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Friday, 23 January 2015

The Wife's Tale. ( With Apologies to you, Stephen Hawking.And God)

 Did he actually change his mind...

"So right, if the world actually began..... then it was created? and I mean the Christians,  they want that.  Right?"  "Yes darling.  Right.  But then he,  like he said himself,  changed his mind.  So now, no boundaries, no beginning,  no end, no creation, no God. And the thing is he persuaded folks with his Brillance.  Either way".  The boss and I mull over the movie The Theory of Everything on the way home from the cinema.  She,  preoccupied with black holes,  space time continuum,  mathematical equation, and I guess there was  not enough science in the movie for her. Quite enough for me however, burrowing into the velvety executive seats at the very end row- they were empty!- losing my self in the lovely visuals, the engrossing human drama.

                                                   or was he just.........

The thing I particularly liked about it was its delicacy, I tell the boss. The drama showed you where Mrs Hawking was going,  it didn't drive you there with whip and loudspeaker.. And the tale she had to tell was worth the ticket.  "Yeah... yeah.... but.... were there new treatments for Motor Neuron disease  then.  Like...why did he not die? And... what was that scene with the pencil at the end.... and also I mean  a world without boundaries?, what kind of answer was that to how he lived without the comfort of believing in I mean God.,  is he still  looking for  a single equation for like everything,  like he said he would find???"
                                                                                     screwing with us.........

I tell her that I figure he lives yet through, yeah improving treatments, but basically by virtue of a will of  iron, and a vast appetite for life. And as to boundaries, that he, in his mind, stands tall and walks to pick up the pencil the pretty girl drops, and somehow his body finds a way to follow.  We dine then on fish and chips, no cooking/ Sunday evening fare, the kitchen silent, empty except for the dog, listless and longing for the the excitement of noise.   I dispatch her to locate school uniform, the school bag tossed on the Friday before.


"Oh hey" she calls  " Googled him!  He didn't actually say he doesn't believe in God, he said God was not necessary to science. Aha.  Right."  Well, he  has been known to change his mind" I offer "Hawking I mean. Not God. ????"  "Yeah, and his books are for the Lay Man, he wants to make this stuff  like  explicable, I mean hey!  will we buy that book.  I, you know,  haven't decided yet whether I'll do Maths and Physics  or Maths and Art in college anyway.  I haven't made up my mind!!" she adds,  flying down the stairs phone in one hand, unwashed grey skirt in the other.  "Yeah we will. We'll buy that book" I say.

                                 but  why was he going to America with the nurse?....

And later, just when I think its all over, the boss's humming hard drive on standby...  "So.. but... like why was she crying. When he said he was going to America, with the nurse. Why was he crying too, and...why was he going to America with the Nurse,  and why did she let him, what was like happening?, I didn't really get, you know..... I tell her that the Hawkings were each acknowledging the end of their marriage, mourning, looking the end square in the eye.   And that it was at the heart of the movie. "I kind of thought that.. yeah," she said, "that the marriage like failed".  "Not failed,  no, simply over" I amend. "Yeah, right. And anyway,  he was only supposed to live for like two years" she finished sagely.
                                                                                                and myself struck to the heart (a little) ?...
And thereafter I couldn't shift to standby either. The absolute finality at the end of a marriage, the arid space between you where enchantment was, haunting me a little.  The ghosts of loved up she an he lingering on in the marital space. The  harsh comfort  in mourning, acknowledgment,  rough gratitude for what was.  If you can bear to feel it.   Before you take yourself  back out in the world,  alone like you came in,  to wherever you can manage,  imagine, reach.  Maybe even America?.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Kill them All . Devil Speak and Angel Song.

                                                 Love Hate. A Solution

"And anyway, I don't...... I mean WHY don't they just go ahead and shoot them  NOW. I mean WHAT are the Cops waiting FOR." The boss  makes Christmas Cards to sell at the Christmas fair on the rug in front of the window. Has been for weeks, a happy engagement,  turning out improbably good things. The Boy and I  catch up on recorded episodes of Love Hate. A revelation to her, who does not watch the show by inclination.  "Of course they can't just....they have to.....  prove it!  build a case! set them up! It's called SURVEILLANCE" the boy replies roundly. It's called Television, I amend. And also um Due Process. Which I go about  explaining at the end.  She gets it. She's quick. She's not impressed. "What does it matter actually" she says, "Better dead before they do any more harm..... for us".

