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Saturday, 2 January 2016

Teenage Kicks/ Demons are Angels.

"So Ok…. Okay"  and I succumb to the Boss's mighty campaign to have a Sixteenth birthday party in  the house. "So you can….but…. on  con-ditions.   Number One!  no alcohol in the house… what-so- ever.  And…  Two!  it kicks of at eight thirty pm and they scarper at half past the hour of Midnight!! Being as….  Number One, they are all  underage, and…. Number  Two,  thats four hours of partying.  Thats an Eternity."  She nods…enthusiastically. She's won the war.


She comes back on the alcohol ban.
"So...I mean could we like you know negotiate on  that."
 "No!"
'Oh.  But… so... are we going to like turn them away if they have had a drink before they come?"
"Huh?"
 "Cause they might" she continues tragically, " and then what….?"
 I  feel the good solid earth shifting sand like under my feet, a  familiar experience these days.
 "Yeah.  Well.  Thats um like nothing to do with us is it???   Can't be breathalysing them on arrival, can we?  So... um...JUST NOT IN THE HOUSE".
 "OK" she breathed. Then  "so also can't they come at Eight till One?  I mean you know at Neasa's  party no one had to actually like leave till Two!"
 "No!… well…okay  they can come at Eight. But at  12.30, its ovah!!!.  Ovah!!That's it!!. Jesus!!!"
 I am, dear reader, a veteran of teenage house parties now. The only sure thing about them is that they stretch on for an eternity as you keep guard, staggering under the heavy load of responsibility for liver and limb of your youthful guests. With a smile tattooed on your face while you do it.

Saturday comes. We clear away the valuables, stock up on the eats and wait. I am supported by the Beautiful Girl and two of her dear friends, who are staying over. The door bell goes shortly after Seven pm.  A jittery boss orders myself to my bedroom and the Beautiful One to hers as negotiated. And so it begins. My self,  Beautiful and her  acolytes patrol, carry out spot checks every half hour or so. In the interim I listen from my room.  The Beautiful One laughs riotously with her mates from hers  (reassuring that).  The party rabble down stairs sing along in a shouty joyous chorus to some R n B/Rap  song I've never heard before. Barbarous, ecstatic, blasting the roof wide to the wild wind outside, drawing in Demons.

"I'm glad" I think "I'm on top of this and I'm  glad I let her have a party.  A swell party this. Is"

The night slips away, the sounds getting sloppier, looser. I listen to some girl guests on the stairs,  on the landing, giggling, shrieking about some dodgy stuff and I  go on patrol, dispersing the ring of thinly clad girls and their  boy audience back down to the party.
 "What  oh what in the name of the Crucified Chhhrist is that!!!" I hiss at Beauty, sticking my head into her room,  redolent of cigarette smoke, conviviality,  secrets.  She, the dear friends and myself listen in wonder to a piercing wail on the ground floor, a BIG voice  "NO! I'm going hoooome!. You did!….you did!.. I saw you!…I hate you!…you did!…
 "Leave it to us"  Beauty says masterfully.

She goes down with her acolytes and the shouting girl's noise grows fainter until finally the voice is  lost in the general din of laughing, singing.  Disinhibition.

"So it's all good" she comes back to me. "She's gone home. With her friend.  Her friend you know was trying to get with the boy she liked? So we talked to her? So she's like still mad. But she left"
 "Um left? Alone?"
 "No, no, no. With her friend?"
 "Um,  the friend who was trying to get with the boy she liked?"
 "Yeah, well she came with her? So she had to leave with her"
 "Oh. Well… so um  did she stop crying."(thinking of  neighbors, twitching curtains, that sort of thing)
 "God no. But hey, she's gone…. the friend's getting a lashing though."
 "Oh. Right. God. So what about the boy she liked?. Did he succumb to the friend or something?"
"No. Wouldn't dare, I'd say"
 "Oh. God. Doesn't look good though does it? Crying girls spilling out of ours at this hour. God. So.. is it twelve thirty yet would you say?"
It isn't.  Eleven pm. Only.

In the end the end comes of course. I go down  to the deeps to wind it down.
Can't see the boss at all now. I push my way through the crowded kitchen, glimpsing crushed beer cans, empty bottles (Wicked!) in the bin on the way, and into the busy hallway.
Two girls bang on the utility room door and I realize that this banging noise, a chant of "let us innnn" that have been going on intermittently  all evening.
 "Open!" I roar.  The door unlocks and I look in at a group of guilty giggling boys. They slip past me, melting away.
 "Oh yeah"   Beauty says later, in the party post mortem, "They were going in there, wouldn't let the girls  in…we eh found a little bag in there..empty...that contained something  I'd say...Didn't want to worry you about that"
 "What!! ... you didn't want to...you mean like Tablets, Drugs, Crstal Meths!!!!What?….."
 "No, no, no. Maybe weed or something?…maybe only just like  tobacco? and yeah I figured they were like you know getting a bit… drunk.  I mean at that age they can't take their drink…. but like nothing to worry about…"

The Boss, it turned out was out, was out  in the driveway with a crying friend, two crying friends actually, the second one crying in sympathy with the first.  The boss was trying to console.
  "Yeah…" the Beautous remarked again later on, "Like I say, can't take their drink at that age".
 I look into the living room where a group of louche looking teens lounge,  embedded now on the sofa, Quite at home. I  order them out, having already called time.
 I call in the Boss and the weeping girls, trailed by four more of 'em, members of  her inner circle. She is frazzled, telling of some tragic thing that happened to her tragic friend.  We sit to mull over that and console.

Comforted by Group Kind Words the girls discard slapper party gear for the standard uniform of  hoodies and tracksuit bottoms, and head off to the village chipper for curried chips, burgers and the like,    restored and starving now. I decide to run a mop over floors made sticky by spills and heavy rainy mud from the garden,  ruminating as I slosh and wipe.    "NEVER AGAIN"  I vow stoutly " (Hah!)  Still…. no harm done….not, at least, as far as I know…and also, I mean, like they enjoyed it" pouring the filthy bleach infused water down the sink.

And so all that leaves before Christmas is the Christmas Parish Concert.
 "While shepherds watch their flock by night"  the Boss and her year,  same crew, sing in poignant child-pure  harmony.
  "the Angel of the lord came down and Glory shone around".
piercing, buoyant , raising the roof of the church till they pull in Angels.
 I cry like an infant. Damned and bloody emotional incontinence I tell myself. And also...   not children! you fool. Already gone, slipping slithery through your fingers, long gone with the wind. And here you are late for the last kiss goodbye, left holding the rejected warm coat,  mouthing strictures to an empty room, a mad woman jettisoned in time….
"Wait !" you want to shout  "only wait…there are things I haven't told you…yet...  warned you of, lists... of things I wanted to…was going to show you, before you…I was going to ... only wait.
You're already and always too late, Dear heart.

always and ever (too) late