He looked wonderful that night
Some years ago, my husband and I were both plus ones at Eric Clapton’s New Year’s party. (I can’t tell you where it was as I’d have to kill you…) I wasn’t driving anyway, so didn’t take much notice. But I know where it was.
Sorry, I can’t remember what I wore at all. Safe to say, it was probably red or blue. They are my go to colors. Hmmm, might have been purple.
There were quite a number of people, I happened to know a few who were not my husband and our friends. We were seated at round tables of eight people.
Strangely, after about half an hour, the fire alarm went off, and no, I did not do that. We all thronged at the door, waiting to go through like liquid through a narrow bottleneck.
We were chatting and wondering aloud what if it were a real fire. Then I felt a hand take my right hand. I paused. My husband was on my left, my hand on his elbow. Who would be so bold??
I looked at my hand as if to check it really belonged to me. Yep, it was mine and a large hand was holding it. My eyes followed the upward path of wrist, jacket sleeve, and a long way up to the connected shoulder. It was a tall man whoever it was. Then my eyes reached the face.
Eric Clapton was smiling down at me.
His steel rimmed spectacles, and that smile. Slightly crooked. The smile reached his eyes. The effect was gentle and inviting.
My husband’s elbow pulled me forward a pace or two. Eric did not immediately release his hold. He stepped forward, and then I think someone on his right started talking to him, and the hand hold became more of a fingers touching sort of thing,
I lost touch of him with next pace forward. His fingers dropped mine.
Later that year, we were visiting my Uncle and Auntie. My Auntie loves pop music, so I mentioned that we had been to Eric Clapton’s New Year’s Eve party.
Auntie Jen didn’t bat an eyelid. “I used to play with him” she responded. “I pushed him around in a pushchair”.
Turns out they both spent their childhoods in a village ten miles from their home. She was a year older and they played together. Hear that, y’all? My relative by marriage played with a rock star!
A few years ago, that Auntie died of a major heart attack. The funeral was in the village where she grew up. My daughter and I arrived a bit early and decided to wander around the graveyard.
The mausoleum to Connor Clapton is there. It is massive. It speaks loudly of grief and wealth. Eric’s little boy who fell from a balcony.
Here is the song Eric wrote for Connor;