Saturday Night Party at Valentina's
How is it possible to get lost on the way to Valentina's, of which I've been to twice before? Pulling behind me a suitcase filled with gifts and alcohol, I took a long route up my favourite street, then realized it wouldn't take me to the party. A swirling blizzard soon enveloped me, and I found myself at a motorway, where no motorway had previously existed. Sheltering from the flurry, I accidentally ran into a traveller also looking for the party, a familiar friend I hadn't seen in ages.
Are you looking for the party too?
What? Yes. You too?
Yes. It's cold, isn't it? Where did all this snow come from? Oh good, you've got a Smartphone.
We made our way together, like Lancelot and Gawain using Googlemaps to brave the Wasteland, searching for the Castle of the Grail, and a Grail maiden named Valentina. Eventually, the gentlest light beckoned us through the falling, blustering snow, and with it the distant music of Christina Aguilera. Upon reaching a giant door, we weary travellers were led into a kitchen, where a goblet was passed unto my lips. Here endeth this section of Gina and the Holy Grail.
What happened at the Castle of the Grail? I had a conversation with Angela on a dark staircase; I met some glamorous-looking people I'd never spoken with before, and for the very salty meal I'd had some hours earlier, I must have drunk about ten cups of water during a group conversation about Black Panther, while some may have wondered if I'd taken Ecstasy.
In the photos you can see me and my flatmate Niki, finally together in a picture. In the group photo on the right you can see me, Tess, Calder and Angela with Tess radiating a brilliant smile in the foreground. In the other group photo, Erden (whom I share a desk with in the PhD room), Valentina, me, Calder and Angela. Calder and Angela, I've known since my MSc in Creative Writing (2015-2016), they're now running the Ogilvie website where they publish works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Along with incandescent Tess, we occasionally meet on Tuesdays for our quiz nights, where we sometimes win.When I began my writing about transitioning, a year and a half ago, I mentioned once or twice how life is like the Wasteland. Saturday reminded me that the secret of the Grail is this: find shelter with good people; the Grail is there.