Google+ Badge

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

                                                            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.