The scene was set.
Oysters and prawns on a platter, and a bottle of wine, coming to room temperature in our favourite decanter and trendy beers in our fridge.
Husband had showered, shaved and was smiling, ear to ear.
The pets had been put to bed and the heat pump was cranked to 27 degrees.
When I walked upstairs to our living room, I noticed the vacuuming was done, the lights were dimmed and the sounds of the Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Sessions swayed gently through the room.
Tonight he would be lucky. His passion and patience would be rewarded.
A six-game losing streak at the start of the season had been redeemed with 17 consecutive wins … home and away; they were marching.
My husband’s team was going to seal a finals deal by thrashing Geelong. It was primal and personal.
Then they tripped and fell; every single member of the team struck down with a mental corky that tore away their winning veneer.
Perhaps it was an omen?
Perhaps, I thought, he shouldn’t have put his Sydney Swan mascot on the top stair … not just yet.
After all, my disgusting Carlton concrete garden gnome accepted his bottom stair position when the season was still warm. I coped by switching teams and following my number two Tigers, and three, Magpies, towards their merry finale.
Now, Sydney’s season was dead.
Even as I composed the above sentence, I wondered if ‘season was dead’ would be too much for my husband to bear?
He … went … to … bed … at … three- … quarter … time!
He’s never in bed before the final siren; any game, any Friday night.
There was nothing ‘lucky’ about Black (Swan) Friday. Luck had left him. He was deserted.
Saturday morning we had a breakfast date with a Kangaroo and a Demon; we’d planned a post-game analysis/celebration.
My husband has accrued nearly every supporters’ garment manufactured to celebrate his team.
His birthday is followed by Father’s Day. He’s got cupboards and drawers full of red and white boxer shorts, dressing gown, socks, shirts and hoodies and some seriously weird headwear.
Winter, during footy season, he wears his red and white wardrobe everywhere, every day.
Not last Saturday. On went his black t-shirt, black jeans and black over-shirt.
“I’m doing a Johnny Cash,” he said.
More like Leonard Cohen, I thought, but decided last Saturday was a good day to keep my opinions to myself.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of men in footy colours as a leisure look.
But I get it. They’re part of something of their choosing; something bigger than politics and religion.
His sudden shift from Where’s Wally/Sydney Swan to Johnny Cash meets Tex Perkins, had me conflicted.
Was I happy to see him dressed in sexy, head-to-toe black? Was I grateful to see the wardrobe switch?
Of course not. WTF? Was he all right? How long would it last?
He was doing my head in.
On another matter:
Today, 30 far away years ago, I walked into a radio studio to very loud Beatles “they say it’s your birthday”. I was 29 … and about to present my very Violent Femmes breakfast program.
Then 36, and a big fan of James Taylor, husband-in-waiting had just finished midnight to dawn and put on Beatles to birthday-welcome me to the studio.
The Sydney Swans? Weren’t they an absurd Melbourne ritual bought by an absurd plastic surgeon for $2.9 million?