                                          The thin end of the Wedge.  Again

I remind of her of the movie Animal Kingdom. She kept a weather eye on that on Monday as I watched,  declaring that  she was not really watching. Only making cards, didn't want to work alone in her room. The boss likes company, in a houses of instinctive solitaries.  We were both numbly riveted by the body count, the casual dispatching on both sides. The instant disposals on the part of the Cops. "The thin end of the wedge", I tell her,  "after the criminals, go the rest of us, instant disposal, sooner or later".  We all stare, stunned,  now at King Nidges bloody runners.

                                              More  Accidental Television

On Thursday she accidentally watches the movie  Martha Marcy May Marlene  with me.  Christmas cards done and on her way to bed, she gets involved, as do I,  until realizing she is there beside me as the credits roll. "Over!!  It  CAN'T be over! Not yet... until we know....until they... I thought she was imaging...what will they do to them???  OH.  Now that was actually  frightening" she says. I agree, more than Love Hate, more than any tough hardcore  horror,  that was actually disturbing. Lingering in the mind, haunting quietly,  puzzling.

                                                     Killing the Boy

On Friday the boy announces harshly that he has lost his glasses. Yeah he brought them with him to a concert in the O2, the first one with a tiny girl and not his sheparding family, and  came back  again without them. I cannot take this equably. I do not try. His phone has gone the same way a week ago.  The glasses, the eye test  took time and money.  I berate him roundly. I am harsh as he.  Each of us capable of a bruising anger. I keep going until this...  "Don't you think I know??  Don't you think.... I'll  pay you back.  I KNOW I'm loosing everything, I don't KNOW why??  I don't KNOW whats wrong with me.  Don't you think I've said all this to myself".  His voice  a grating wobble and  the kitchen is silent at last.

                                                       Killing the Dog.

I go out to the garden to regroup. Apply myself to cleaning up the dog turds there. Bad idea.  The boy's words, his tone of voice harrow me, the dog barks on a loop, his large stomach-churning turds refusing to slid smoothly onto to the plastic spade I keep for this purpose. The dog amuses himself habitualy with Demon Dog Barking at any thing that move within a very large radius, despite sanction, so that I suspect  the neighbours have taken to creeping about the back, to avoid the sheer discordance when he is on a roll. His dog turds are as large and labile as his personality.

"Re-homing!" I tell the boss. A large place out the country for him. Somebody (else) would love him*. "But..." the boss struggles here " he is our, he is part tof our.... You cannot...he is FAMILY. You  CANNOT... You didn't mean? "  I tell her that of course I didn't mean.. I resort to muttering that  maybe in my own case someone would take me,  as she turns away in a sorrowful blue study.

In the kitchen where I go to make a cup of hot strong tea I am brought up short at the sight of the boy, all six foot one of him  accordioned in around the dog in a silent embrace.  He strokes his head gently. His eyes are closed. The dog's huge black eyes gleam in the shadows of the early winter evening.

"Yeah, I was not even slightly serious" I tell the boss,  sipping tea, thinking of the awful raw dysfuncionality of teenage boys,  the mysterious, the invisible wires of connection in family. "Re-homing! It's the thin end of the wedge too. After the dog, we all go. Nah"

                                                            Christmas Came

And then it's Christmas again. Officially started at the Boss's christmas concert, where she stands on the podium with the others, singing with her entire being, a young woman now where last year she was a child. I drive through the dark, the road works, icy cloudbursts,  from Dublin,  stressing about not getting there on time, listening to the endless gnawing discussion on the car radio about the Prime Time programme the night before,  the treatment of disabled women by their female carers in Bungalow Three, Arus Attracta, Swinford, Co Mayo.

                                                       Killing the Disabled

The  Childlike People, degraded, kicked, slapped, by the carers, secretly filmed for the programme. The brutal tones of the women linger in the mind, as though it was not only what they said, but how they said it that was the killer, the degradation.  " Hang down your head!  Hang down your head and look at that wall!  At that wall!   Back!  Get back, Get back in that chair"  the carers chorus.  For three hours, five hours, eleven hours get back in that chair.  "Get back in that FUCKING chair And Hang down your Head and Look at that wall. At that wall!". Don't look at ME. Don't.. ever... look at ME.

