Melbourne, December 2010
My fifth grader asked me to drop her thirty meters before the ‘kiss & go’ sign. Before leaving the car, she laid her warm little hand on mine, for a second that meant the world to me, and I had to look for my sunnies to cover those little puddles in my eyes.
Thirty minutes earlier, I made her brekky and while waiting for her to be ready, I went online, to see what’s new at my FB music lovers group. Each day, one of the group members would pick a theme and all players then would post three songs related to that theme.
That morning the theme was – ‘songs or artists that your parents loved and played at home’. Minutes later I realized how very emotional this theme turned to be for me, only three months after my dad passed away. I knew a few Georgian songs my dad loved and started humming them. I also knew I’d definitely upload Vakhtang Kikabidze, whom I call the Georgian Leonard Cohen, as one of my three uploads. My dad loved him, was very lucky to see him on stage a few times, not to mention the highlight, when they shared few drinks over proper Georgian dinner.
It was time to go. Once in the car, I felt a need to share my excitement with my fifth grader. I told her about the FB game I’m part of, and about today’s theme. Then I thought of challenging her, ‘If you had to pick three songs or artists that I love, would you be able?’
She gave me that look of – Seriously? Easy! And started naming them. ‘First, Tom Waits of course, since you have all his albums and his Australian tour poster on the wall. And there is Nick Cave, again all albums, you’ve seen him ten times, read his books, watched his films and I told you his sister is my English teacher! Anyway, the third would be Queen, as every time they’re on the radio you sing along and I have to ask you to stop.’
Then it was her turn, ‘And can you name three artists or songs that I love?’ Now it was my time to grin, while naming Katy Perry, Pink and One Direction. She played it cool but I could see she was happy with my answer, as happy as one can be at 8:30am on her way to school. A few seconds later I dropped her before the ‘kiss and go’ sign, so I won’t get any funny ideas because ‘the sign says so’.
The heartwarming feeling stayed with me all the day, on my way on the train, at work. During the day I found myself making another list of three books that my kids love, three dishes, three songs (for the other two kids), etc. As my dad would say – know your beloved ones! On my way back from work, my fifth grader sent me a text, asking if we can go to that frozen yogurt place down the road, when I’m back. It was after another hot December day, so didn’t take me long to reply, ‘great idea, would love to!’
It was getting dark and wasn’t as hot as before. We thought, It’s a good time to walk to that frozen yogurt place. Fifteen minutes later, nearly at the door, we saw a tall slim guy and two happy teenagers with him, walking towards us. I thought, I know him. Something in his body language. I was sure I’d seen him before. I was too slow. He noticed I’m looking at him, struggling to put a face to a name. ‘How you goin’ mate?’ he shook my hand, and only then my brain matched the voice to his face – dude, that’s Nick Cave!
I was trying to play it cool, kept smiling and said something polite when he moved on to shake my fifth grader’s hand. She didn’t have any blackouts, unlike her dad (evolution works!). She just very calmly said ‘Hi, your sister is my English teacher!’ He smiled, probably didn’t see it coming, suddenly being second to his sister. To avoid any awkward moments, we all waved goodbye to each other, saying goodnight. The Caves kept walking down Glen Huntly Road, and we went in for our frozen yogurt. After all, that’s what we came for.
A few minutes later, while picking our toppings carefully, my fifth grader gave me that look again, asking, ‘So this guy we just met, Nick Cave, is he really, really famous?’
O Lord, famous? I don’t believe in the existence of angels, but looking at you I wonder if that’s true.