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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Love and Death and What.

                                                           WHAT?                                                                                              "What! what?  WHAT IS IT."  Oh how my temper, like a dog straining on a leash , is about to run away with me.  I started out well,  as I  enquired of my subdued and distant daughter,  if all was well. "Yes"..... well,.... no"., she offered before relapsing into silence. But what is it?....." It doesnt matter. And YOU wont like it",  her voices becomes fainter, colder all the while.. This is an old trick, a working stratagem  she employs when on shaky ground, when feeling wronged, pained  (think of the fairytale pea penetrating twenty matresses) . It drives me a little mad. And I'm driving the car. And I should know better. My husband tells me I should lower my own voice, follow suit.  I agree. I do. But it's just not in me  "WON"T LIKE IT? , why won't I? FOR GODS SAKES what IS it? Darling."

                                              THINGS NOT BEING HOW THEY USED TO  BE                                                                                                                                              
So she tells me. Its a well worn path. An often fingered list.  They boy is rude and and intrusive, the boss gets all the attention, she herself has simply given up trying to be heard...simply given up.   And also, we treat her like a child,  we don't pay her enough attention, we even planned last Saturday's movie  trip without her, and I myself am cursory, with my husband on a constant basis, and, well, things just aren't how they used to be . Before.  I splutter through the round of attentions paid her, the  taxi service provided, the money supply, my  exhaustive monitoring  of  things like internet use,  dodgy  diets, (tortured) hair die applications by her friends, her  iron intake,  and.....and  daily  making sure you  PUT YOUR COAT ON before you..you  on before swan off  in the cold and the rain.

                                                       CIRCLES CLOSED
Later on my husband sniggers at this litany of mothering,  over a restorative glass of wine.  But  "oh you know" I tell him, "I remember this. You want to strike out for yourself and you want all the old supports to be in place, just in case. Also, its a profound and mysterous fact that coupledom, a love affair,  is excluding. It warms the two encircled lovers,  and is a line between you and the others. Troublesome then for a fledgling adult, who feels she can't fall back on ancient certainties as the mood takes her.

                                                     ON WEDNESDAY JOHNNY DIED
On Wednesday Johnny died.  Not a remote  or  distant grandfather he, his relation ship with the threesome was warm and generous. It is the first death for them. He is the first  person close to them to depart. They struggle to respond. The elder  agonises over a suitable black outfit, WHAT TO WEAR. The boy wants to be assured that  he can still  go to the Mid Term Disco falling  two days on.  The boss would rather wait until the morning  before embarking on the journey  west where the funeral will be.  They don't get it that he won't actually be coming back.

                                                       A FUNERAL                                                        
And still it all unfolded. The boy, unsure but willing, carried the coffin with the men, he being the tallest rawest man to assume it's weight.   His sister  walked straight backed  beside her grandmother,   draped in swathes of black chiffon.  The boss followed dry-eyed, because, as she later told me,   " Dad cried and everyone else a little, but I did not,  because he was like all waxy and I knew it wasn't...wasn't ... like  really him. I knew.  And anyway , when dad sent me in before he died, he like  squeezed my hand and winked and grinned ...at me...when it was still him, and you could tell, his eyes were joking, you could tell he wasn't scared, and then like nor was I."

                                                   VALENTINE"S DAY

On Thursday my husband and I went out for an Un Valentine's day dinner. Well I was working late, starving, and persuaded him. He was outraged to be in a restaurant with all the other saps, on this day. It fulfilled all his expectations. Pink menus limited to a sort of mass produced offering, at a set Valentines day price. The restaurant crammed to capacity with couples, young and shiny, the food banged out and very much below the usual standard in this our favorite restaurant. He managed to ease the pain with a plenteous supply of wine, but couldn't refrain from telling a charming, giggling east european waitress to tell the chef he would be better off driving a bus, when she asked us if the meal had been "alright for you?".

I brought him for a soothing pint  of Guinness on the way home to our local, where all the other hardbitten grownups greeted us with raucous jeers when we told them where we had  been.  "Oh sure all that love stuff was burnt out of us all  years ago,  our deadpan barmaid assured us. "I mean if I went home now to find rose petals laid up the path into the house and up to   the bed room I"d say James Derrane (she always gives her husband his full title) I'd  say, FOR FXXXXK SAKE, WHAT DID I TELL YOU,  FOR FXXXK'S SAKE,  I  MEAN I ALREADY TOLD YOU ABOUT THIS KIND OF STUFF, I MEAN FOR FXXXKS SAKE." We walked home tittering helplessly at that one, a vision of her laconic farmer husband firmly in front of us. We held hands too as, after all,  we decided to marry a  year ago on Valentine's Day, " it being the best way, darling, to get away with sleeping together before the appalled gaze of  three teenagers" as I put to him. I guess you could say we are a couple of old frauds, after all.

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