blurry prairie sunrise, with bright red horizon and brilliant yellow sun peeking through a cloud that looks like a flying goose. The horizon is dark in the foreground.

Karaoke and Grief

Here’s the thing: I don’t remember how it came about but we were at a football game and in one end zone there was a stage. Supposedly for the half time show, because it would be irresponsible to just leave a whole stage in the end zone during play. Irresponsible. It was a lovely summer day, with the sun shining and just enough of a breeze to keep the wasps at bay under the shade awnings.


The stadium was more of a racetrack – for horse or dog racing – with the stands and bleachers concrete risers topped by wooden, steel, and aluminum shades. We had amazing seats near the end zone, which is how I was able to recognise the singer.

Well. That and his voice.

See, I used to live across the street from a karaoke bar, and although I have never been a big drinker, I have always been somewhat of an agent of chaos, and I spent many many hours at that karaoke bar. I didn’t always get up on stage, but I loved the awkwardness and enthusiasm of the people who did. Each and every one of them was amazing. Especially the elder Korean gentleman who loved one particular country song and shouted it with aplomb. Aplomb, I tell you.

It came to pass that a fellow I knew from Uni – I don’t remember whether he was a Drama major or whether he had some other major and also studied drama and was a fantastic actor – became one of the karaoke hosts. You know, one of those people who has an absolutely golden voice and a stage presence that keeps people coming back and fills the room with energy. Anyhow, the hosts all had signature songs they’d perform, and two of his were “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger (I still can’t hear that song without hearing ‘awk’ instead of ‘okay’, because he also had a wicked sense of humour) and “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister. I’m telling you; the man had the voice of legend.

So when I heard the first few lines of “Kyrie”, I turned to His Nibs and said “I knew a guy who…” and then I got a good look at the guy on stage. IT WAS HIM (not His Nibs. His Nibs was beside me; guy on stage was my Karaoke-drama friend from Uni)! I shouted something about knowing the singer, which His Nibs did not believe, as I leapt up and began running down to the field.

Now this wasn’t the sort of stadium where security was considered, and I won’t say it’s because the home team had been underperforming for years despite amazing talent on the field and attendance had been declining so they had to downsize and stop pretending they could draw major-league crowds. But that’s probably what it was, because I had no trouble darting across the track to the side of the stage where quite a few people were gathering to dance and sing along. I don’t know if he saw me or not but I was one of the people jumping around and the only one calling his name.

What did I think would happen? Did I think he’d stop the show and ask how I’ve been for the last 25 years? Did I think he’d invite me up on stage to reminisce? I don’t know, but there I was fangirling nonetheless. I poked the other dancers and, like Mr. Bean, informed them I knew the performer. Also like Mr. Bean, they did not care.

Fast forward a few songs and I’m now standing on the sidelines under the awning with a couple of women I didn’t know. I think we were maybe waiting for something? We made pleasantries – likely commented on the weather – and a new performer emerged. She was a brilliant, gorgeous woman with long dark hair piled loosely on her head and tumbling down in ringlets to frame her face. She wore – for all intents and purposes what looked like – a chiton.

A woodcut of bunch of ancient Greeks (Menelaus, Paris, Odysseus, Nestor, Achilles, Agamemnon)

She began by talking about her Mediterranean heritage and said she was going to sing a very traditional song, at which prompt the heavy downbeat dropped and the strings started up. The song was about the madness of lovers and at one point the performer descended the stage and danced, dipping at the knees with her arms at shoulder height as she walked across the field to where the three of us were standing.

The song had gradually been speeding up. By the time she got to us, the downbeat was thrumming like a racing heart. The singer glanced at us standing on the sidelines and then she ran at us, ploughing in to the lady at the end of the line, who tumbled into the next lady, who fell into me. Although I was laughing uncontrollably, I kept my footing. The First Lady in line ran around to stand on the other side of me, and as I watched the performer gear up for another body smash I clued in that we were what was meant to be a human Newton’s Cradle. This was the best thing I’d ever seen in my life.

The song went on, the singer throwing herself into people in this queue, and them falling into one another, until it was my turn at the head of the line. I was laughing so hard i could hardly stand, and when the singer flung herself at me, I was surprised to keep my footing, but the look of surprise on her face sent me to the ground in paroxysms of hysterical amusement.

I actually woke myself up I was laughing so hard in my sleep.

But then I fell back into slumber and like the Wheel, my next dream was somewhat less amusing. I was at Uni with my childhood best friend, and we were moving into dorm together. Something happened and the whole thing fell apart pretty dramatically, with her moving out while I was at class. I returned to an empty dorm room. In the way of dreams, I had brought a much younger version of The Nipper with me, and he had not yet returned from daycare, so I got to add worry on top of heartbreak and guilt over the event that precipitated my roommate’s leaving. I woke from that dream as dream-me was tapping out a text message to one of my best friends, telling them how terrible I felt.

What a roller coaster.

What have your dreams been like lately?




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4 responses to “Karaoke and Grief”

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Avatar

    Long time no see.

    I don’t dream and remember, which is about the same as not dreaming. So I have no idea.

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      This is what many people tell me; I’ve had extremely vivid dreams as long as I can remember, and have remembered them as long as I can remember. I also lucid dream, so when I’m getting into something I don’t like, I either wake myself up (like when I was Very Sad at the end of last night’s/this morning’s dream) or change it (like the time I turned a dream of a drive-by shooting into a dream of a street dance party).

  2. DerKaptin Avatar

    I dreamed I had to take a test. At a Dairy Queen. On another planet. No I didn’t — I stole that line.

    Agent of Chaos? That’s not too Smart.

    1. cenobyte Avatar


      So. Many. Doors.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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