Standing in the cold alone, surrounded by people. The glow of the fire to my far right illuminating the crowd. Head buried deeply in my hat and chin partially suffocated by a clean cotton hippie scarf which rubs against my unshaven face each time I move my chin.
I fold my arms and shrink into my boots. I want to remain un-noticed. I don’t want them to know I came on my own. Single men at events where children gather are viewed by my mother with suspicion and the last thing I ever want to be is one of those guys my mother views with suspicion.
I am a big guy, in my big coat with my belly and muscle. I am six foot and proud, I expand. Perhaps intimidation will keep me safe? If I look scary enough they will leave me alone and those creeps my mother always points out seem to shrivel into their greasy coats as if they have something to be abashed about.
I actually don’t have anything to be abashed about. Fucking children is really not my thing, the idea of having sex with anyone under the age of forty is pretty unpalatable. What really fascinates me is the children I once knew all have beards and curves and it is a delight to stare and puzzle over how once they were mere babes in arms.
So I continue to expand, like a wrestler ready to strike his opponent. Yes, this is the way to feel safe. Then it happens. BUMP! I crash into the annoying thirteen year old kid who has more H in his ADHD than a kitten rolling in catnip.
Well clearly that hasn’t worked either. Is there no middle ground? No way I can just be comfortable in my own skin. I drop my shoulders again and allow my arms to hang by my sides. Tai Chi straight… I let go of my belly. I don’t know these people and they don’t care if I am Rocky or Horror.
I bend my knees and relax. That’s it now, I am neither here nor there. I am just me in a sea of crowd listening to the old lady’s tale about her gardner. Grumpy mud whuck with a shovel, you know the type.
I watch the kid cry that wants daddy to elevate him to his shoulder to see the display. And then the display. Something happens. I experience the display as it is and not through the paradigm of ‘how do I make this fun for my child’.
He is away.
It’s shit. Really it’s shit. Partial satisfaction with the feeling that I would be fully satisfied had I not missed the bit where I was looking after my son is I have to say considerably better than actually seeing all of it and noticing it’s rubbish.
I recommend taking children to all displays. I recommend engaging with them and believing you missed something amazing. I recommend watching them grow up and smiling when they dance. Above all I recommend not playing small and not playing big. I recommend having the grace to accept yourself as you are.
See you on the other side of the looking glass,
Anurajyati (be in love!)