It’s only 20.44, they will probably go on at 10.30ish but it is already too late, I know it is. My son is playing at my local pub, my youngest will be there with his dad. The audience will be made up of well-wishers and family plus some music lovers who follow this talented band of twenty-somethings that I have known and loved in so many ways for years now. It is too late for me to go because I didn’t arrange to go with the friends I would need to bolster my courage and remind me that I am as able to go as anyone else in the room.
It seems impossible to imagine walking in there on my own. Where would I sit? Who there is my friend? Who there would be glad to see me? It feels a little like the mother of the bride not being able to sit at the top table, conspicuous in her absence. The fear of the reality of being there with no place to go is worse than the loss of not going. And that is a terrible loss.
To put this in context both my ex husband and I are musicians. Our children grew up in a house full of instruments and surrounded by music. We enthused about it, played it and supported them in doing so too. Got gigs for their teenage bands, acted as earplug wearing roadies in darkened youth clubs on a Saturday afternoon. Bought them guitars and amps and vans to carry them in. Cheered them on, commiserated as they flopped and always, always loved it and them and the friends they made music with.
I let my ex husband drive our family and events. It was easier that way. Perhaps I am a coward, perhaps he is a bully, perhaps the truth is both and none of that. Either way it has left me on the back foot with my own children. I need to reclaim my ground but not tonight. Tonight is my son’s and his band, my youngest’s and his dad’s. I will find a way to be glad they have that.