Then, in a most respectful and mournful voice they started singing. It was a song based on a true event from the Easter Uprising of 1916 which marries the personal to the political, the blood of resistance to the marrow of love.
While I loved music and sat in class day-dreaming that the girl sitting in front of me in class was the girl Marc Bolan swooned over in Hot Love, I hated school, a situation reflected in my term reports.
Over fifteen years, brick by determined brick, we built a life out of thin air and intentions. When I first met you, my mother could not tell her friends her eldest daughter was a lesbian. Talking to her friends, she would shorten my girlfriends’ names to androgynous mysteries. Jo. Nic. Lou.
I’m standing at the end of a long queue talking to a complete stranger. We both agree we never do this sort of thing. Myself, I’ve generally abided that warning about meeting your heroes.
The afternoon sun came through the west facing window as I tinkered on some project and the radio was glued to Radio National. The radio has served me well after being rescued from a dumpster.
I was on the verge of adolescence without sports or hobbies to keep me busy. All I had was my old anxious self and this new secret love.
All I could think of , as she stood just a metre or two away, unflustered by betting deadlines, was her voice, her laugh, her brown eyes, her cascading hair, her full figure. And the inexperience of my heart (plus anoher vital organ).
“My big sister learnt this song!” “My cousin can play this!” The excitement in the room was palpable. The look on the faces of the Grade One/Two students was a sight to behold. This is what bliss looks like.
It’s not a mistake to transpose your own experiences onto a song (or a poem or a novel or a painting…). It’s inevitable. It’s part of art. But it can be a trap if you’re not careful.
A group of young men in the corner sing along, happy drunk. It is their song. I drink my beer, my heart beats fast. The harmonica plays, the guitar keeps time, keeps strumming, then the chorus starts up again. When I close my eyes, I can hear Soren sing along too