Outside Avening Hall, last Saturday, it was so cold and dark we could see our breath against the stars.
We stood for a moment and took it in.
We didn't worry about anyone's hats or mittens.
We felt young and indulgent.
Inside we found 200 other revellers, creaky pine floors, and a warm yellow light coming from an alcove at the front of the room.
Everything was there to welcome Hayden back to the stage.
Before I met JB, I was traveling the Top 40 highway on cruise control.
That's not to say I didn't appreciate other kinds of music.
There were the eclectic songs of my childhood; a hard core Depeche Mode phase in high school; and a lot of Indigo Girls, Skydiggers and CCR, thanks to my university roommates.
But with mixed tapes on long car trips, JB led me down roads I would have driven past.
The first Hayden song he played for me was Trees Lounge. I was drawn to the singer's voice, but it wasn't until I heard Between Us To Hold that I became a fan of the musician.
Hayden's lyrics are simple and relevant. His songs from the mid-90s told a piece of our story. They coloured the back drop of our lives at that time.
We listened while we studied; while we drove; while we sat cross-legged on the floor.
We both knew all the words to every song.
I won't listen to a new album if I have tickets to the show. I prefer to hear the songs for the first time in a live setting. They resonate more when I can see how they move the musician who sings them.
This was our third Hayden concert. We had seen him in our first year together, and then again when I was pregnant with our first child. He left the scene for awhile, but then so did we—life and kids, after all. It's only recently we've started to find our way back.
When this song happened, I knew why we were all there.
The year was 1994.
They were cross-legged on the floor...
Oh those were the days.
When I recorded and I sang,
of the things I knew about back then...
At a time in our lives when
Music was everything.
It was everything.
~Almost Everything by Hayden ~
Us Alone will be one of my favourite albums—a new back drop to remind us who we were and how much we are still.
When Hayden played our song for his second encore, I felt the words more keenly than I ever had. I looked for the boy, who held his hand over mine on the strings of his guitar so many years ago, and found him right beside me.
And I knew this night would stay with us always—between us to hold.