>PARTY GOD

>I can never quite remember when I first saw him. That’s the thing about Party God—he’s part of the scenery; he’s always there. But you can never help but notice him.

They say there are people who light up a room when they enter it. When Party God enters a room, he takes it by the arm, slips it into something more comfortable, puts on its favourite song, gives it a tall glass of something vibrantly alcoholic, and then lights it up.

He arrives late, and on foot, because he’s always going somewhere, always on his way. He slides down the hallway, nodding his head coolly, taking off his jacket—depending on fashion and the weather. Then it’s into the kitchen to greet the host, who thanks heaven he’s arrived. Party God gives the host just enough time to think he wasn’t coming, but still enough time to give the party his indelible mark.

The host, and maybe a brother or sister or flatmate, try to corner him with a drink, but Party God’s already on his way, through to the lounge room to infiltrate the drinking circles and the dancing corners with a unique social osmosis. The beauty of Party God is that everyone’s sure he’s right next to them, reassuring their worth with his presence, but at the same he’s leaning against the wall across the room, one jean-leg bent, one t-shirt arm folded under the other, silently approving.

It’s later in the night when I have my first definite sighting. I’m out on the deck, sitting in a sunken chair, and he’s standing by the railing: probably smoking, probably not.

I wonder how many people will see Party God tonight, in living rooms and garages, patios and kitchens, all across this Saturday night city. Is he ever really there, or is he just a projection of a purple-golden place we’d all rather be? It could just be that I’m drunk.

Later still, when I’m dragged to the dance floor, I see Party God laughing, sitting on a stereo speaker in a way no one else can. Everybody’s happy and relaxed; it’s been a good night.
Party God dissolves the heat and the sticky floor and the sweaty faces, leaving shining, drink-softened memories behind him like a ship’s wake.

When it’s time to go home, when all that’s left are legs on armrests and empty bottle cities, we all look to Party God. We want to follow him to wherever he goes next; we never want the party to end. But of course, when we look, he’s gone. He’s always on his way, leaving us only hope for next weekend.

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