What Mel Did
What Mel Did - Harty denim collar up

On boy bands and gift horses

I went to see a boy band this week. That’s it then, Fargo, I thought, the last bastion of the middle-aged widow: watching a group of high-pitched gyrating young men to ease the pain.

But my week was in a bit of a fug, as this time of year tends to be for me, when I hit on the idea of going to the theatre. The new Gary Barlow musical, ‘The Band,’ featuring the music of ‘Take That,’ had good reviews and there was little else I fancied.

However, the tickets were near sold out and those available were priced at around £50. Two days from pay day, that amount of money is the difference between groceries or roasting the neighbour’s cat on a makeshift spit on the balcony. And I don’t have a balcony. I politely declined.

As I can walk past the theatre on my way home, I did just pop in the next day to see if a golden £8 ticket was by any chance available. Nada. We were getting closer, though. A £39.50 ticket was up for grabs. I explained about the neighbour’s cat whilst the teller looked around for security.

With my week still in the doldrums on Friday, I made another wildcard phone call to the theatre. Success. A ‘restricted view’ seat had been returned at a cost of £8. Would madam like the ticket?

“Yes,” I said, “but how restricted is ‘restricted?'”

“You’ll miss about 40% of the performance stage right.”

“Does a lot happen stage right?”

“Yes, about 40% of the performance.”

“Thank you, I’ll take it,” I said.

Inputting my details, the teller enquired casually whether I knew I had £41 worth of credit on my theatre account.

“Do I?,” I say as casually as someone who doesn’t need to eat cat to survive.

“Should I take payment from that, madam?”

“Yes. No. Wait,” I said.

Grateful for this piece of serendipity, my mind was, however, doing mental gymnastics to get as much mileage as possible out of my good fortune. Maybe there was a better show coming up I could put the money towards? Maybe I should leave the credit on the account “just in case?” Maybe I could pay for the cheap ticket I had bagged and… and, and, and.

Then the epiphany – and why this event, from a week where we had Valentine’s Day, is the ‘thing’ which has made it to my Sunday blog post. My epiphany was:

“You ungrateful, cow.”

Epiphanies don’t have to be pretty.

Because I was pretty certain I was throwing custard in the face of the Universe. I wanted something, I was given the something, and then I was looking for ways to change the something I had wanted into something else. Change it into something better.

I was no stranger to this way of thinking.

All week, I had been looking for a distraction from Valentine’s Day, but it was *everywhere.* Like a holey umbrella which has come off it’s spokes, there was just no getting away from the torrents of lurve beating down on me, with little protection from the onslaught.

Bronnie didn’t always get it right on this day of love, but he loved this day and always tried to do ‘something’ for me. Reading his cards and letters in the week had not been enough. I wanted better. I wanted more.

I wanted love.

But the Universe had not disappointed and had given me what I had asked for:

– a friend specifically going out to find me a back scratcher she knew I wanted;
– a two and a half hour phone call with one of the children about nothing in particular;
– fun and laughter in the week on the family’s social media group;
– the market florist handing me a flower on my way past in the rain;
– closing a deal for my side hustle business;
– the lovely neighbour who takes my post in for me post my own mailbox malfunction;
– an unexpected visit from my youngest son for the weekend;
– surviving yesterday and the yesterday’s before that.

“Madam, are you still there?” the teller asked.

“Yes, sorry. I’ll take the best Upper Circle seat you have near the front, please.”

“That will be £49.50, madam, which is £8.50 over the credit you have available.”

“I’ll take it,” I said.

And ‘A Million Love Songs Later,’  here I am happier and less in a fug than I was this Valentine’s Day week.


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