family

Fruitless

pregnant-woman-and-death-1911-artist-Egon-Schiele (1)

Pregnant Woman and Death, Egon Schiele, 1911

 

The embryologist played Sade’s ‘Your Love is King’ to Ovum and Speirin.  I reclined on the bed in the operating theatre in shower cap and gown. We watched an old black and white movie. Mind you, the tickets were £5000 a pop and they didn’t even give us flat, warm diet coke and unevenly salted popcorn.  I didn’t like to complain though, best not when someone’s got their hand up my Veronica.

A steam train catheter chugged onto the big screen and with one jerky jolt, two tiny white dots; two potential people, disembarked at Womberloo Station. They were swallowed up by the big smoke. Dazzled by bright city lights and a fast-paced, rat-race. But they couldn’t afford the real estate so they got the 17.17 to Burton Pidsea.  The third one was mistaken for a bit of fag ash. She was deposited in a rubbish bin and last we heard, she was on her way to a big, fuming, waste-recycling plant in Bermondsey and we haven’t seen her since. It is unexplained.

Nonsense aside, there is a rawness with me. It sits in the pit of my stomach. I wake up in the morning and for a moment, it is not there. Then it seeps into my day. I lost them; quite careless really. P’raps it’s for the best. I’d only fuck them up.

Trouble is, even though I am convinced I am still sixteen, my body is coming to the end of its reproductive life. Perry Menopause it’s called. Then one day, in a few years I’ll look out of the bedroom window and Impendia Menopause will emerge through a gathering mist and glide eerily down Scabbard Street. It will not be long before I hear her frightening, thud-thud-thud at the front door.

‘I’m not ready!’ I’ll shout.
‘No one ever is,’ she’ll reply.

She will break the door down. Her menacing footsteps will clomp up the staircase and the floorboard outside the bedroom door will creak under her impressive weight made of her prized Menses Collection. I will cower under the duvet. She will creep up from the foot of the bed, like that terrifying scene in The Grudge where a ghost with a wayward neck climbs into bed with a Japanese schoolgirl and fails miserably to enunciate the word ‘toast’.

‘Can’t I keep them a bit longer?’ I’ll plead.
‘No love, you’ve had them for over thirty years. I’m taking them away.’

And I’ll miss them. Periods that is. Menarche is a celebrated time in a girl’s puberty marking the beginning of her fertility. It marked my transition from girl to woman. I feel earthy during monthly or moon-ly cycles. I am connected to a natural order of things and other women.

Menopause, on the other hand, does not seem to come with a Happy Ovary Retirement banner or a flag-waving commemoration. Don’t my ovaries deserve a long service award?  A Royal Doulton lead crystal trifle bowl for the credenza.  Perhaps they don’t. My ova never made a baby or breakfast.

What was all the blood for? Just to keep Tampax in business. My capitalist ovaries contributed to the economy then. And at least I didn’t have to fashion papyrus into a cylinder and shove it up me thanks to Earle Haas’s unusual preoccupation with the discomfort of his menstruating wife.

I just can’t seem to get used to the idea of never having a child. Sometimes I think that I’m ok, then I see a pregnant woman rubbing her swollen belly in proud contentment and I am overwhelmed with the impulse to yell: ‘What’s so great about you? Why do you get to have one? Stop rubbing it in my face, walking around showing it off…Ooh look at me and my special bump, I am the creator, I am Mother Earth, bare-footed and bleeding pregnant!’  Fortunately, I keep the crazy in my head and turn away filled with yearning and envious sorrow.

I feel cheated. I feel like my biology is wasted. To reach the end of my reproductive life and not have made life leaves a gaping whole. I just cannot fill it.  I can’t ignore it any longer so I am breaking down my self-constructed glass wall of isolation on subject Ferre.

Is there anyone out there who feels like I do? And if so, does it ever go away? Your thoughts, ideas, musings are very, very welcome here.

Thank you for listening. 🙂

I find the best way to process things I don’t like to process is to accompany them with totally irrelevant irreverence.  So…watch Streetbands ‘Toast’ for a very funny lightner!!  I promise it will make you smile.

 

Image source: http://www.egon-schiele.net/Pregnant-Woman-And-Death.html

Nearly

STA70713

 

 

 

Switch on, filament sparks lighting a lonely bulb that hangs down from the garage ceiling over the sunroof of a carbon-fibred East Asian tiger cub.  It lights up the web of tegeneria domestica.  The house spider darts from illuminated exposure at the centre of its sprawling web into the dark-cornered sanctuary of rare-used wooden handled garden rake, shovel, fork and hoe.

Silver-birch seed-covered sun loungers and dusty parasols collapse in a forest of green plastic chairs.  Milly Molly Mandy and Saucepan Man and Dick and Ann and an obligatorily blond-haired, perpetually fainting Princess dine on damp-aged paper and eat the rotten pea.  As Five Get Into a Fix, Timmy barks and leaps from the margins to wrestle crisp and crunchy Crane fly carcasses from the fluff of a faded, luminous yellow tennis ball. Heavy-handled tennis rackets lean against brown brick and beneath their navy cases, muffled shouts and laughter of four squabbling sisters echo from nylon strings.

