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A Letter to a Song

When I finished full-time Breakfast Radio I had a crisis of confidence. What would I do now? And how was I going to convince the world that I was more than the part of me they’d heard for 10 years, in that very restrictive medium of commercial radio? That very morning the universe heard me, and answered with an invitation to be part of Women of Letters. I’m a huge fan, so I was thrilled to accept.

In case it’s new to you, Women of Letters is a wonderful afternoon that celebrates the lost art of letter writing. It’s AWESOME! You should go. They’re run all around Australia, and annually in America now too.

We were charged with the task of writing a Letter to a Song.  Here’s my contribution:

It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, and instead I wound up crying in the car park.  Not in a bride-zilla kind of way.  In an Oh My God the Man I Just Married is Uncontrollably Drunk and I Can’t Imagine What People Must Think of Me kind of way. 

I was being comforted by my sister and mother.  He was feeling up my Aunt and telling my ex-boyfriend he’s an arsehole.  He was an arsehole, but it didn’t need saying.

Only a few hours earlier, you had introduced us on the dance floor as husband and wife.  Mr and Mrs.

Mr PhD in Chemical Engineering and Budding Film Maker and Mrs Arts Manager by day and Stand-up Comedian by night.  Mr Market Stall Holder, selling musty second hand clothing sourced from lonely old ladies looking more for conversation than a few extra dollars, he always hungry for stories, happy to give them the time, and Mrs Not Really Sure What Her Story Is Yet.

Mr Raucous Generous Laughter, Brilliant Mind and Warm Tender Touch and Mrs Driven to Achieve, Seeker of Happiness, and Desperate to Love.  Mr Haunted by His Lack of Self Belief and Mrs Constant Underlying Anxiety.  Mr and Mrs Never Let the Music Stop.

And so we chose you for our Bridal Waltz, because we wanted to PARTY!!  We wanted to dance, not like the boring married couple we feared we’d become, but like the young vibrant embodiment of cool we so worked to be.

And dance we did.  We went OFF!!

Well as much as you can go off in a strapless, sequinned, silver, silk satin ball gown with 16 petticoats and a 2 metre train.

We went off thanks to you.

You were a modern day love song.  A total of 28 words made up your lyrics.

We’ve come a long long way together
Through the hard times and the good
I have to celebrate you baby
I have to praise you like I should
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you
I have to praise you like I shou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou-ould

In your simplicity you captured what we believed to be true hard times and true good. 

The good: falling in love, drinking lots of Vodka, eating so many hamburgers Mohammad and the guys at Dizzy Lamb Take Away invited us to their Christmas Party, all nighters and surround sound recoveries, dancing, fucking, getting fat.

The hard: falling into debt, drinking lots of Vodka, going to the Dizzy Lamb Take Away Christmas Party, eviction notices thanks to surround sound recoveries, loan re-financing, fighting, getting fat.

We thought our journey to the altar had been hard.  We had no idea how hard times could get.

The wedding itself had been a great strain, well, mainly the paying for it.  At the start of our planning we sat down to do a budget and were overwhelmed by how much it would all cost.  To make it happen, I suggested I could cut back on my spending, get a second job, even sell my car.  He suggested he could try to get on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.  That’s the kind of work ethic you look for in a husband.

The service was beautiful.  It brought many of us to tears.  I was thinking about my credit card bill and some chick in the front row was coming off an E, but aside from that we were all genuinely moved.

And then at the reception, my husband.  After promising me he wouldn’t, he did.  Devastatingly, humiliatingly, drunk.

14 years later I now know the truth that I could not, would not see.

That the drinking was a problem.  That our partying was a problem.  That our hard times came directly from the good. 

I’ve thought of you often over those years.  You, the launching pad for our life-long dance together. 

Thought of you on the mornings when he didn’t return home.  And on the nights when I wished he hadn’t.  Thought of you when we fought so violently I wondered if it was worth saving. 

At one and the same time, your simple words were instruction, inspiration, reminder, and challenge.  I never wanted to let you down.  Somehow there was always room to celebrate and praise.

And so when the hard times hit us like body blows, through the years of infertility, and finally when we clung to each other, watching our baby girl’s life hang in the balance, we looked at each other, and mercifully, we were not strangers.

Celebrate and Praise.  Through the hard times and the good.  For there was, is good.

The watching box sets, doing the dishes, lying in on Sunday, laughing at nothing, stories at bed time, don’t give up on a marriage kind of good.  The growing and becoming better people together, loving parents, best friends kind of good.  A good that is better than I had ever dreamed it could ever be that one hot December night, on a dance floor in a wedding dress.

I think of the people we were then, and the people we are now, and of how you were prophetic, and we didn’t know it.  And that while there were guests at that wedding whose name I can’t even remember, you have remained relevant every step of our lives together.

You were a pre-cursor to our love of Hard, Banging, House music.  The kind you hear pounding out of a basement club at 3am, dodgy looking black eyed youths in fluffy pants hanging out in the laneway outside. 

If we’d married a year later, you probably would have been replaced by something like Annihilating Hysteria (Psychoticide remix)

I’m so glad that wasn’t the case.  For starters the photos would have been horrendous.  Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Mr Fluoro Glow Stick Man and Mrs Hello Kitty.

But I’ve always felt like fate brought us together, and we have come a long long way, we three.  And while we’re now happy to let the music stop, or at least turn the volume down a touch, your opening piano riff will always see us running to the Dance Floor at whatever Charity Fundraiser or 40th we’re at.

We can’t wait to be the daggy old couple, Mr Bow Legged and Pot Bellied, and Mrs Stiff Hipped Bingo Wings, cutting a rug on the dance floor to you at our daughter’s 21st or maybe even wedding.

It will be one of the happiest days of our lives.

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