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.