Last Sunday was a strange kind of day.
I woke up to friends sleeping on the couch and a table scattered with the remnants of cake and tequila. Rachel, whose birthday we had been celebrating, was curled up on the lounge wearing her new skeleton onesie like it was a sleeping bag. I made tea and cleaned. We ate cake for breakfast followed by toast with leftover dip smeared on it. The others trickled home to pack boxes or to work. They promised that’d see me that evening. They were looking forward to it.
I spent the next few hours writing a blog that wasn’t as good as it had sounded in my head (a reoccurring theme lately) while listening to my boyfriend and my friend Noni quietly playing the guitar and the ukulele (respectively). I couldn’t decide how I felt about reaching my third blog birthday. Ambivalent? Slightly deflated? Less excited than I should have been? I was in a weird mood last Sunday.
The mood was probably due, in part, to the nervousness that was lacing my thoughts. I was hosting a comedy night that evening. It was a strange, ridiculous thing and I’d given up trying to predict how it would go. Noni had come all the way from Dubbo to see it. A lot of friends had promised to come. I’d put up posters. What more could I do?
At about midday my friend Matt told me, via Facebook, that he was in Newcastle. I haven’t seen Matt since we were on the Young Endeavour
together. Matt’s advice was one of the biggest things I took with me from that voyage. He was the person who told me to work out what scares me and then do that
. He taught me a lot about being brave.
Every attempt to meet up since has fallen through but this time, with a little last minute planning, we finally had tea. I made tea in my big orange pot and we talked about life and the last two years. I looked at my watch and estimated how long it would take to drive into town. I knew I needed to head out the door, I’d agreed to be at the venue by six, but I didn’t know when I’d see Matt again and kicking him out so soon seemed like an awful shame.
As we finally drove him back to the station, Hunter Street was more or less deserted.
Looking out the windows at the slightly derelict city-centre, my brother and Noni simultaneously said: “That was Beth.”
We parked frantically and boyfriend ran after that distinctive fox-shaped bag, after a person who looked a little too much like Beth. Beth who had flown all the way from Brisbane as a surprise. Gratitude is my worst emotion. I am terrible at gratitude. I tend to just come over all quiet and weird.
I arrived at the venue rattled and 45 minutes late. There was already a queue of punters at the door, a room full of comedians out the back and a frantic venue owner who was worried I wasn’t going to show. The combination of these things meant that I went from reasonably calm to irrationally panicked in about thirty seconds.
The room filled up, people came. I divided my time pacing restlessly between the table where my boyfriend collected people’s money and the small curtained off section out the back that passed for the “green room” (it wasn’t green and it barely passed for a room). The comedians told me a number of things I wish they’d mentioned earlier, like the fact that Sunday was an odd choice and they were surprised by the turn-out. I panicked more, despite myself.
And then it started. And it was good. And people laughed. And everyone, up to and including the comedians themselves, seemed to have a good time. No one left during the interval. Best of all I got to see some great people tell some great jokes and that kind of made the whole thing worth it. I can’t really articulate the evening any better than that, it just was. There are some photos on Facebook.
I paid the comics and the venue owner. I said goodbye to people and thanked them for coming. We drove home and I tried to shake the strange happy/sad feeling that was leaching through everything. I made broccoli pasta and talked to Beth who I wasn’t expecting to see until March.
I went to bed after midnight. I was very, very tired.
PS- The offer of free stuff from last week’s post is still open. I would really like to send you mail. Please and thank you.