I love surprises of the pleasant kind! A dear friend texted me to ask if I wanted to go see Simply Red at the State Theatre. She had free tickets given to her by her DJ sister. Her sister lives in London, and had arranged it from there! Now my friend had a very bad car accident a few years ago, and had many injuries, including a broken back. She is in constant pain. My reaction to this lovely offer was the same as hers had been. We both thought of the practicalities of getting in there, and whether we would be able to stay awake until the set finished at 11pm. We worried about our pain levels escalating, and how we would feel the next day. We checked in with each other the day of the concert, and we resolved to go. To hell with the consequences! Now came a comedy of errors. We found parking under a popular city landmark, and I alighted the car with my trusty walking stick. My friend went to retrieve hers, only to find that the only aid she had was a hefty three-legger with a folding seat!
We went to the lift, only to find that we couldn’t go through the shopping centre. We saw security manning the business foyer, and we both burst into peals of laughter upon discovering that the escalators weren’t working and were cordoned off. We had no choice but to walk up the steep stairs alongside. We asked how on earth we could get out, and the security guy said that he would push a button to make the lift go up. Outside, we were completely discombobulated. We are city gals, and know our way around, but our pain-addled, weary minds couldn’t get it together. We punched ‘State Theatre’ into our smart phones. Well, the bloody things took us in the wrong direction, a fact that only dawned on us after a block or so! We put the phones away and relied on our wits. After a stiff drink, we arrived!
By the time we got to the theatre, we were late, and Simply Red were on. We were guided to the VIP area, which happened to be in the lowest section of the grand old theatre (which didn’t have a lift). We laughed some more as we negotiated our way down many steep stairs. I am sure Mick Hucknall looked straight at us as we hobbled along to our seats. Our tricky bladders were up to their usual mischief and we had to find a loo at differing times. I had forgotten just how pure and emotive Mick Hucknall’s voice was, and man, the band were in fine form. We moved in our seats, performing our unique interpretation of dance. We squeezed each others hands, thrilled that we had gotten here and were doing this. It was a celebration of having survived, for her and I. It was an act of defiance of the pain we will have forever. We were sneering in the face of exhaustion and depression. We were simply two women out on the town, listening to the sublime Simply Red.
I noted my friend’s jaw tightening toward the end, and I asked if she was ready to go. She nodded, knowing that I knew all-too-well, and she didn’t need to conceal her discomfort. We quietly left, walking through Pitt St Mall and to the carpark. We once again had to walk up to security, in order to operate the lift. We then had to negotiate our way around the cords and machines that the cleaners were using. We chatted all the way home, mostly about who we had been before our spines were broken, and then about our wonderful kids. We talked of the joy of sleeping for four hours straight, and what a rarity it was. It was a gift of grace, being in the company of a soul sister, one for whom no words are necessary. We laughed at the same time upon seeing more stairs and barriers. We knew when each other had reached our threshold. We grumbled about uneven paths and sticky-out objects blocking our way. Mick Hucknall, if you happened to look in our direction as we were leaving early, I can assure you that we had an extraordinary time in your company. Your music was the perfect accompaniment to a night of revelry for two ladies with damaged spines. We left on a sweet note, to your dulcet voice caressing our ears.