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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".