Dimpled balls cluster in plastic plant pots and gather around a homicidal Slazenger 9.  In 1983, it left the iron of a clown-trousered, pastel lemon-wearing, Faldo wannabe across the grassy course, over the bunker, between mating magpies in Scotch pines, above blackened sandstone and through pink, blooming, honey bee-filled, buzzing rhododendrons.  As Mother pegged towelling smocks in purple, pink, tangerine and lime green onto her prided rotary washing line, spinning three thousand times a minute and flying at one hundred and sixty miles an hour, the tight, white sphere, brushed by fluttering her fine auburn hair in its determined breeze and whispering ‘nearly’ in her ear.

 

Image:  A good switch born 1979, Parental Garage

 

 

About me, sharp teeth and other things

I was born at three o’clock in the morning in 1973, under the glare of the bedroom ceiling light, on a bed covered in plastic sheets in a square 1960’s semi-detached house in Yorkshire.

When I was five years old, my first teacher was Mrs Cruickshank.  She had steel-blue eyes enlarged to a terrifying googliness by her magnifying spectacles that were framed in pearlescent, pink plastic to match her pink rinse.  She wore maroon crocodile shoes and fawn-coloured tights that flattened Daddy Long Legs on her strong, old lady calves.  When she gave her special smile that was reserved only for little boys, a deadly venom dripped from her canines.  In her presence, I could not speak or think or move.  I was paralysed in fear.  I was utterly mute.  Mrs Cruickshank was a whiz with a wooden ruler.  She told my mother I was stupid.  I agreed.

Later on, I found privacy from the intrusiveness of my rowdy family in writing and I escaped in words.  Inner sanctum did not last long.  The three sisters took English exercise books from my school bag and read my stories out loud to one another for their evening entertainment.

‘And then I woke up with no arms and legs!’ squealed Marjorie in delight.

The evil trinity howled hysterically and revelled and rolled around in the morbid gore of a shark attack.  They mocked my imagination which they considered to be uncharacteristically dark for an eight year old girl.  I don’t know why they were surprised; we had all watched Jaws 1 and 2 together after all.

Jaws-Spielberg

            At high school I met a friend.  Her name was Ronda.  She didn’t like P.E. either.  I enjoyed my first truant with Ronda.  Instead of walking into the changing rooms, we conspicuously walked across the chalk-white lines of the school field and ran into the woods.  Legging it, as it was called, with the prison-like deportment of the hulking school mass disappearing steadily from view, was exhilarating.  It was freedom.  We enjoyed hanging around the disused playground while tufts of grass crept up the rusted, blue metal poles of the swing frame and grew around our woollen tights.

I should have been in the sports hall being picked last for the netball team and shouted at by Miss Yates for not running fast enough or not defending or not attacking or not catching the ball.  That ball.  It came alive in my butter-fingers and bounced off sweaty palms into the hands of my opponent.  I did not want an opponent and I did not want the ball.

And so, I truanted and then I truanted more and then Ronda, Nicky and I drank Ronda’s Dad’s home-made plum wine and looked at his pornographic magazines one afternoon instead of attending Biology.  It was biology of a sort.  Only Nicky evacuated plum wine all over her school desk in the next lesson.  And then I got caught over and over again until I earned the grand title of ‘truant’.  I became adept, or so I thought, at forging my mother’s signature on my truant notes but unfortunately I wasn’t very good at that either.  By the time I had earned the grand titles of ‘inept truant’ and ‘ham-fisted forger’, school was almost over.

I didn’t try because I didn’t think I was any good you see.  I said I didn’t care but I did.  I cared.

At eighteen I started working in my Dad’s surgery.  I remember a lady there talking loudly.  Her name was Doris.  Her hair was translucent, blond-grey and it gleamed in harsh strip lighting.  She was talking to another woman.

‘I mean I feel sorry for all those coffee-coloured kids…they don’t know where they come from, they don’t even know who they are, I mean who’s going to want to marry them?’ she said indignantly.

I looked at my forearm.  It was the colour of coffee.  Not the greyed, dirty dishwater colour of Mellow Birds.  More the colour of a nice, warm, nutty Arabica bean monsooned in Malabar, with a splash of cream, I prefer to think.  But I do know where I come from.  I was born where I was conceived; on that saggy old mattress.  And my Dad was born on an island six thousand miles away and he fell in love with a Yorkshire lass.  And as for marriage, ‘well I’m too young to think about that’, I thought.

But people like Doris made me want to know more.  And so, I woke up one morning and decided I would.  I moved to London and I studied Anthropology at UCL.  They let me in because I knew a bit about bonobos.  Then I buggered off to Thailand and Vietnam and Australia and I came back with no money.  So I worked in a job I hated for five years.  They gave me a car and a phone and a computer and I got by until my soul was hanging from the jaws of Satan’s hellhound and then I left.  I found a job I hated less for the next five years and then I got angry so I took an MA in Human Rights Law.  They gave me a First Class Honours.  It was the first time in thirty one years that I began to think that Mrs Cruickshank could have been wrong.