                                                     The devil spoke the Angels sang.

The faces in the choir are raised to heaven now, singing in transport of ecstasy,  as one. The Devil he spoke in Mayo, over and over and over. The Angels sing in the School, year after year after year. Ding dong merrily a Child is Born Santa Claus is coming in a Winter Wonderland, on the Twelve Days of Christmas Hark the herald.....Oh Rudolph Rudolph in the Bleak Midwinter.

Sunday, 26 October 2014



"Yeah. But ....should YOU not be worried why are you NOT more worried?... it's.... it's...spreading. The World Health People are worried....I mean do you not think that maybe we should like stay home for  a few weeks until it all like blows over?"' The Boy snorts "Oh HELLO! It's not coming HERE! Child!.  we are Very... Low... Risk. Miss  DEMPSEY you know says its just actually body fluids?, its like actually been here before? and so it will actually burn itself out?" "But.... what about all the....all the.. People... more than ever before.... dying. And its getting Out of Africa, it's coming to.... coming to..." "Huh!" the boy dismissive "That's because of their like Poor Health Care. That's different."  She looks at me, appealingly.  "I mean I can't you know stop thinking about it.  Why would it be in The News?,  all the time?  Cause it's NOT going away. That's why.  And, it's actually still..still...coming...and so shouldn't we be even like be taking out temperatures?..or ..or"   "No! Angel No!. Really. We shouldn't"

                                                   Luckily, we have the Irish Health Care System.

I raise my hand against the boy's next pronouncement. Tell the boss firmly that Ebola is never penetrating the obscure fug of the Irish Tribal Carapace,  ask her to think instead  on how scared the People trapped in the midst of the raging epidemic must be, before she indulges in ramping up her own terror gauge, consigning us to quarantines which would have to include the Boy!!  etcetera etcetera. She shifts from harrowed to rueful. You know,  she says the guys in school start coughing and rubbing their foreheads when they see me now, because I asked Ms Dempsey, if we shouldn't be taking like precautions and you know pray for them..."  Hmm.  Lucky Smart Arsed entitled Irish.  With The Health Service Executive between us and all harm..  Really.

                             Not Entirely Getting what she was Doing with the Whiskey Bottle

We go to see  Gone Girl on Saturday.  I want to coast for the evening. I have read the book.  It's one of those books where you find yourself sticking with the second half having being engaged by the first bit.  Despite a constant "oh, come on!!!"internal chorus not quite causing you to fling the book across the room . Anyway its popcorn cinema as I expected it would be. I am bemused on Sunday to read an article criticizing the writer, being disturbed, concerned about its depiction of Bitch Woman, finding anti woman riffs in the antics of the ludicrous heroine.  "You needn't think I 'll be going to that " my husband felt called upon to tell me, as we watched an add for Fifty Shades Of Grey at the start of the movie. I tell him that he needn't t think that I will either. And for good measure, if I want to indulge myself in a read about Sexual Shenanigans from the Dark Id, there are actually some really good books... eschewing the swooning syrup. No, really!!!
                                                   Extremely Ravishing and Pointlessly  Gorgeous.

And all of this, Ebola, Silly Sex, my daughters tormented vision of a stalking,  advancing virus, plays out a against the prettiest most painterly Autumn. The leaves kaleidoscoping  pink to red to orange gold  on the garden tree in front of my living room window, till scattered artfully on the grass by the wind, glistening with raindrops from sporadic showers till taken up again to dance by the sudden,  benignly humming, gales. The shivering red orange fairy trees on the green. Darkly plum leaves layered on strained green and gold in the lane. The berries every shade of dark to blood red in the bush as thought the painter decided I can't decide, oh what the hell, I'll do the spectrum! Old yellow apples, clustered, dying devine overhead.   All gorgeous pointlessness on its way to decay, I tell the Boss, extravagant pleasing color just for the hell of it.  Really.  Lucky... we.

Monday, 29 September 2014

. My Baby Gone (and Left Me). Christina Noble..

