Chapter One:

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“Be careful tomorrow, don’t have what happened to me happen to you,” read a text from my friend Sylvia the day before the concert. Sylvia was in an accident 5 years prior that was caused by a reckless friend, but I just brushed that comment off. "Of course I'll be fine. It's just a concert." 

Saturday, June 11th 2015 is a date I will never forget. I had woken up early with a text from my friend Adam, expressing his excitement for the night. Adam and I had met working together and knew each other about a year. We got along really well and a lot of things in common. Dillon Francis was one of them, a popular DJ we would be seeing that night at a concert venue in Toronto. It was supposed to be the best day of that summer.

Adam was texting me making sure I would be at his get together pre-concert. I always felt the need to keep up with his friends when they were drinking; they went hard. I chugged a PBR and left my place.

I had just gotten on the bus on my way and a text came in urgency from Adam reading, “Hurry up.” Why did he want me there right away?  “I’ll be an hour,” I replied. His next text was “Uber. Don’t take the bus.” I got off the bus right away and got in an Uber. Adam had a huge influence on me. I always thought something might happen romantically between us because we got along so well. But he had a girlfriend, so I tried to ignore my feelings.

When I arrived at 11 Simpson Avenue, Adam immediately brought me into the backyard where the party was. Excitement was growing as I joined the large backyard filled with his friends. Everyone was drinking, swimming and enjoy the wonderful weather. Adam's girlfriend, Maggie, greeted me then went indoors to change into her bathing suit. 

I thought back to the time Adam had slept over after a night of drinking. Maggie was out of town, so after a long night he made himself comfortable in bed with me at my place. We were wasted, held hands, talked and eventually fell asleep. I was full of butterflies that night, but now months later I was annoyed that I was in that situation and did nothing about it. Nothing else happened, but I never felt right about it and always wondered if Maggie knew. I also always wondered if Adam felt bad about it. Once Maggie returned from changing and we all chatted like none of us had any secrets to hide. After cracking open another beer, I sat alone with my feet in the pool and took in this perfect summer day.

A few hours later we we’re on our way to the concert. Four of us were in a cab; Adam, Maggie, Arlie and I. We were dropped off near the venue and had to walk down a long winding road to get to the concert.

“It’s so far!” complained Adam.

“We’ll be fine,” I said.

The walk was only about three hundred meters, but Adam absolutely refused it and grabbed the attention of a man with a rickshaw. There were only 2 seats; so 2 people would have to hold onto the back. I immediately got a nervous feeling in my gut. I was tipsy, but aware enough to realize that I didn’t like this idea. I argued with Adam for a bit, but nobody else seemed to care and him and Arlie claimed their seat. Maggie and I jumped on the back and held tight. Why couldn’t we just walk?  This detail seemed so insignificant in the moment, but would later turn out to be a huge foreshadow of what was to come.

Once we arrived we met up with some of his other friends, grabbed a beer, and secured our spot near the front of the stage. The venue was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The outdoor stage had a background view of the Toronto skyline at night and a lake right beside it. The concert started soon after and the fun began. I was enjoying the music, summer night and not having a care in the world.

The concert ended and we were sitting on a patch of grass at the entrance near that long road the rickshaw brought us down. Adam and his friends smoked cigarettes and discussed where we could continue drinking. I was so tired. I figured the adrenaline would keep me going. I’ll just follow the crowd to the next spot.

I wish I were smart enough to pick up on the clues that developed on June 11th that would foreshadow what was about to happen next. Maybe they were just coincidences, but not listening to my gut that night was the biggest mistake of my life.