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Friday, 1 August 2014

HOW TO BE A VIRGIN. / BLOOD AND SOLDIERS.

                                    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.

                                                         Worship

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.