                                                      Home Without my Baby
                                                                                                                                                                   "But I'm like, you know,  glad..... I get to come home? ...I didn't have to like stay... too?."  The Boss's remarks come at me from a great distance in this space I find myself,  car wheels slapping on tar macadam, grayish white light  illuminating the road. "Yeah, but, hey, it was nice,  she'll be grand, a  room of her own, the others just down the corridor,  she's you know lucky. " I run out of steam quite.   "I um liked the tall wavy tree at her window.  I was thinking she'll you know see that every time she sits at the desk" the Boss says after a silence. "Yeah.... right..... I was thinking that too"

The Boss and I have deposited the Beautiful One to the student campus for Fresher Week, with her suitcases, bed linen, towels and kitchen things. It is the Friday of a busy buzzing week of accumulating the stuff, sorting her ATM card,  completing her registration, mundane and esoteric things she thinks of that cannot be done without,  a pair of beer glasses with a smirking reindeer on the sides, new pyajmas, a large bottle of iron tonic requiring a last minute dash to the health food shop. I buzz through all the days of the week, planning, anticipating, reminding, till there we were on campus, in the small bare room. Empty. Hers.

I make the bed, have her unpack the suitcases, "then we can take them home you know,  give you space to breath". The boss stands bored and patient to one side. The beautiful one dashes off to obtain a front door key,  taking the large orange tub of kitchen stuff from my hands on her return.  "Hey, It's Ok.  I'll do that. You needn't... I'll do it. Later".   "O...right..."  The fine yellow light of the Indian summer illuminates her casual unpacking, piercing through the open window high up here on the third floor.  I am suddenly and  enormously exhausted.  "Um right, well,  I guess then...Darling girl, I think then we 'd better leave you to it."   Darling, darling girl I think we'd better go..

She clatters down the stairs behind us, takes the cash I fumble blind for, and jittery, distractedly allows herself to be hugged. She feels insubstantial to me,  forcing herself to be still, already tugged at by the room upstairs.  We go home. All week after we are like a cart missing a wheel, a building with a supporting wall removed. It seems like a glimpse of the real framework that contained us all. Requiring  a psychic reframing.  A sort of spiritual poke,  a sniggering chorus "so what did you think keeps you standing, keeps you here,  what all this means, what all this means" Something like that. We are adjusting


The Boss decides during the week that this year she'll be doing Bronze Jazz,  Grade Five on the piano,  a birthday party hosted from the family home,  oh, and a summer Berry Pie on Thursday. Also "like what do you think?" a trip to Africa to help out with relief work in the summer. She's going to galvanize her friends, get the school on board,  "I mean, OMG do you think they would?"  A concerted effort I think to move into the newly  available space left by the beautiful departed. The new projects will require lifts, cash, dollops of maternal attention. Chances are she'll get around to most of it. Her will like a long haul Arctic Truck being mighty and relentless.

The boy announces casually that he's looking at his college options. That would be next year!!! "Could someone maybe win a scholarship, acquire a bursary, " I murmur , thinking of the impossible task it  will be to finance this level of education for one, two, three even,  people in Ireland. Each year the college fee that dares not speak its name, going by the euphemism of the Contribution Charge, increases. Latterly, accommodation costs have soared,  the accommodation on campus being scare and expensive.  A college education seems to require great wealth, or the actual poverty of the unemployed, where at least your children may qualify for a grant from the state.

"I told you I won't be coming up with A1's. I have a life!, I'll get the points I have to. I already said that to you all"  the boy is positively truculent, in the kitchen where he fries trout from the river for himself and his sister. "brain food" he adds.. He takes himself off most days after school in the obliging  Autumn sun to fish with his fishing buddies, and rarely returns without Provision. He pushes up the spectacles newly and reluctantly required on the end of his nose now   Astigmatism recently tested for. "Lasered! I am having that Lasered as soon as I can"  he states grimly, though less stridently since some hopeful girl at school told him it makes him look thoughtful, intelligent. " Does it?" he asks me innocently now. "Yeah," I say looking at his glowing golden skin, his fine arched alien blue eyes, "definitely"

                                                          Christina Noble.

The Boss gets her African Oddessy idea from the movie Noble. Having read a distinctly patronizing review of this in the Irish Times, I want to go see the fine central performances, the beautfuil sets allowed  for by the reviewer. I want to see the movie, mostly because it's true. Christina Noble lived. Lives still and is in all ways remarkable. "Inspiring?" I ask the boss after. "Yeah she says, "but,  like,  Not Enough. I mean how did she manage to get like  all the other orphanages up and running. It took her the whole film to get that first  one going."

