Surprises can be exhausting. Not to mention the fact I had to obfuscate it in my blog.

I had a van parked outside Tristan’s. It had a brand new barbeque in it, plus loads of marinading meat and some booze. There was no way that could be successfully hidden any other way – particularly considering Tristan’s curiosity. He very nearly stumbled on the propane canister anyway, which would’ve been a dead giveaway. My WhatsApp was pinging off the scale with people Tanya had invited. I tried to add some people she’d forgotten, remembered some, forgot some, got it done as best I could. Sorry if I forgot you. I also had to get the van empty today and return it to Kentish Town. It’s not due back until 8am tomorrow but I don’t fancy my chances of waking up capable of driving tomorrow.

People came. That’s always the worry with a party, isn’t it? Will people come? There was enough food for everyone and only a little bit is left over. It’s 9pm and I’m chilling finally. It feels like we won. Everybody left is sitting around fire pits as the light dies. A good playlist. Spots of laughter. Hoovering up the leftovers.

First there were kids. We are all at that age now. “You were talking about LOVE,” says a six year old girl to me. “Yes we were.” “You were talking about love, and then you HUGGED.” “We did. People hug all the time. People talk about love all the time…” She sits with this information. Then she hugs both of us suddenly, to test the information. Then she parts, but fires a last volley. “You were talking about LOVE for AGES. And I was LISTENING.” She’ll be a reporter one day. If the profession still exists like that…

The kids have gone and it feels like the night shift is beginning. The theatre people have started to arrive. There’s not much food left but there’s a wide selection of drink. I’m very obvious, in the far corner of the garden, writing this into my phone. People come and sit with me from time to time. “Are you alright?” “Blog, mate.” Most of these people have featured at some point so they understand it is a part of my day now. If I don’t do it now it’ll just be 500 loosely connected words and repetition. I’ve done a few too many of those lately. I even fell asleep halfway through one last week. Looking back on it I made some decent sentences even in that. It’s very much time to use some of my downtime to make more considered structures out of words. To tell a story. If this  daily practice has taught me anything it’s that lots of little things over time add up to a big thing. Like friendships. It’s just about being there over time. The time and the repetition does as much work as anything.

Happy birthday you cantankerous beauty. I’m rejoning the throng.



Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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