Friday, 1 March 2013

A crab named Sebastian




I was having a bad night last night.  The kind of bad night that makes you walk.  It was late when I wandered along Queen Street toward the docks.  I passed four bible bashers, two had microphones, and one of those was a music theatrey headset.  Pretty flash.

The street was predictably pissy for a Friday night, but also kind of relaxed.  I made it to the docks and ambled along the waterfront, past snazzy couples on dates until I found a bench all to myself.  The sound of Friday night jarred against the water, gulls, creaking boats and groaning ropes.  I sat and sulked and wondered why I was so far from home.  I was in real danger of writing poetry, shit poetry, so I reached into my bag for my sodoku book instead.  I stared at the blocks and numbers and chewed my biro.  In the corner of the page I drew a picture of a worm, he was trying to light his fart with the sun.  It wasn’t very good.  

Putting the book back in my bag I noticed the card I had stashed in there, bright yellow and orange and completely hand made.  On the front was a detailed pen drawing of a crab, with the ‘gonopod’, ‘carpus’ and other bits of anatomy labelled in red texta.

Inside the card sat ten cut out shells and a pop-up crab, with moving claws and eyes.  The note, written by a lovely girl, told me the pop-up crab was named Sebastian.  She thanked me for my show, and wished me luck for the rest of the season.  The card was signed with a smiley face and the author’s name.

I didn’t cry.  I wasn’t even close.  But I felt warm and shaky, still lonely, but the isolation and shame you wear following failure was lifting like morning mist meeting the sun.

I walked back up Queen Street, past the amplified creeps towards the theatre.  There was a small crowd at the edge of Aotea square watching some Latin drummers.  I stopped for maybe five minutes and listened.  I stood in this little crowd, a random gaggle of strangers, laughing and clapping, and I felt myself filling up.

I stopped back in at the theatre, the crash site, and found myself with good company and cold beer.  I was having a good night.


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