 She is thoughtful on the way home. As am I.  All the dreadful things that happened in Ireland to children, lonely bereavement, rape, homelessness. That happened to girls. The magdalen, the savage wasting of being use as a sexual facilty, a brood mare, a commodity, a thing. And yet, from the heroic ashes of all that damage, Christina Noble changes destinies in Vietnam, and children, girls are somehow salvaged, nurtured,  snatched from the fire to shine, to outperform the boys, and even to go one day to college.

My husband tells me kindly that I am sexist, biased, excluding of,  boys. How he longs to edit. cut and paste.  If only I would let him. "Oh let me!"  But.  Yes, I tell him,  guilty, yes I  am, you bet, don't care, get over it,  Only Women, Carry, Women Bear, Only Women, Bleed.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Savage Dream Girls/Aquamarine Silver and Blood

                                           She Only Studied Lightly, Occasionally All Year Long.

 "And so he told me he got you know 490 points!, although I didn't actually ask,! so then he asked me and I told him and he said don't you mean 353!!! and I said no! I mean 535, and he said O....o"  The Beautiful One smirked blandly then. And why would she not? The Leaving Certificate points required for her chosen course;  in the bag, the carefully conveyed impression of doing only occasional actual study, intact!

I think of my stern statements during the year, when she assured me she was chained to the small wooden desk in her bedroom while all her friends like the lilies of the field neither read nor wrote, that this was horseshit ! That  they were at it beavers!. Despite her supercilious stare, I am guessing that was what she wanted me t say. Its a tightrope, parenting, my friends, a high wire act to carry buzzing teenagers to the far shores of self determination. Don't look down.

But then again,  it is she who does the high wire walk. You have no life without the imprimatur, inclusion of your friends. You will have no life without the CAO  College points the ancients yammer on about. . You absolutely know you will be extraordinary in the world when you find your own people, come to you own thing. You mostly shove your jarring sense of incompetence on the back burner, where it bubbles and burbles away, while you absolutely break your back in doing all the stuff  expected by all best you can.
                                                         To Sink.

The soundtrack of your life , the shaky  flaky  judgements of your peers, the constant instructions,, warning,s of your elders. You just can't see the time when you will  function in the world. Every instruction has the sub text  that  you could never do this on your own.  And anyway down here its predictable, warm,  well worn. So  hard to leap. to rip aside the apron strings, to sink or swim.  To sink.
                                            Aquamarine, Silver and Bloody. Dream Girls

And so to the Debutante's  Dance, the  Lovely Girls Parade,, take your pick.   She dances upstairs to her room trailed by the giddy girlfriend, slips into the aquamarine dress, the silver sandals, slathers on a cursory coat of slap,  pins up escaping locks from the up do bought and paid for, and only that paid for,  she won't let any stranger touch her face, and rapidly descends, to  her boyfriend's muttered "Wow" at her careless flighty greeting, he standing in the hall, shoves flowers at myself , "for you."  bemused and dazzled at her casual disposal of the corsage he gave.  She stands still ,barely, for the photographs, but oh she can't recall where she dropped her sweet corsage, and gone lightly climbing into the car, with bleeding heels, a blister burst,  laughing, serene,  unconcerned as I chase the car with lint and plaster.

I close her bedroom  window  in the silent house, pick  up two bottles of vodka mixer, discarded with the "well done!" cards, a hoodie,  her battered trainers on the floor,  breathe in the smell of cigarettes,, perfume, residue of hysteria, expectation.

I ask her how it went next day.  She said it was savage.  Just that.  savage
                                               Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright

In the calm after that storm, I am on the last lap of  Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. (2014).  Serendipity. A slow burner for me. Like burning matter falling melting on your skin to simmer in to the bone. Don't warm to books that are pre labelled  "A Masterpiece!."  But, it burns. I can only read  the  book when I'm feeling robust.  By now I know the story, know the way the stream of imperious consciousness sucks you in until you're just another worm on a hook with the heroine. Yep,  a Masterpiece.
The Beautiful Girl and I take time out of time to go together to the movie Boyhood.  Serendipitous again.  I don't  tell her of the three hours running time. She might not come.  Don't know where the time goes. . So?  I ask her after, cautiously, both of us blinking under the unsettling electric light in the foyer. "Yeah. Loved it. Cool, the actor growing up and going to college, Yeah. The mum, she kinda reminded me, like of you, the way she, you know, she did,  yeah, she really did. Yeah."   O..

