I went to a bar.
I ran a performance installation piece (no - I'm not really sure what 'performance installation piece' means either).
And I spoke to a bar full of total strangers about the last moments of Daddy Kewl's life.
To put that all together (partly for my benefit as I am still not sure I understand exactly what I was thinking or doing!) - last night I went into a bar where total strangers were eating and drinking, I cut the lights at 20 minute intervals, and during those black outs I told the story of Daddy Kewl's last day with us.
It started off as a bit of fun - the black outs had people curious and the beginning snippets of the story were light hearted and fun. Right before the last black out I handed out free beers to everyone. Naturally, this was very well received.
Then for the last time, the lights went out and I began speaking...
"One second... he said. He sounded distracted. Worse - He sounded serious. There was screeching. Then crunching. Crackling through the phone line. Then nothing. Oh no."
An uncomfortable silence settled over the bar. The lights came up slowly as I continued speaking - getting voicemail, putting the children in the car, driving, the rising panic, seeing the flashing lights, the crumpled metal, finally, seeing M and finishing with the words, "He is gone. He is dead."
Once I stopped speaking, I took a moment to compose myself, then the lights went down again and a spotlight came up on a small stage where I was now standing. I explained that the man who killed my husband had been drinking, but decided to get in the car anyway. He relised his favourite TV show was about to start, so he put his foot down. He was one block from home when he ran a stop sign and hit M's car.
M was killed instantly.
He did not get to see our twin daughters turn one.
He was not there for the birth of our youngest.
He will never be here for birthdays.
To hear the "I love you"s.
See the smiles.
Give the cuddles.
He'll miss every second.
The other guy was physically unharmed.
But he did miss his TV show.
I went on to mention the free beer people were holding, and the split second it took them to decide whether they wanted it or not.
I asked them to hold the bottles up and look underneath.
To the people with a black dot under their bottles - I'm sorry - You were just hit by a drink driver. But don't worry, you didn't suffer. You were killed instantly.
To the people with a red dot under their bottles - Opps - You just drove drunk and caused an accident. But don't worry, they didn't suffer. They were killed instantly.
To the people with a white dot under their bottles - Congratulations - You have just won a $50 Taxi voucher, and you won't kill anyone on your drive home tonight.
Finally, I asked people to remember how easy it is to make split second decisions without giving them much thought.
And I asked that next time, when they have to choose, they make their second count.
There was a round of applause that was hesitant, as if people were not sure whether they should be clapping or not, then without me even realising what was happening, people started emptying their beers.
They tipped them down sinks behind the bar, over the veranda, down drains and gutters and into toilets.
As I watched the people around me emptying their drinks, I felt as though all of the emotions that had been bottled up in order to put together and present the installation were being released. I exhaled, for what felt like the first time in weeks, and just like that, it was all gone.
When the last bottle was emptied another round of applause erupted in the bar, and this time it was packed with energy and intent.
Tonight, I am absolutely exhausted... But I feel better than I have done in months.
One last thing... To everyone at the bar last night, and to everyone who helped make the installation successful, and to everyone who has put up with me while I've had my head so far up the proverbial backside of this new world -
To making every second count.