Years ago I was at a concert at Stonnington Gardens listening with a late summer crowd to a selection of operatic songs.
As the second last song played, I heard a voice behind me, say, “Why are you crying?” I was already upset and felt I should have said something.
But upon an extra thought I knew she wouldn’t have understood. Although the crier would’ve.
For it was this.
That night, I had the TV all to myself. Children asleep, her too, the sofa my new abode.
I clicked random channels and stopped when I heard singing. I choose to stay with it having no idea what it was.
After an ad break, I knew : Les Miserables the concert. The best singers in the world united to recall perhaps the most moving musical ever written.
Except I didn’t know that. It was and still is my first time, hearing “Bring Him Home.” Even the first words are so confronting: talk about betting your faith.
I listened and the song seemed to melt its way through me. And slowly I realised who it was for.
Six weeks prior, I’d heard sad news. A former workmate had died quite tragically. As I was working interstate, I was too far and too late even for me to pay my respects to him.
And I was struck, hit and slewed me heartwise. You see he was doing my old job, and his, and who know who else’s…and perhaps I could’ve helped.
I cried for my friend that night. Every time I hear, Bring Him Home, I remember him and weep a little less.
It was all I could do not to turn around at that concert and say, “let me tell you about Craig.”