Remona Aly
Monday 24 July 2023 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Three weddings and a roller disco

Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

Three weddings and a roller disco


Zoe, as I mentioned to you once, the summer so far has brought me three weddings and a roller disco. Weddings, I have a PhD in, but for roller skating, it was my first ever attempt – in my forties, because you know I like to delude myself that I’m 16, experiencing all the things I missed in the days of my ‘yoof’.

The roller disco was a younger friend’s birthday idea. The buzzing London venue was lit with energy and an R’n’B DJ set, as I nervously strapped on my skates, and like a drunken flamingo flapped my way to the dancefloor. Petrified of falling, I glued myself to whichever steward took pity on me. But with their help and a dose of forced courage, I managed to roll! After an hour of circuits, my spirits were soaring, and just as I was proclaiming my triumph to a steward, another beginner wobbled behind us, pulling both of us down. I dropped to the floor with an unceremonious bang.

I carried my injured wing and a box of naproxen to all three weddings, where I watched as confetti burst into clouds of bliss around the newlyweds.

Yet, at one wedding, the father of the bride would not be there to walk his beaming, tearful daughter to the altar.

Behind the smile of a guest at another wedding, lay years of lonely struggle that, for a moment, melted into the magic of the day.

I used to think of how independent each emotion was, living apart in the separate rooms of ourselves, but I now see how Happiness can sometimes hold hands with Pain, and how Loss can hang tenderly upon Love’s shoulder.

The 14th century Muslim scholar, Al-Jawziyya, said, “There is no joy for the one who does not bear sadness, there is no sweetness for the one who does not have patience, there is no delight for the one who does not suffer.”

The three weddings and a roller disco taught me that everything comes with its pair, and reminds me that maybe the bruise from a fall can make the good times seem even more golden. So, the next time I look for the euphoria of a roller disco, maybe I’ll take an ice pack with me.

To listen, click here Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2, Zoe Ball Breakfast Show