03 May, 2006

four days. and every moment counts.

Munkey rushes home from work after being held up doing computer nonsense. I make myself as pretty as possible, walk up the street and bundle myself into a tram. It is now that it hits me. Up to this point, the adrenalin rush of making sure I get there in time has sustained me. Now there is nothing but to wait, and think and...

I am fucking shitscared. My knees don't work. I want to be sick and I want to run back home. I am about to finally meet in-the-flesh a person who has already changed my view of the world. More than anything, I want this to go well. More than anything I am terrified that he will be disappointed. That all the affection and growing feelings we've shared from a distance will be rendered awkward and written off as yet another case of stupidly letting feelings get involved in an online encounter.

But there he is. Mr Byron. Leaning casually against a pillar at the front of the Town Hall. Beautiful as his photos suggested and impeccably dressed. He is playing with his phone - sending me a message, in fact. He doesn't look up until I am very close. We see each other... and there it is. Everything that has gone before is right. And everything that is to come will be even better.

We go to the Gin Palace and we talk. Drink. Smile. Later, we cram onto a tram with a bazillion football fans and finally get back to my flat. As soon as we are out of the public eye, we fall into each other's arms and do not let go. We wake up the next morning still entwined, and this could not feel more perfect. I must leave for a family event, bu
t I end up late, because we cannot tear ourselves apart.

I arrive at the 1st birthday of Mr Jett. One year has gone so quickly! Mr Jett, and his cousin Mr Max who will turn 1 in a fortnight, are gorgeous bundles of joy. The proud father Cousin Mark - ever the capable family showman - makes a short and lovely speech, making mention of Grandma Ashton and his gratitude that she had the chance to meet her great-grandsons before she died. We sing. There is cake. Ms Cait beams with joy and pride as she holds Mr Jett on her knee for the Opening Of The Presents. I love my family so much.

I meet The Gang at The Supper Club. Our dear beloved Snazzles is flying away from us. Off to Los Angeles to be with her lovely man. I have been with Byron less than 24 hours. He only lives in Sydney. And only for a month or so. Suddenly I realise with a sense of enormity that I am incapable of even imagining how it feels to be in love with someone on the other side of the world, with no fixed date of return. My poor Snazzles who deserves everything... But it is not an occasion for sadness. We must cherish every drop of time we have together. We laugh and drink and talk. Later, Byron arrives and meets my friends. Again, it is right. He fits.

Later, on the street, I wrap my arms around Snaz and I know I will miss her like crazy. But I also hope more than anything that this trip goes well for her. We part and my friends leave to go home. Byron and I wander through the city, and find ourselves walking slowly, arm in arm by the River. A creepy man comes out of a public toilet looking shifty and I drop Byron's arm. I hate that I do this. I hate that I can't feel safe because I happen to wish to walk arm in arm with a person of my own gender. But it doesn't spoil the lights in the water or the cool crisp air or the stream of words that effortlessly flow between myself and this remarkable man. We walk all the way home.

Sunday morning. We stay in bed very late. We watch DVDs. We listen to music. We hold each other so close we are like one living being. I don't want this to end. And it won't... but it will be ajourned for a little while. This is okay. People endure far worse difficulties to be together. The important thing - like the farewell with Snazzles, like my Grandma's entire life - is to love every moment spent with the people you adore. Byron and I are lucky. So very fucking lucky. I love him. It has been such a short time, but I love him and already I can't keep the feeling inside me.

On Monday morning we wake up in each other's arms for the third day in a row. From the embrace of this astonishing happiness, I must face a very
different reality. I have a funeral to go to. He watches me as I iron my shirt. I drive him to the tram stop and he must drag himself from the car. I watch him grow more and more distant in the rear view mirror.

The funeral is quiet. A woman who lives virtually her entire life for her family, doesn't accumulate many friends, I suppose. But somehow I don't think my Grandma would have minded the small turnout. These were the people she spent all her days loving. It wouldn't mean much to her whether vague acquaintances and associated strangers put in an appearance. ElectroBoy is a mess. His bottom lip juts out above his chin and his forehead is creased. His eyes are red and streaming tears. His emotions don't work like ours. There is nothing that can be said that would even make much sense, let alone help. I fill my pockets with tissues to give to him, and I hold him. He doesn't like to be touched much, but he doesn't move away from me.

I am fine through the whole service. I have sat in this same room three times now. Heard similar words spoken by the same nice grey-haired celebrant, about three completely different people who I loved. That's okay. The funeral is a formality, I now realise. No half-hour event in a hall can do justice to a person. It is silly to expect it to. But it is good for people to be a part of. It helps. The eulogies finish and the music plays. They lift the casket and carry it outside. It is raining quietly. Perfect Hollywood funeral weather. The casket slides into the hearse, and patermunkey and Aunty S follow it out into the rain. I lose my shit. I lean against a wall and sob.

We go back to Aunty S's house and get drunk. At this point in time, Snazzles is on a plane to Los Angeles. Byron is on a bus to Sydney. Grandma Ashton's body is a small pile of ashes in a crematorium office somewhere. Where she herself really is, I have no idea.

Late on Tuesday afternoon, I finally get back to my apartment. I haven't heard from Snazzles. She might be upset somewhere. Or laughing somewhere. Scrunched up against the base of my bed is the shirt Byron was wearing when he came home with me on Saturday night. I pick it up and - without even thinking - do the most tacky soppy-movie thing possible: I put it to my face and inhale its smell. My legs give way and I fall onto my bed.



Anonymous Snazzles said...

Beautiful, Munkey, just beautiful. I'm in a fifth grade classroom in Los Angeles, the first bell just went, and I'm crying on to my bright yellow visitor's sticker. I love you.

May 04, 2006 1:14 am  
Blogger Goo said...

that was beautiful monkey.

May 18, 2006 12:36 pm  

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