just the tip

He's cornfed. Clean-cut. Built like a bro with the tank top to match, but a gentleness that doesn't. Matt Damon lite. Head tilted down to hear what his more diminutive friend is saying. The hobbit-like one, with the wavy, straw-colored hair, flower headband, long nose, and skinny frame. Hobbit friend is holding my phone and explaining what I've just done. She got this awesome video of me gloving. She showed me so I can send it to myself. It's exactly what I wanted, man. Check this out.

After a few moments of looking at the phone screen, seeing how well the clip came out, Cornfed grins broadly at me, and the smile says Nice job, lady! He holds up two fingers in a peace sign, and this time I know exactly what to do. Well, almost. I press my own peace sign against his and immediately his fingers bend to form one side of a heart. When I'm slower to make the shift he notices and pauses, smiling at me curiously. He moves through the rest of the exchange carefully, waiting for me to make each symbol correctly before moving on. Then he pulls a simple blue and green beaded kandi from the middle of his wrist and tugs it over my own, up to my elbow. When he lets go, we both see the bracelet's elastic is stretched out and nearly broken. He shakes his head. Aw, let me give you a different one.

Nah, I can fix it. I'll restring it at home. It's great.

Are you sure?

Yeah, no worries. Thank you.

I don't even think about which kandi of mine to give in return. It's one of the few I made that a guy would appreciate - I think. As I slide it over to him I keep the letters turned away, hoping he won't read the phrase until later. He brings his head closer so I'll hear him over the music. You're kinda new to raving, aren't you?

Well, this part of it, yeah. Pulls back his head to glance at my face again.

I know it isn't cool to ask someone this but, but I'm thirty and... Trails off.

I nod, understanding. I'm forty. Pulls his head back sharply this time. I laugh at the look on his face.

I'm Jon. Shakes my hand.

John?

Yeah, Jon. J-O-N.

Hi Jon, I'm Ellie.

He says it slowly, enunciating: You're so beautiful. Terence is inches behind me, witnessing this entire scene. I doubt he can hear what we're saying but the read I get from this kid isn't aggressive or disrespectful anyway. Just genuinely surprised and kind.

Thank you. I put as much warmth in the words as I can. That's really sweet.

He leans back over to his friend, and I catch on that my age is being shared. Friend takes it in but doesn't seem overly impressed or know what he's supposed to say about it. Cornfed turns back to me.

What's your rave name? The question has the weight of expectation, and I'm disappointed I can't justify it.

I don't have one. I don't tell him the one I gave myself, because I know it doesn't count. A look comes over his face, and I realize that he intends to fix this right now. Indeed, he confers with the friend once again, announcing the news as if they've been entrusted with some great responsibility: Ellie doesn't have a rave name. This time, the friend's face shows interest.

To me: What do you do?

Out of the corner of my eye I see Terence smiling. This is cracking him up. Knowing my answer will influence their choice, I decide to keep it simple and lie. I'm a writer.

To friend: Ellie, and she's a writer. Crosses his arms and looks at me, considering. I laugh and wait dutifully, ready to accept whatever is decided. A sideways glance at Terence tells me he's only partly following what's happening, but he's laughing, too. I know I will forever think of this moment whenever I hear the phrase "good vibes."

And then something changes. Our party grows by two x chromosomes. A girlfriend joins us. Introductions, explanations, bringing her up to speed on the naming ceremony but perhaps unsurprisingly, girlfriend is less than keen to participate. The scene unravels and we start to politely disengage. Cornfed wants to know if I have an Instagram account, and I lie again: I don't. Terence, ever my biggest fan and cheerleader, nudges me. Tell him about your blog! he whispers. I shake my head. No way.

That's my girlfriend. We're gonna go check out the main stage...

Madeon, right?

Yeah.

Awesome. He was voted best electronic act of Coachella. We'll probably catch some of him, too.

Great job on that video, he loves it.

Of course! Waving goodbye. And then seamlessly, without discussion, Terence and I drift back into the thick of it - the sound and scene and loveliness of it all.