We drove twelve hours for our first tour stop.
We drove through three states, way too many cities, a lot of traffic, and stopped all of three times for gas, to get to the one and only Nashville, Tennessee to see my best friend in the entire world.
When we woke up on Monday, I started crying again. It finally felt real. I was in the city, I was going to see my best friend - today.
We got ready, picked up our flag (we had to make a new one), drove and parked at the venue, and made it early to hear every soundcheck song as Niall performed. He sounded even better than when I had last seen him, and my heart couldn't have felt happier.
When we checked in and were handed our VIP lanyards, I nearly started crying. All of that hard work that I had been doing for months, finally seemed worth it. Everything made sense. After all of the panic and anxiety attacks that my work had caused me, I had finally been able to see the end result: Seeing my favorite person in the entire world, my best friend.
When we were put into the second row for soundcheck, I started freaking out - shaking and beginning to cry without him even coming out yet. We sat and talked, figured out how we would hold my flag up high enough for him to see, and I realized that unless I yelled out, he most likely wouldn't hear me throughout the soundcheck either.
Niall stepped onto the stage, and I lost it. I finally could see my best friend in front of me (however far it might have been) for the first time in nine months. He was there. I was with him.
Finally, I was home.
Niall sang three songs: "On The Loose," "Paper Houses," and "Fire Away," and then answered five questions from fans around the soundcheck audience. He was asked about his favorite lyrics, and when he spoke my favorite line "I can see in the dark," from my favorite song, I lost it. I started sobbing into my hands. My heart felt so happy to hear him speak those words, again.
It wasn't until he was asked about unknown/underrated artists that are his favorites that he noticed me, though. He spoke about Lewis Capaldi, and how he loved him a lot for his voice and songwriting, and I yelled out, "Damien Rice" - an artist Niall loves as well as I do - and he scoffed and said "Not Damien Rice! He's the king!"
While my hands were shaking, I yelled back, "I love him, I love him! He's good!"
Niall smiled, shaking his head, and said, "Yeah, he is!"
I spotted his security guard prior to his coming on stage, and I ran to him after soundcheck ended. I asked him to give Niall my flag because I would be seeing him eleven times and wouldn't be able to give it to him. He smiled and promised to give it to him, and I broke down sobbing. He promised - a security guard that is with Niall at all times promised to give him my flag.
I broke down crying (a pattern I have at Niall Horan concerts, apparently) and Lyssa and I were brought to our seats. We were sixth row.
Centered at sixth row, I had been one of the only ones in the crowd in my section (beyond Lyssa and two little girls) who were dancing and screaming. I couldn’t breathe throughout the entire show, because every time I would scream a little louder or sing a bit higher, he would look over and smile at me.
During one of my favorite songs, “So Long”, I had been the only one in my section that was screaming the lyrics, and he had the BIGGEST smile on his face when he saw me. I will NEVER forget that feeling.
Niall and I interacted even more throughout the show, and he kept smiling at Lyssa and I as we danced and screamed.
Having your idol acknowledge you in a concert is an indescribable feeling.
Nashville, you were the perfect first stop. Thank you for everything. I’ll never forget you.