Life happened and I decided that it’s too short to waste it on being too afraid to do what I love.  So I wrote a book and now it is sitting on an editor’s desk and it is waiting to be read.  And I am waiting.

 

 

Image, Steven Spielberg in Jaws mouth, source: http://www.geeksofdoom.com/2013/06/07/must-watch-young-steven-spielberg-friends-react-to-jaws-oscar-nominations

 

 

About me, sharp teeth and other things

I was born at three o’clock in the morning in 1973, under the glare of the bedroom ceiling light, on a bed covered in plastic sheets in a square 1960’s semi-detached house in Yorkshire.

When I was five years old, my first teacher was Mrs Cruickshank.  She had steel-blue eyes enlarged to a terrifying googliness by her magnifying spectacles that were framed in pearlescent, pink plastic to match her pink rinse.  She wore maroon crocodile shoes and fawn-coloured tights that flattened Daddy Long Legs on her strong, old lady calves.  When she gave her special smile that was reserved only for little boys, a deadly venom dripped from her canines.  In her presence, I could not speak or think or move.  I was paralysed in fear.  I was utterly mute.  Mrs Cruickshank was a whiz with a wooden ruler.  She told my mother I was stupid.  I agreed.

Later on, I found privacy from the intrusiveness of my rowdy family in writing and I escaped in words.  Inner sanctum did not last long.  The three sisters took English exercise books from my school bag and read my stories out loud to one another for their evening entertainment.

‘And then I woke up with no arms and legs!’ squealed Marjorie in delight.

The evil trinity howled hysterically and revelled and rolled around in the morbid gore of a shark attack.  They mocked my imagination which they considered to be uncharacteristically dark for an eight year old girl.  I don’t know why they were surprised; we had all watched Jaws 1 and 2 together after all.

Jaws-Spielberg

            At high school I met a friend.  Her name was Ronda.  She didn’t like P.E. either.  I enjoyed my first truant with Ronda.  Instead of walking into the changing rooms, we conspicuously walked across the chalk-white lines of the school field and ran into the woods.  Legging it, as it was called, with the prison-like deportment of the hulking school mass disappearing steadily from view, was exhilarating.  It was freedom.  We enjoyed hanging around the disused playground while tufts of grass crept up the rusted, blue metal poles of the swing frame and grew around our woollen tights.

I should have been in the sports hall being picked last for the netball team and shouted at by Miss Yates for not running fast enough or not defending or not attacking or not catching the ball.  That ball.  It came alive in my butter-fingers and bounced off sweaty palms into the hands of my opponent.  I did not want an opponent and I did not want the ball.

And so, I truanted and then I truanted more and then Ronda, Nicky and I drank Ronda’s Dad’s home-made plum wine and looked at his pornographic magazines one afternoon instead of attending Biology.  It was biology of a sort.  Only Nicky evacuated plum wine all over her school desk in the next lesson.  And then I got caught over and over again until I earned the grand title of ‘truant’.  I became adept, or so I thought, at forging my mother’s signature on my truant notes but unfortunately I wasn’t very good at that either.  By the time I had earned the grand titles of ‘inept truant’ and ‘ham-fisted forger’, school was almost over.

I didn’t try because I didn’t think I was any good you see.  I said I didn’t care but I did.  I cared.

At eighteen I started working in my Dad’s surgery.  I remember a lady there talking loudly.  Her name was Doris.  Her hair was translucent, blond-grey and it gleamed in harsh strip lighting.  She was talking to another woman.

‘I mean I feel sorry for all those coffee-coloured kids…they don’t know where they come from, they don’t even know who they are, I mean who’s going to want to marry them?’ she said indignantly.

I looked at my forearm.  It was the colour of coffee.  Not the greyed, dirty dishwater colour of Mellow Birds.  More the colour of a nice, warm, nutty Arabica bean monsooned in Malabar, with a splash of cream, I prefer to think.  But I do know where I come from.  I was born where I was conceived; on that saggy old mattress.  And my Dad was born on an island six thousand miles away and he fell in love with a Yorkshire lass.  And as for marriage, ‘well I’m too young to think about that’, I thought.

But people like Doris made me want to know more.  And so, I woke up one morning and decided I would.  I moved to London and I studied Anthropology at UCL.  They let me in because I knew a bit about bonobos.  Then I buggered off to Thailand and Vietnam and Australia and I came back with no money.  So I worked in a job I hated for five years.  They gave me a car and a phone and a computer and I got by until my soul was hanging from the jaws of Satan’s hellhound and then I left.  I found a job I hated less for the next five years and then I got angry so I took an MA in Human Rights Law.  They gave me a First Class Honours.  It was the first time in thirty one years that I began to think that Mrs Cruickshank could have been wrong.

Life happened and I decided that it’s too short to waste it on being too afraid to do what I love.  So I wrote a book and now it is sitting on an editor’s desk and it is waiting to be read.  And I am waiting.