Friday, 1 August 2014


                                    The Past is Another Country, They Do Things Differently There.
                                                                                                                                                              Last week in Waterford city,  while rooting around in  its esoteric and only actual bookshop, I found a copy of L.P. Hartleys novel,  The Go Between and have been immersed ever since. Myself and The Book have form. Mother brought her Primary School children to see the movie on one of her Jollies when my father was taking his annual Pilgrimage to the Galway Races. Booze, Betting and Camaraderie. We picnicked, visited with the sea and went to the one and only movie showing locally in the meantime. All bliss save for the  tense cattle head counting (roll call) each evening. About that she was under orders to report back to the man over in Galway.
                                                 If I Had Only Known
"Oh sure I would not  have brought ye if I had only known" she worried after.  Knew what she meant.  I mean I was enchanted by the lighting, the sets, drenching the movie in its dark and gorgeous atmosphere. But it was the sex.  Subtle, delicate, illicit.  The movie quite soaked  in something illict. Not that there was any other kind of sex back then.  I am nine years old again as I write this, confused as to meaning, enthralled by the characters, transported by a sense of old danger.

I read the book now and a whole other vista opens to my adult mind. It is art, novel and movie,  transfroming and profound in effect.  I wonder at it's power  on a growing child mind. That was  Epiphany. I was given. Accidentally.

                                                   The Virgin Didn't Do It

Speaking of the sexual,  my ideas were vague,  of something fascinating, something dangerous, at that time. Nobody back in the day was going to go around educating children about sex. No sir.  Girls were let into the secret reluctantly when menstruation was anticipated. Gingerish and obscure advise was given.  My informant was my older sister, assigned by my mother.  She gave me The How To  Book the Catholics permitted,  couching the whole deal in quasi religious terms. "Any questions?" she sang pertly after. "Eh, Yeah, I get it, I GET IT, it's ...for um babies, the virgin Mary....who didn't.. who never...but um  what exactly is going to happen??!!" She wouldn't say. Tongue tied and patronizing.  Bitch. I was, in a way, waiting, all that summer,  nerves fraying quietly,  still trying to figure out for what when the blood came.
                                                      Summer. Happy, happy, happy.

The Summer Holidays. The Boy in the West. This time he brought one of his buddies. They spend their days fishing for Salmon in the Moy,  occasional days working on the bog.  I hear when I call  the deep contentment, the zen state, in the tones of his speaking.

The Beautiful one flits about the house like a long stranded piece of  thistldown, waiting.  Dabbling in dissolute living. We rub along easy for the most part. Occasional spats about how I will NOT  fund the Pub or collect her from it. She shrugs, half hearted about being louche, and awaits the exams results.

The Boss is in the Gaeltacht.  Happy, happy happy with tales of trips to the Aran Islands, Ceidhlie dancing, new friends and old,  recited in a breathless litany when I call. I think of other pubescents, sent and suffering the three weeks exile, bored, exhausted by the crowd, ackwardly taking refuge in the book they brought, unwilling to give in and go home.  But she of course is not that Soldier. Gracias a  Dios.

I go a hunting for books in Galway city on my visit to see her.  On a mission to find  Hartley's  Eustace and Hilda Trilogy, wanting more, wanting to crawl back into that rich universe.  And also to buy  chocolate. The summer light caresses the visitors, blesses the stones.  Happy, happy, happy.


We go to see her favourite painting in Galway's awesome Cathedral. "I sit with it when I'm here" she says, "because she's like a real girl with her baby.  Though I know it's....I mean it's... Mary and Jesus:" We sit  together, moved to silence at the picture in one of the shady side chapels of a sleeping girl/ woman curled around the lozenge shaped bundle of her baby.  Beautiful.  Poignant.  What she said, real.

