Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page
So, I am watching them mummify Alan, just like the ancient Egyptians. Day 84, the voice over tells me. Alan’s been through a lot, cleaned and coated and soaked and dried. “It’s for the grandkids,” his voice from the past tells me. His wife seems cheerful enough, “Alan made a joke out of everything.” She sheds a tear as she explains how he’ll never see the grandchildren grow. Not sure I would want to be mummified, just let the worms do their worst or their best.
I am feeling rather grandmotherly as I prepare for the imminent arrival of two little-ings from Paree… the step-children. A bouncy boy (more of a Tigger than a boy reallly), who smiles at everything unless it displeases him in which case we get a quick scowl before the smile returns (he can’t keep it up for long) and his sister, for whom I believe, life is a series of puzzles and conundrums that she is forced to deal with at the hands of adults. Whilst her brother bounces around crashing into the day, she eyes it up, assessing the pros and cons, gauging the players in it before responding to them – the result being, when she does accept and react to you, a feeling of such satisfaction, it makes the wait worthwhile. I’m covering all bases here as far as sleeping arrangements go… pink bedding in The Lovely J’s room, put-you-up at the side for one or two boys, or… girls dorm and boys dorm with the two boys top-and-tailing in Curly Boy’s room, or… visitors in our bed with dad, and me in Lovely J’s bed or… “I expect,” their dad says, “you’ll all end up in one bed, with me on the floor.”
Now I’ve done this stepping thing before… sadly it has all come to an abrupt halt due to, I do not know what… since their father and I parted ways I have not heard a whisper from either of them… less of a concern for the older one who is now almost 30, but for the younger – we met when she was 7 and now she’s 18 – it is like losing a part of the family. I have no way of knowing exactly why she has chosen not to respond to cards and letters and emails, even texts. The break up with her father was an extremely complicated and dramatic one, involving lies about being hospitalised, which uncovered a web of lies stretching back over 10 years. I am left, well actually we (friends, family, children) have all been left wondering what was true and what was not – sadly the little girl I have watched progress from long white socks (which she wore with everything) to having her first tattoo, seems to be a casualty of it all.
My nature is to be persistent, to let the people I care about know that I care, but in this case I am wondering if it might just be best to let it all go and leave that decision to her.
A rare weekend to be shared with Curly Boy, no plans, no distractions, usual chores, but they can wait. “What shall we do then… you and me?” I ask him, expecting the usual suggestions.
“Let’s just drive,” he laughs, “we could go to France, get on a boat…”
“We could…” my mind racing over the details of the spreadsheet imprinted on the inside of my eyelids… income, expenditure. Little room for manoeuvre on these shores, let alone ABROAD.
He shuffled off to bed, leaving me a-Googling. St Malo, Zeebruge, Dublin, Caen… Dunkirk! £17 day return! An adventure for under £20 (yes I know there’s fuel on top) but adventure on foreign shores for £17? All I need now is a hi-vis jacket, warning triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and I’m sorted.