As the lights dim for the 100th time I chance a sideward glance at Dan sitting next to me. He rubs his temples in an exhausted motion, then slumps back in his seat, assumes the blank look, eyes half-shut.
It’s Wakakkirri night, & were an hour in, waiting for our girls performance. I grin, feeling all warm & fuzzy that he came along with Mum & I, even though it’s not at all his thing. (G1 bailed & is spending her night watching teen horror movies with her Aunty). How sweet he is, I think, to come and watch his girls.
My fuzziness is short-lived however as the curtain raises & it’s not our school. Again. I feel his glare piercing my brain & am shown the time on his phone in an over exaggerated fashion. Again. “I know” I mouth. I can’t make it bloody go faster.
My head is instantly taken to my mental filing cabinet which is open at the “crappy things we have had to do for YOU Dan” drawer.
The show goes on, the schools perform, Dan sinks further in his seat.
When G2 & G3 school steps on, they are fantastic! The performance is amazing & they make us so proud! G2 has a speaking role that flows so easily & they get a great wrap from the judges!!
As the show draws to a close, I look around at all the other Dads wearing matching expressions & I wonder why these things are Mums territory? What makes concerts, awards nights, dances, more interesting for females??
It starts early I know. There were plenty of little & big brothers wearing the “seriously, do I have to be here” look.*
I remember When I was 16. I fairly skipped off the bus after school one day with 3 tickets to our high school art gallery in hand!
One for me, one for my best mate & one for Dan. He’d actually said he wanted to come!!
So off to Capella went the 3 of us in his ute to admire my art classes year of work!
Of course I was loving it! Art is my thing! And as we stood before my section I was madly thinking “Does he like it? Does he get it? What does he think?”.
He just looked worried. And slightly confused. I’m sure he was madly thinking “What the hell is that? I think I see the grim reaper. Lots of black & Jesus is that a real cow skull?!?** What does she want me to say?”
I’m sure the pressure was intense. I’m pretty sure he said “Yup, it’s pretty good” and nodded before moving on to something less confronting.
The fact is, he came. Deep down I knew he didn’t want to be there, but I can bury that under the chuffness I felt at his presence.
He even transported my Pièce de résistance home in the back of his commodore ute!
The beginning of a beautiful future.
A reluctantly sober teenage bloke driving home from a confusing night out with a car full of chatty girls & a 6ft grim reaper poking out the Tourneau cover of his pride & joy.
So to all the Dads, brothers and boys. Thanks for coming to our stuff! It really means a lot. Just try and keep the whining to yourselves.
*Not all the men & boys. Just generalizing.
** That skull took a lot of preparation. I had to pull each if it’s teeth out, clean them & put them back in and then scrub the meat off the whole thing and dry it. It took forever and bloody crows flew off with 3 teeth.