                                                         Loosing my Religion

I collect the Boy and his sister from the train station and herd my mind back on the mothering track. I have not taken my self into a Supermarket for weeks and distractedly try to recall what we need as the gruesome twosome throw in unsuitable items, bicker, ask me for stuff.  "Would you say you might be loosing your marbles" the boy says blandly on emerging, as I wonder where I have parked the car. "I mean just beginning to! just starting to" he sniggers at my wounded glare.

                                                              Some Day Baby

Some day, oh yeah , one day baby I hope you hear the voices too, the spawn voices, the fruits of your loin voices,  in your house, in  your car,  in your purse,  in your head.  Needing. Wanting. Stuff. While you watch your marbles roll.  If you, that is,  manage to find a girl of sufficient kindness and steel to bear them for you. One day baby. Soon.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Shut the F****k up Nuala O'Faolain, and R.I.P. .

                                                            Long Day's Journey Into Night
                                                                                                                                                             "But... I... don't think that.   DO  think eh  well of you, and like respect you, and your...and .your . your...mothering".  The beautiful one is empathetic if  quite quite  drunk . Attempting, as though the past evening had not happened and she quite quite sober to console my weeping self,  as we drive home in the dark deepening  night.

I have deteriorated, decompensated  from frothing at the mouth, to incredulous babbling and finally  this,  last resort weeping, since we got in the car. "Yeah . I know,...I know I should not have.. ought not to have.. but ..but.. all my friends parents." she,  making bad worse had the unwisdom to add, "all my friend's parents didn't have a problem"... and I... and I.."

Oh my dearest reader it has been a long night this.  Firstly  The Class Graduation , which she told me vaguely was to be Mass, Music, Presentations and  later she continued , getting rather more focused, a get together in the Ranch Pub, who had agreed to let in the Graduated after. I dutifully attend for the former parts, and agree to drive in and get her following the latter. I keep herocially  to myself the reflection that (a). It is Midweek, and (b.). she has not actually done  the bloody Leaving Certificate yet.  They are premature.. And  I am in fact being asked to collect her from the Pub. Because, well  she IS working hard at her books.  And, well, it's a Special Night.

                                                     A Very special night

And so it was. I get a call at Eleven am to come get her at 12.30 instead of at midnight, as EVERYONE  is staying till then.  "Love yew" she thrills as I acquiesce. Yeah. OK.  Special Night. I sit, at the appointed time, at the agreed pick up spot and wait. And wait. And wait. An hour passes.  I phone her yet again.   "Oh.. uh ..yes, I have her Bag, she left it in  We were all going, so I took it for her,  I mean like I'm not stealing  it, or anything,  I'm ,you know.  minding it, till tomorrow.  Where is she? Oh I don't know that,. Everyone left. I'm just like minding it,."  a girl voice I do not know carols  across the airwaves. Oh.

 Times passes.   She will be here soon,  I promise myself,  she knows that I'm...and  she would not. .would not....well exactly,  she would not, so what's going on!!!!!!  I phone the Beautiful Boyfriend.. " Dunno" "he mumbles sleepily,  "I uhh went home,. She was talking. At the door.  And then she uh went  too. Huh? Anyone else's number? Uh..". He offers to phone me back, does not,  and I am referred to voice mail when I call him. Asleep then. Probably.

                                                    Rape! Murder! Assault!

Words like Rape, Murder, Assault, harrow me in a a rain of interior soundbites, so that I fling myself out of the car and across the street to the Garda Station.
                                                       Just Not Her

"And the thing is, I mean this is just not her. I meant something must have happened," I assure them. Graduation,  yes, I mean you know  Mass, Presentations, in the school and then they all go off  for a... for a um get together after,...and..and that sort of thing"  They. the Guards, get into into it , take notes,  issue alerts. They are, basically,  kind, wry and tactfully cynical. "Graduation Eh? Yeah, well,  wouldn't worry too much, you know, she probably went off with her friends, and you know,  had a few, had a few too......"  Basically tactful.
                                                       Who Knows Where The Time Goes

One of their number  eventually  produce the Beautiful One , walking carefully,  a study in  innocence, behind the triumphant Member as I am explaining for the umpteenth time that this is just not her, she would not NOT  call me, and ... "Eh well  right, I'll let ye sort it out amongst  yerselves," the Copper  says hastily, as I begin the loud and anguished interrogation. And for the record, she did not know WHERE the time had gone, was on her way  the WHOLE time, got  a bit delayed, could not call, well didn't have her phone did she? and was frightfully awfully totally sorry. And that was her story. And Oh how she stuck to it..

