As I’m writing this page my daughter The Seasprite is 3 hours away from meeting her Scottish relatives for the first time. She is going to stay with my new cousin Speedy whom I met when she came down here for a holiday recently. I have been watching the progress of Speedy’s home renovations and got to thinking about change and new things and how action creates reaction and probably because my baby girl is on the way to her I got to thinking about Speedy herself.
ON the day I first met her I didn’t expect her to arrive until a day later, so when she called me at work and said she was going to pop in I was in a state. There I was in my waitress outfit, at work, and with no time to prepare for first contact with the ‘Bagpipe Babe’ – Aaargh! Panic!
I was having a last minute ciggy outside when I saw two women walking up the road. I’d only seen a few pictures and I’m as blind as a bat, but I knew it was her. I dashed inside, washed my hands and quickly swallowed a mint to try and get rid of the smoke haze.
Fortunately my cousin had come visiting with her best buddy The Earth Angel – Thank God! First meetings are always a bit nervy and twitchy, but the Earth Angel being a petite ball of light and love with a gigantor sense of grace and humour ensured that before long we were all chatting away and relaxed! They ended up having lunch at the restaurant and we all ended up howling with laughter as we attempted to cover our entire life histories in a few hours complete with cousin Speedy taking copious notes – forgive her she’s a journalist!
So with a lovely afternoon under our belts and me feeling very relieved that everything had gone smoothly, Speedy innocently asked me as she was leaving, ‘So what are you doing tonight?’
Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Throw me a curve ball why don’t you!
With normal people that would be a normal and reasonable question – in my world it was cause to freak my giblet. I had just packed up my flat to move, so from door to balcony there was nothing but boxes. My diningroom table was in the garage in storage and we were using a large plank over a smaller table as a replacement and it was into this nightmare my new cousin was about to walk. I had also worked a double the night before and had managed 4 hours sleep and was desperate to collapse – my M.O. for the night was simple – eat, bath child, pass out.
I replied that I wasn’t sure (trying desperately to play for time ), but would phone her later. My mind was racing, I had to travel miles on taxi’s to fetch my daughter from school, I had no food in the house that would pass muster when welcoming new relatives, I was exhausted and pathalogically lousy at being a hostess, oh crap, what now?
But before I knew what I was doing I had invited her round for supper. I left work and flew at full tilt into the nearest Woolworths Food store to grab supplies, barreled off home, dumped the parcels and sprinted for a taxi to fetch my daughter. I had just enough time to drag her home and jump in a shower before Speedy got there – and bless her cotton socks, she had brought a bottle of wine. Hallelujah! Gimme a damn straw with that!
After a few more unexpected bumps like my youngest deciding it was a good time to behave badly and battle of wills with the chicken we eventually managed to relax at my plank ‘table’, eat a completely un-fabulous meal, skype my sister Stretch and have a bit of a chat.
Now that I think back it’s damn funny, but believe me at the time I was mortified!
Now the reason for this patricular epilogue, despite evidence to the contrary, was not in fact to share our first meeting, that’s just background. Despite the fact that I hardly know Speedy, somehow she has already managed to change my lifeand drastically so!
I stopped inviting people to our home years ago, not really a conscious decision, It just turned out that way. I work constantly and when I’m off it’s shopping, cleaning, homework etc etc – single mommy existence! My closest friends have all moved away and I hadn’t bothered to make more. When Speedy came around it may have been a hosting nightmare, but it was still fun! Having an adult to laugh with and share a bottle of vino was such a simple thing, but it illustrated to me the importance of socialising. I didn’t realise how lonely my life had become, I was working too hard to notice. All work and no play had made me a dull, dull, girl!
When I met up with Speedy again it was at the Earth Angels house. We were there to celebrate my new nieces birthday (The Doc) and during the course of the evening and after I had whined about the fact that I hadn’t had the courage to make anything of my life, but that I actually dreamed of writing, I suddenly found myself face to face with my cousin.
Oh Bowls of Bubbling Haggis but she’s got fire in her belly!
Before I had a chance to squeeze out another victim whine, she was on me like chewing gum. Speedy is a talented and successful journalist. This woman has travelled and written all over the world, so when faced with a sniveling cousin who hasn’t even gone to Paternoster or picked up a pen to write in 30 years it was open house on my butt. Lordy she gave me a talking to.
She was magnificent!
I actually can’t remember all that she said, we had already imbibed a goodly amount of everything, but I do remember the sense of excitement and challenge that she instilled in me that night. I had made so many excuses when explaining myself to her and as I did I knew it was all nonsense. I knew it was time. She poked and prodded and argued and when she was finished something had clicked over in my heart and my mind.
This blog is being written as my first step to realising my dream of writing full time. It exists partly because of my desire to write, but mostly due to the encouragement of Speedy and friends who joined in the fray that night.
Now if Speedy could just teach me to prepare something other than ‘previously hot, shop – bought’ chicken, my life may just expand some more…….