The day after the night before

It’s always interesting – the day after a party – piecing together the memories of the night before. The laughter, the stories, the friends, the music, and the many moments that stay with us.

So that party finally happened. A combined 18th for our youngest, a late 18th for our middle daughter, and a slightly-late 50th for me. We hired out a club in a nearby village, and invited friends and co-workers.

We arrived a little early – to be sure of being present as guests arrived. Somehow this resulted in me drinking as much as I might on an entire night out before anybody even arrived. I’ll blame nerves.

I don’t find big group gatherings easy at all. I put on a pretty good act of being charming, cheerful, and engaging – but it’s an act. I was bricking it before everybody arrived.

Of course then people did start to arrive – little by little – and before we knew it, we had taken over the entire venue. Every few minutes brought another arrival – another group – more smiles – more handshakes – more kisses – more hugs. I became a fish in a barrel for an hour – asking after people I had not seen for ages – and yes, being charming, cheerful, and engaging. Keeping up the act.

We hired a DJ to look after music for the evening. A young man that our daughters went to school with. He absolutely knocked it out of the park – filling the dancefloor with ease.

Half way through a conversation at the bar – mid-sentence – somebody grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the dancefloor. A wonderful, wonderful friend. Our arrival among the lights and music seemed to trigger an avalanche of sorts – half of the room followed us.

She leaned in close to me – “you’re doing fine”.

She knows me. She knew. I wished I could have given her a huge hug, but worried that stories would start. I think too much.

The music finally wound down at midnight and we called cars to get us home and filled the back of our car – left in the car-park – with the various presents people had brought. I didn’t expect any presents – and felt hugely guilty accepting them throughout the evening.

After arriving home I drank a considerable amount of water – a life hack I read about years ago – and fell into bed to sleep like a log – “the sleep of the just”, as my later father-in-law termed it.

This morning the radio-alarm-clock burst into life at 7am and brought the weekend into focus – with the sun shining, and birds singing outside. I fell back asleep for a couple of hours before waking with a start as my other half burst into the bedroom looking for clean clothes.

“Where are you off to?”

“We’re going for breakfast at the pub”

“Can I come?”

“If you want.”

An hour later six of us sat down for a cooked breakfast and lots of coffee. We shared laughter, stories, and recollections of the night before. We all had aches and pains, and those of us that ran a simulated marathon on the dancefloor tried to brave it out.

One of the memories that won’t perhaps dull for sime time was a remark one of my friends said as they said goodnight at the party. After giving me a huge hug, they said “thank you for making this happen – this is the first time we have been out since the pandemic”.

I suddenly found myself living the lines from A Christmas Carol – the interaction between Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past:

“He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or four, perhaps. Is that so much that he deserves praise?”

“It isn’t that,” said Scrooge, heated by the remark, and speaking unconsciously like his former, not latter self. “It isn’t that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ‘em up: what then? The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.”

You really can’t buy happiness. You can’t buy time spent with friends. You can’t buy laughter and smiles.

Dickens was right.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to collapse somewhere quietly for a few days to recover.

2 replies on “The day after the night before”

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