It's a bit like a ramshackle court. The same people are there every week. There are strangers there every week, too. Sometimes theres a crowd, sometimes there isn't. I greet the familiar faces with a smile, and sit down with a wine to listen. I watch the regulars at first, snapping their fingers to an exceptionally wonderful beat, cheering after the bass solo (the first we'd heard, despite all the weeks we'd been coming), clapping as the players on stage switch out, sharing the lime light, sharing the centre stage. Tit for tat, solos back and forth. They listen intently, toes tapping, watching the players play. They notice the interactions, the musical in jokes, the missed beats. They smile along with the leading man, cheer at the solos, and raise their glasses in appreciation.
The strangers, well, the strangers don't really care. They come for the atmosphere the rest of us create. They come to drink and laugh amongst themselves. Closed little worlds sitting around a table. Sorry, we're sitting here. Find your own table.
Still, I greet the people I know as they come in. Old friends who are here to see me, here to see the players play, here to enjoy the night. We catch up, whispering in hushed tones into each others ears. About the past. About the present. About babies and marriages with one. About busy weeks with another. One friend quietly slips his bands cd at my elbow, and disappears for bit, giving me time to finish my converastion with someone else. I'll find him later to hug him and say thankyou. But I love that its like this. That there are so many to touch base with, to converse with. That so many want to make sure I'm okay.
And oh, nights like these, they bring me comfort. Having my friends around (even if they prefer angry birds to jazz listening) to keep me company. Drinking pretty coloured drinks with names I don't know. Listening to beats that make my toes tap, knowing that even as I listen there is alot more going on than I understand. That a boy with a shaggy hair cut and blue plaid shirt will come and put is arm around me, ask about my week and grin sheepishly when I thank him for his cd. That a boy with a beard will clarify things I don't understand, will mock openly where I am afraid to, and will tell me the truth, even I don't want to hear it. That a boy with no beard will sit and play smart phone games with me. Will help me discover new alchemy combinations. Will keep me company because I asked him to.
I love these nights. Nights that show how valuable the company I keep is. And now I'm all too aware that my Thursday nights can't and won't always be like this. But I'm glad that in the here and now, they so very much are.