“Did you hear the piper?” Bill says excitedly.
I look up from my crossword, incredulous. If you’ve never had someone play bagpipes in your lounge-room, I assure you, you are unlikely to miss it. “I did hear him“, I reply.
The young crew from the pub were in the process of moving the St Patrick’s Day revelries to our kitchen. ‘The piper’ was the last to join them arriving to his own fanfare. The guitar, accordian and guitarlele were getting a right ol’ work-out. The usual repertoire of favourite tunes had already started accompanied by vocal harmonies. This group of late-20 and early-30-something year-olds play and sing together often, and they play and sing well. They also drink lots of beer, talk loudly and passionately, and stay out late. I love having them around but the noise gets too much for me so I retire to my bedroom and enjoy the party from the other side of the wall.
18 months earlier…
Mary and I are riding the train to Sydney to fly to Bali for the Living Your Dharma retreat when she asks, ‘Where do you see yourself in 2 years?’ With a deadpan expression I say, ‘Married with children’. I am 54, childless and have been in same sex-relationships for nearly 30 years. Mary watches my face for a while for a sign that I might be joking. Finally, she says, ‘I guess he’ll already have children.’ ‘I guess so‘ says I.
I’m also a little surprised. I thought I’d given up on that dream, but there it was; unequivocal.
We spend the next week at Narasoma in Ubud, Bali taking retreat participants through the process of distilling and defining their dharma; their life’s purpose. I’m going through my own process. I sit with my revelation and what that might look like.
I find a beautiful dress. It fits me like a glove and looks fabulous. I show Mary and tell her ‘I could get married in that dress’. She says, ‘buy it’. I do. It’s $80.
While celebrating Christmas with my family in Perth I announce that I am getting married in June or July next year. ‘Great‘ they all say. ‘Who to?” ‘I haven’t met him yet’ I reply. Nothing much they could say to that I guess.
6 March 2016…
Over breakfast I tell my friend I’m floundering with my attempts to put my bee-hive frames together. My friend suggests I meet with her friend, Bill, who keeps bees. Bill and I work easily together and he helps me with my frames. He’s single and has 3 adult children and 4 grand-children.
8 October 2016…
Bill and I marry in front of family and friends in Gregson Park, Hamilton under a big old Morton Bay fig. I arrive by BMW scooter in my slinky dress. Bill’s son Michael is best-man. His 2 daughters are there too. I catch Mary’s eye in the front row. All the little kids in attendance climb the tree and photo-bomb the ceremony. Bill and I have the best day ever. We honeymoon for a week in Ubud at the retreat centre.
St Pat’s Day: 2330 pm Loud thumping noise that rattles the whole house as it beats time to the music.
Oh dear, someone’s found the lagerphone. Rehearse apologies to the neighbours in the morning. Kids, eh.
Mary’s first comment when she reads this…’the title could be…be careful what you wish for’.