A lesson to stay awake – even if you are drunk on not noticing someone else’s drunkenness!
We were in Bruges, a really picturesque little town in Belgium full of canals and bridges, winding cobbled streets, a zillion tourists. We stayed at Le Orangerie, a ‘luxury boutique’ hotel on a canal. One night we had dinner and then, wandering off towards home, got lost. We went down a narrow side street and heard music…Blues! We entered the wine bar the sound was coming from, made our way up narrow winding stairs, and in a tiny loft space full of wine-sippers there was a young man singing. He was dynamite!
Diffident, muscular, powerful in his movements, his rich raunchy voice, making people laugh in Dutch and English. He played mouth harp, several guitars in turn, thumped a thumper on an old suitcase with the motion of his foot. He sang Pick a Bale of Cotton, There is a River, Alabama, Georgia On My Mind. My guy and I gave each other a look, for once in perfect accord, and we stayed, though there were no chairs left and we stood right at the top of the stairs.
Song after song was belted out, and we swayed and jiggled. Himself had drunk most of a carafe of wine at dinner, and now he ordered beer. And more beer. I had sparkling water, and suddenly my man took my glass and carefully placed it atop a low beam that cut across the ancient ceiling just above our heads. The proprietor came up the stairs and saw the glasses, moved them to the top rung of a nearby ladder.
My sweetie pulled me into a dance! Nobody else was dancing at first, we had about two square feet to move in, he jived me and swung me, and of course I was happy – this was exactly what I always longed for! The man was celebrating! Mr Stuck-to-the-Floor was moving! So I danced with happy abandon. The proprietor kept arriving with more beers while we swooshed and swayed and jived.
My friend got really carried away. His face pursed up in his special ecstatic-cool expression, and he kept hissing at me, “Nobody else is dancing! They’re all just sitting there!” That, I thought, was always my line! What had happened to Mr. Patriot-Voted-For-G.W.-Midwest-Stick-in-the-Mud? All my dreams come true all of a sudden??
A very cute middle-aged couple got up and began to dance and an older guy got up and really moved it! Yay!! The place was sweaty and steamy and liquid in the best tradition of good times! This is what a holiday is for! This is what life is for! Time stops when music grooves!
My fellow pulled me up into his arms and wrapped my legs around his waist! He swung me around! Wow! I had waited six years for this! He was cutting loose!
He tossed me up into the air.
Crack! My head! Ouch! On the beam!
Owwwww…! Erk. Somewhat dampened, I nevertheless carried on. Everyone was singing by now and I sang too. The boyfriend kept apologizing. The top of my head hurt!
Back at the hotel I applied Physical Rescue Aurasoma and took a shower. I knew I would have to do Self-Healing. My head still hurt but not too badly. I didn’t think anything serious had happened…but I didn’t like it. No, I didn’t like it at all.
So I lay down and put my hands up there and went inside myself in the dark. Passed through various layers – a small childhood accident where my forehead was hit by a swing – past life images of cudgels – given and received. I was shown that I should wear a hat for a few days (which I do anyway.) Some (a lot) of the impact was taken out by the skillful ministrations of Those – the Helpers. Then I looked for what was my responsibility in the accident.
It was this: Because I was so keen to enjoy my friend celebrating, I was in denial about the fact that it was very sad that he could only let go when drunk! Therefore I too was drunk: on denial, on not seeing what was right under my nose. That it shows a tragic level of fear of life to be unable to celebrate to music unless sozzled! I didn’t want to see it because I wanted that celebration energy! Wanted some celebrating man! So we were both drunk and forgot all about the big beam over our heads.
Days later, my head was fine, I’d forgotten the impact almost completely – but I have not forgotten the lesson. Stay awake – even if you are drunk on not noticing someone else’s drunkenness!
Text by Madhuri, June 2011, Bruges
Illustration also by Madhuri