Dear Wade

I’d heard a lot about you before we met. You were Katrina’s ex and everyone had talked you up as serious eye candy. I’d been told I would be impressed, but I was determined not to be. Instead, I’d hooked my thumb in your direction, curled my nose up and sighed, “So this is Wade huh? Gotta say he doesn’t live up to the hype.” Katrina laughed and later told me she’d never seen you stuck for words before.

Despite this, somehow we ended up the best of friends. It started with a game of pool at the pub, then in the blink of an eye we were out on the town at least once a week, often more – it didn’t matter if it was a night out at The Charles, multiple games of pool, or even as your plus one at family events, so long as we were there together. We were drinking partners, you and I  – you did the drinking, while I took care of the driving.

My old gunmetal grey Escort became your snooze mobile. Whether you’d had one beer or many, you’d always fall asleep on the way home, leaving me to pour you into bed. If you were staying at your Dad’s it was my job to try and keep you quiet so you didn’t wake the household. I’m not sure I always succeeded — you were a chatterbox and naturally loud even when I gave you my best librarian shhhhhhhh!

The task was harder if you were staying at your mum’s, I had to navigate the stairs.  With me being 5ft nothing, a fireman’s lift was out of the question and on more than one occasion I dragged you by the armpits up those stairs.  Even on the nights when you climbed the stairs yourself, you’d want to sit and chat every few steps making a simple staircase journey last an hour or more. But no matter where you were staying I always got you to bed, took your boots off and gave you a kiss on the cheek before leaving and locking the door behind me.

Our relationship confused many people, we were so close that those who saw us together assumed we were dating, but we never had a physical relationship. Perhaps our friendship was too important, perhaps the timing was never right. But whatever our relationship was, we brought out the best in one another. I managed to talk you out of many crazy schemes, while you taught me to be fearless.

1993

After I moved, our lives travelled in different directions. When you called and asked me to visit you in remand, I had no hesitations. You, however,  attached a condition to my visits, if I was asked to be subjected to a strip search I was to refuse. You weren’t that important. My reply that of course I would go through with a strip search, if only to hold it over your head for the rest of your life, was met with raucous laughter. All my visits went smoothly, and I never did get those bragging rights, instead, I shared my writing dreams with you, and your challenges sent my writing in unexpected directions.

We’d been out of touch for a few years when Jarryn’s karate lessons moved to a club. Instead of watching him, I had my nose in a book when I felt eyes upon me. I looked up to see you grinning broadly at me. At the time you were working behind the bar, so from then on, instead of reading a book while Jarryn did his high kicks, I’d nurse a coke and we’d chat between customers. You were a father now and each week you’d proudly show me photos.

I never saw you again after Jarryn gave up karate, but I often thought of you through the years – I’ve never been able to listen to “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” without thinking of the night we belted out our screeching rendition at karaoke. I was sad when it was mentioned recently in passing that you had died a few years ago, and my heart broke when I learnt the circumstances surrounding your death.

Perhaps, for me, it was for best that I hadn’t paid attention to the news because I get to remember you as my friend and not as a headline. I get to remember your hair blowing in the breeze as you held your head out of my Escort window, your cheeky grin when you’d been up to something mischievous (handcuff keys delivered a week too late springs to mind!!), the many times you held my hand as we danced (or head banged in-sync) at The Charles, and so much laughter.

I’ll always think of you as my ‘drinking’ partner.

 

Love always,

Sandi

Jarryn’s Thoughts on The Simpsons

Many moons ago when Jarryn was eight we were watching The Simpsons, Homer was, as usual, doing something incredibly stupid while Bart was up to no good.

“Homer is just like my Dad,” Jarryn said.
“Well then,” I said, “If your Dad reminds you of Homer, who reminds you of you?”
“Bart.”

Jarryn in his "Yeah ... Nothing Rhymes with Bart" shirt
Jarryn in his “Yeah … Nothing Rhymes with Bart” shirt

I was, of course, expecting that answer, and it followed that I would be compared next to Marge. Minus the blue hair, I would probably fit neatly with that comparison.
I asked the question anyway.

“So if Dad’s Homer and you are Bart, who do I remind you of?”
“Lisa.”
The answer came promptly and without any hesitation.

That threw me off guard.
Lisa? Not Marge? I couldn’t help myself; I had to ask.
“Why? Why Lisa?”

“Well Mum, because your smart and you know lots of stuff, but you’re always grumpy.”

Righto sorry I asked.

Important Facts You Should Know. Light Bulbs

I don’t change light bulbs. Admittedly I have seen other people change a light bulb or two, and I know that it’s a safe activity to partake in. However, it’s not something I do.

I’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid light bulb changing and I have some pretty impressive avoidance tactics. On more than one occasion a friend has arrived to visit only to find the scene strategically set in preparation for light bulb changing. I’ve gotten by for days at a time with a lamp and a very long extension cord.

But one night a crisis befell me. My trusty lamp inconveniently stopped shedding light late at night.

I considered waking my ten-year-old son. But sleeping children should be left sleeping. I could wait until morning to obtain assistance from a neighbour … but that second option, while more polite, wouldn’t help me right then. And right then, I needed my lamp to do what it is that lamps do.

It was a dilemma of epic proportions.

I sent a text to my neighbour, two doors down, enquiring if they were still awake. When the reply came back in the affirmative, I unplugged my lamp, collected a fresh light bulb and trotted off down the road.

It should be noted at this point that I was not talking about a small bedside lamp that I could tuck under my arm. It was a large room lamp. I’m rather short in stature, and the lamp was in fact, a good 10 centimetres taller than I was. Regardless I had a light bulb problem, so I traipsed along hefting my lamp alongside me.

“I have a situation,” I explained when my neighbours answered their door. Given they were already aware of my non-light bulb changing status, and that both myself and my large lamp were on their front porch, no further explanation was necessary, other than why I had not chosen to ask one of them to come over to change the bulb. You too might well ask this question.

I’ve always been independent, mainly because my mother refused to be a helicopter parent. If I need help, I’ve always found it prudent to make things as easy as possible for people I require assistance from. Hence the carting of a large room lamp down the road in the middle of the night.

I would like to point out that, my non-light bulb changing status, has nothing to do with the fact that I can’t change light bulbs. I can change light bulbs. One time I was forced into a situation where I had to change the brake light in my car.

This accomplishment was followed by multiple phone calls as I informed those in my life that I can change light bulbs, I just choose not to.

Because I think that’s an important distinction to make.