicated herself too in the last few years, she felt her focus shift, and a new absolute truth was revealed.

This woman, this band, this music… Was her music.

Kimberly continued to stare in awe and wonder letting the music and that voice wash away all doubts, all other sounds, all other senses until she stood in a void of that music, surrounded by the woman’s voice, until the inevitable.

“Thank you everybody, now let’s get some hype for the next opening act, ‘Jacking the Beanstalk!'”

The crowd erupted into cheers, but none as loud or enthusiastic as Kimberly, who clapped and cheered and in a moment of insanity, from Rebecca’s point of view anyway, wooed.

“Since when are you a woo girl?”


Kimberly turned still slightly dazed to face Rebecca and tried to piece together the sounds to make out what she’d said. Then gave up and instead replied.

“Holy shit, who was that? They were fucking awesome!”

But Rebecca had missed the magic. She had heard a good band, but not really felt it, or noticed anything specific, and so just couldn’t understand what Kimberly was suddenly so excited about.

“Who, them? I don’t know, who cares, we’re going to see ‘80%’ soon!”

But Kimberly couldn’t shift her focus, she couldn’t really understand what Rebecca was talking about, all she heard was that, apparently, no one knew the name of her new favourite band, and that needed to be fixed.

Without really acknowledging Rebecca she turned and hurried back to the merch table to start searching t-shirts for a name she didn’t recognise, then realised that someone was actually standing behind the counter.

“Oh hey, sorry to bother you, do you know the name of the band that just played?”

The man smiled and tilted his head at her for a moment then said.

“Yeah, that’s ‘Empress of Titan’, they’re pretty sweet huh?”

“Oh my God, I’ve never heard anything like that, her voice! They’re amazing. Do they have any merch?”

The man’s smile grew and he said,

“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask them when they come out. But this is their first big-ish tour, and it was kind of spontanious sooo.. maybe not. But I’m sure they’d love to hear your praise.”

“Oh my God, that would be so cool.”

The man looked at her for a moment longer as she did another quick look around the merch table to spot anything that might belong to ‘Empress of Titan’, then he said.

“Your name is Kimberly, right?”

Which caught her a little off guard.

“Oh, yeah, how, how do you know that?”

And as surprised as she looked all he could do was laugh and realise a truth of his own.

“I read it on a blog, you know, ‘80% Of A Rat’ is playing tonight.”

“Right, yeah our blog, that was wild. I really loved that band, always great to see them.”

“I bet, anyway, I’ll go tell the ‘Empress’ they’ve got a fan waiting.”

Kimberly beamed at the man as he made his way back to the band area and readied herself to wait until the sun died to meet the woman who had that voice.

Until Rebecca almost tackled her to the ground and seemed to be screaming in such total excitement that no sound was coming out, and Kimberly spontaneously wondered if somewhere glass was shattering and dogs were howling.

“Becca, what’s going on?”

“What’s going on? What’s going on! Is you just had a full-on conversation with Angio! Tell me everything, what did he say?”

The name Angio sparked a life time of memories that seemed to belonged to a different person, but Kimberly remembered it all clearly and she turned to look back at where the man was standing and then to Rebecca and a strange lonely feeling danced along her skin, leaving goosebumps in its wake.

The connection had been broken, she had spontaneously changed and although she knew how, and when, she still wasn’t sure exactly what had happened, but it was clear.

But Rebecca was still her friend, and she still liked the band, and something cool had just happened, even if it wasn’t as cool as it would have been half an hour before, or as cool as what might happen next. So, she smiled a mostly genuine smile and hyped herself up.

“Oh my God, we spoke about merch, and he actually recognised me from our blog! He even knew my name. Which means that ‘80% Of A Rat’ definitely know your name.”

It felt weird and forced, but it was probably true, and she knew that it would mean the world to Rebecca. And it did, and Rebecca bounced and bubbled over with excitement and words as Kimberly smiled and bounced along in time.

All the while making sure to keep an eye out for the arrival of the ‘Empress of Titan’.

Thank you for reading, it would mean a lot to me if you’d share this story on social media, and if you’d like to read more things by me, please check out my books!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *