Miami Healed My Broken Heart
I sat in the window seat of a Boeing 737. The plane cruised smoothly through the sky, punctuated occasionally by gentle waves of turbulence. People chatted and laughed, but I didn’t want to be in the presence of others. Not because they were likely full of germs and colds and whatever else strangers came with, but because I wanted to protect them from the contamination of my own personal tragedy: heartbreak.
A few days earlier I’d been lost in the fiery depths of a whiskey bottle. Fresh out of a breakup with the person I had thought was the love of my life, I was wallowing in self-pity. Patsy Cline songs looped through my apartment. My friend Craig called, and despite my desperate attempts to over-explain my sadness, our conversation took a quick and welcome twist: “Pack your bags because we’re going to a music festival in Miami this weekend,” he said.
So there I was, just 48 hours later, landing in Miami. This was my first time in the city. I was excited to see my friend Craig, but I felt a hint of nervousness because I had no idea who his friends were. Was it kind of crazy that I packed a bag and agreed to stay in a condo full of people I didn’t know for an entire week? Yes, it probably was, but I was there and it was time to see what this music festival was all about.
Walking off the plane I realized I was on the same flight as a few of the DJs I was traveling to see. Steve Aoki, Justin 3lau, A-Trak… they were all there as if some type of groupie magic glitter dust was sprinkled all over me. I apprehensively walked up to them and pictures ensued. This was the first time since my breakup that I’d felt a tinge of happiness. I didn’t know it at the time, but that moment marked the start of a free-loving and open-minded weekend. I would spend the next six days immersed in fresh friendships, while learning to embrace the loss of a love.
Arriving at the condo was pure exhilaration. I was welcomed with open arms and freshly poured tequila. I immediately felt at home with these beautiful souls. Marissa–a petite Latina with a contagious laugh–and I quickly forged a unique sisterhood type of bond. We regressed back to our 16-year-old selves as we laughed about boys and straightened each others’ hair.
I was welcomed with open arms and freshly poured tequila. I immediately felt at home with these beautiful souls.
I luxuriated in the condo’s pool. A group of tanned foreigners with scrumptious accents entered the scene. I was really starting to love Miami for various reasons, and this scene at the pool was one of them. These guys were in Miami for the same festival. People flocked to Miami to escape their 9-to-5s, and–like me–to escape their prisons of emotional defeat. The universal language of music had a strong power.
We all decided to head to the beach together. Marissa and I were two girls from Wisconsin who had never before met British guys with Italian last names. More than the accents and the tans, they were amazing souls. The guys were from Manchester and, like us, enjoyed beer out of cans and whiskey. I thought back to the last time I had been drinking whiskey, back at home, alone in my apartment, lamenting over the boy with blue eyes who had broken my heart.
The waves pulled me under the water and salt stung my eyes, but I couldn’t stop laughing. We were swimming in the very body of water that would separate us at the end of the week, but no knowledge of this inevitable separation could pull us down.
I ended up swimming in the Atlantic Ocean with Adam, my favorite boy from Manchester, just the two of us. The waves pulled me under the water and salt stung my eyes, but I couldn’t stop laughing. We were swimming in the very body of water that would separate us at the end of the week, but no knowledge of this inevitable separation could pull us down.
Every night of the festival was eccentric and wild. Music festivals have their own culture of peace, love, unity and respect. Marissa held my hand, hugged me and reassured me that the strange red organ inside my chest was safe. It was this offering of love that freed me from the chains of heartbreak. As each DJ performed I let the music pulse through me freely. The electric lights enveloped me into their stream of never ending color. I was swimming again, but this time in a sea of people, all moving and bobbing to the same rhythm. Had my breakup not occurred, I would’ve never experienced this crazy place they call Miami, with these amazing souls who all shared one thing: an affinity for music.
Miami has my heart and my heart has the music.