A Brief Encounter
On the day she was born her mother died. So her birthday is also a funeral, forever. Our birthdays are entanglements. Each year the date hurtles towards us like a rock falling to earth from the weakening orbit of past . Some years it hits you, brings you to your knees, and others it makes a low and deep thud as it buries into the earth. Occasionaly it crashes through the roof and lands in the garden and splits the laburnum tree in two.
From as young as I can remember I’ve skulked away on this day and by night found a quiet place to howl at the moon. The need for someone who is related to you to speak to you on the day you were born is primal isn’t it. All that family is, is a lifelong collection of memories, locked in a constant rhythm of contextualisation.
It’s important to be sensitive at times like this so you’d think calling The Journalist to inform her that the tickets I had booked for theatre tonight were actually for tomorrow, was not such a good idea. Try and book some others she said chirpily. And so it was that, after sushi, we found ourselves sat in The Haymarket Cinema to watch the play, Noel Cowards Brief Encounters in its original location. I wonder how to palm off seventy pounds worth of tickets for tomorrow night.
“this is actually what i wanted to see in the first place” says the journalist. I try to play down that I initially bought tickets to Avenue Q, a story about out of work muppets as the totality of this theatrical experience washed over and transported me to that cafe in train station in 1940’s northern England and a love affair that should never have been. I’ve been to the real cafe in the train station where most of the play takes place. It was in that same cafe that I read a love poem for a radio documentary about the WH Auden poem Night Mail.
At the end, after encores, we poured into the swirling bubbling west end and dived into a London cab “drive on sir and make it snappy, there’s a good home and some warm buns awaits us in Clapton of the pond”. He gave a withering look in his rear view mirror. I was talking in the old English of the play. “Er... Clapton Pond please” I said.