I returned from the wedding triumphant. That had a lot to do with Spencer, Grizelda, my family and a few more friends like Ron and Robert and Mr X, and the usual list of suspects.
You see, about a year ago my brother decided to get married. Some time after that he decided to get married in a park, the same park where I was attacked by a man some years ago. The park is located in the town where I used to live with Artboy.
I haven't really been back there, not since I came crawling into The Peach.
I wanted to attend the wedding I just didn't want to go back to that town or that park or that region. I didn't even want to think about it. Spencer and Grizelda both received invitations so we stuffed ourselves into Grizelda's tiny red car and drove and drove and drove.
I packed brandy for the journey. Brandy and painkillers for my broken foot. By the time we narrowed in our trajectory we were one sheet to the wind. Arriving at the park, grass by a lagoon really, the first thing I noticed was the exact spot I crawled away in the mud, undercover of darkness, when I made my getaway all those years ago. The second thing I noticed was the white cat fur on my black dress left there surreptitiously by Oscar the kitten. I decided to focus on the dress.
I saw my brother arrive in a car full of men wearing tuxedos. A familiar sight thanks to his years of playing in big bands. And then my parents and then the ceremony and then nothing but acres of goodwill.
Spencer and I were drunk and chatty with relatives and friends alike. My parents kept ageing and beaming then tearing up and doing it all over again. I performed one good deed. There was the bridal waltz, and her parents walking up to join in, and my father with his wife and there over at a table sat my mother by herself. Her partner nowhere to be seen, I think she was photographing something. I stood a little uncertainly because of the wine and my broken foot but I made to over to her table and held out my hand. I lead my mother to the dance floor. She said "I'm not sure how to do this". "It doesn't matter", I replied. And so we waltzed on that roomy floor in between the tuxedo-clad big band and the hundreds of pair of eyes.
Afterwards my aunts and uncles came surreptitiously one by one to tell me what a good thing I had done asking my mother to dance. I did not disagree with them but I looked at them a little beadily. Its been some time since a relative thought highly of me. I thought for a moment of my dead grandfather and wondered.
After my brother took his new wife away in a car Spencer and I stole all the wine we could and started drinking while Grizelda worked at driving the car. The turn off to my old house came up ahead of us. I felt uneasy but shouted at the very last second 'turn here I want to see the house'.
Grizelda found the old house easily and brought her small car to a stop across the road from it. The new people had ripped out the old weeping cherry tree and chopped down the jacaranda. There was a white metal letterbox in place of the crazy old wooden one my father bought from a man who carved things with a chainsaw.
I remembered the last time I was there. Half mad and convinced I was being followed by a cube of sorrow. This time I was not alone. We got out of the car and crossed the road. Spencer and Grizelda held back but I walked on my broken foot, all dressed up and drunk. I walked right up the driveway smoking a cigarette and taking huge swigs from a stolen bottle of wine.
Memories that house seemed like a huge shadow falling over everything I do. I stared at the front door and waited for something to hit me until something did. I don't need this anymore. I ground out my cigarette on the red brick driveway, shrugged at the idea of Artboy and walked on back to the car.
Half way home Spencer said "You did good tonight". And I thought yeah, I did.
We sang and drank and laughed our way back towards the city. The street lights started growing on every corner and maybe a plane roared overhead or if it didn't it could have. People were walking everywhere on the streets and there was life more than darkness and the big solid feeling of coming home.
Thanks for listening.
That's a full lid.