So it was with a high mind and a heart a beating that I set off for The Stewart Family Gathering. Set in a lovely garden on the outskirts of Canterbury it promised to be a day, for me anyway, of no humping equipment, no driving around, no drinking or drugging because I am supposed to go to Roger’s Orchard Party later on in the wee small hours when this particular party has supposedly fizzled out. Weather forecast not withstanding – the bastards predicted rain from 4pm till 10pm – nothing was going to dampen our enthusiasm for a barbeque and bands and DJ’s style afternoon of japes and jollities.
I was a on a bad one for some reason. Things had been on a poor footing as per usual with C and I was well in a state of some serious emotional withdrawal from her sorry, aggressive ass. I don’t want to talk about it here but after a series of heavy arguments mostly centring on her taking serious umbrage with various aspects of my behaviour or something I have said, will say or should have said we carried on regardless to fulfil the social obligations of, usually, my calendar.
Pete had pulled out the stops and the garden party looked great; two marquees, one with a band and bar, the other with a nice sound system supplied by our mutual chum James. It sounded great. So, it was to pass, that after the ZedHeads played a great set, and some BBQ food was consumed that the heavens opened at 4pm and continued to chuck it down for the next 6 hours till 10pm when it stopped and cleared up and we could emerge from tents and marquees and brolly and sniff the fine, clear air of Kent and proclaim, yes, yes, life is beautiful...
I’d been making plenty of good effort with C and she responded accordingly – funny that – and finally by about midnight I’d started to relax a bit and I sat around the big table by the BBQ with S&P, Rosie, C and BJ and his daughter I began to feel less tense and actually joined in with the banter a little bit and thought how I’d really wasted the day getting into a bit of a depression about C and her world. I don’t know how she can keep it for lengthy periods of time like she does; sometimes weeks on end of morose navel gazing analysis until all the joy has been removed from me and I become this paranoid, delusional husk of a man.
Oh, but then the joyful flipside of her darkness; a joy so bright and illuminated I can bask in the glare and feel like I’m the only man in the world who can energize from this strength. Her attentiveness, her smile, her humour so intelligent and so funny I literally collapse with laughter and happiness into her open arms of welcomeness. Here I bask literally like a seal on the sands in the sun blinking, thinking ‘oh if only all of this life could be so filled with this tenderness and kindness and understanding like it is now, at this moment, then I will live the short 1000 months of my life smiling like a fucking goon’.
It is this moment, this brief elusive, ephemeral, transient moment, and other rare moments like it that I long and live for and seek all my life; to be alive, to feel love; to be truly human.
‘What did you say?’ When I hear that from my beloved C, C of my life; the woman I call my close minion, my blood freezes. I know she is pissed off. I’ve said the wrong thing or done the wrong thing. The situation changes and storm clouds metaphorically brew right over my head and little forks of lightning shoot out onto the top of my head. The Walt Disney birds and creatures of the woods disperse in an instant and her angry face looms over me. I feel small, helpless, like a naughty child caught red handed. It doesn’t matter what I said anyway. She perceives hurt so it exists. I can now know from her response how long things will take to recover. It could be 1 hour (it never is) or it could be 2 weeks (it usually is). In between we have arguments, analysis, storming outs, periods of silence, then tentative reconciliation. Eventually it gets back to where I like it and love returns. Till the next time I hear them immortal words.
S&P were relaxed and being really humorous; R was expelling one of her sagas – I can, and sometimes do, listen to her all night. I do love R. She is a unique and special to me. BJ’s daughter was relaxing too and smiling and contributing to the relaxed vibe. C was, I could see, getting tired; it was after all around 1.30am by now but we were enjoying the non-rain and the superlative company. The party had thinned right out and we could hear Pete and Simon playing deep house music rather loudly in the rig tent. Pete’s dad was on patrol, smile on his face and beer in his hand, enjoying having his family and friends around. Things looked like they had settled down and would continue for a few more hours. I love it when the world is like that.
For me? Time to go. to Roger's Orchard Party? No. To go home to be with my babes of course...