                                                           The Shitty End of the Stick

Yeah, well, anyway,  can you let me have I mean  some money then  for like a dress, for the Disco, can I go to the disco?, you remember the Disco, I mean it's supervised! I mean WHY IS EVERYTHING ALWAYS ABOUT  HER" the boss responds to my exhausted telling of where myself and her sister were until four am. "No!" I snap,  "No!" in the manner of Pride and Prejudice's  Mr Bennett after Lydia eloped with the redcoat,  " No pub, no disco, no more. Not  for anyone in this house until all have grown up, left home, and it's  NOT ON MY WATCH".  "Didn't know here the time went!" the boy offers  knowingly." Lame!.  Oh and by the way, I'm off for a um sleepover with Smoke tonight myself,  ehh...did I say?"  I tell him he will sleep at home,  in his own bed, as will  the rest of them, until etcetrea etcetera.. . He exits stage left muttering things about being almost seventeen years old, can do what he likes, always gets the shitty end of the stick. Always the hardship.  Always.".

                                                       Channelling Nuala O'Faolain

I take myself, still bruised, to a Literary festival in Borris with my Husband on Sunday,  thinking to be distracted, soothed.  I listen to the writer Hugo Hamilton reading an extract from his book, which is, he confirms,  a fictionalised account of his trip to Berlin with the writer, Nuala O'Faolain , when she was dying of cancer. Indeed. The extract relates to her refusal to forgive her parents for crimes, assaults on her childhood.  " Channelling her!" I hiss to my embarrassed  husband, hearing again that voice on the Radio Interview before she died,  wailing about her imminent death, the cancer, taking away her life's  meaning.  A writer I had liked  enormously until then. Nothing now was ever or ever would be any good she wailed.until I got right past compunction in getting furious at a dying woman, and thought   Oh shut the Fuck up Nuala O'Faolain,  what did you expect,? you are lucky, you have lived to be huge with experience, ballooning with life, and what is that  exactly, how is that possible  without a beginning and and end?

"So here she is again" I tell  the dear man,  "Blaming the parents. Refusing the ending. Channelled." I think of the impossible task parenting turns out to be. Of how Blaming belongs to a younger self. The indictment of your parents. The  perceived failures, abandonments, deficits at crucial moments. How many years does it take to view it all from an adjusted lens? My mother, whose girlhood we knew in her constant telling of it.   My father who sat with us sniggering at hokey Little house on the Prairie e, an observance for every Sunday afternoon. You only know stories. Fragments.

                                                     Stories. Fragments.

Her brother's feverish  raving when he was old and dying,  about the beautiful girl, her long dark hair fanning out behind her as as she fell to the ground with blood pouring from her mouth. One of twelve children wiped out by TB, she was, and he could only have been small when he saw that. We never knew he saw that.

He, co-opted to play football when he was a schoolboy,  kicked the ball out past the line he did,  said it would be safer out there. Never a team player he.. His quietly spoken  father who died when he was a child. He broke his father's gramophone, who loved his John McCormack,  and was in terrible bother over it.. He had pneumonia, when he was little.  It  weakened his heart. She didn't know if that was before or after his father died.

 Her father  died too.In her teens. .  "Daddy was a great man, ah sure he had a bit of a temper,  just you know,  auld shouting""   He bought one of the first motor cars in his part of the country and drove it for hire to Dances. One night he brought her to a Dance, and not long after married her. She  learned how to drive the car.

They had a Wedding Breakfast, she said,  in reference to the photo of them sharply suited, smiling stiffly, heroically young. We tried to put breakfast, obligatory porridge and runny boiled egg with Wedding Feast, before steering her on to the Galway  Honeymoon Trip.  The black and white photograph, long overcoats, stout fur lined brogues, smiling shyly for the camera.  Two achingly open faced shy people. "Ah sure you only went for a few days then" she said. Stories.  Fragments. For the Judge and Jury.. Mammy and Daddy.  Just people in time.

                                               I Say it With Love
So. Just.  Shut the f***k up Nuala O'Faolain, and I say it with love for the great mouthy girl that you harboured. And or  in  the words of another beautiful girl who can basically do the same, "Love Yew".