April 9th, 2007
|02:03 pm - A new story. Part 1|
My mother always said that I was her monkey baby. It has become the stuff of legends; Mala, the baby with the monkey grip, who clung to her mother with tiny hands and feet, silently watching the world.
My mother, Deira, returned to work, directing and stage managing theatre productions three weeks after I was born. No one expected this because her pregnancy was horrific. She was crippled with nausea and constantly exhausted from the weight growing inside her. Deira was a tiny woman and, even at 9 months pregnant, she weighed little more then 50 kilos. The birth itself was similarly dramatic. I was loathed to leave her womb and protested fiercely until, 11 days after I was expected, they cut into her swollen body and drew me, kicking and screaming, into a loving world. But despite the violence of my birth, Deira’s recovery seemed almost instantaneous and so, three-weeks after my birth, I, the monkey baby, was clinging to her clothes as she directed Michael Gow’s Away.
Deira was only twenty-one when I was born but she never felt that I stole her youth. I was planned although the men she was sleeping with at the time knew nothing of ‘the plan’. You see, I was her second pregnancy. When she was eighteen she had accidentally conceived but miscarried two months in. She was devastated. She had accepted her role as a mother the instant she learnt of her state and it tore her apart to relinquish the baby she had began preparing for. It took her several years to become pregnant again, not for a lack of trying but, in her own words, ‘it took me that long to find men stupid enough not to ask if I was on the pill. I would always be truthful if they asked!’ When I reached a certain age and Deira discovered that she was suddenly the mother of an attractive girl with breasts, she suddenly began inserting bias into her stories of my conception. Overnight, it seemed, she started to shake her head and chide her past-self, adding contrived passages such as ‘I still can’t believe I didn’t contract some sort of disease!’ or ‘Boys do have a right to know what is happening with their sperm!’ into a once triumphant story. However, I know that she did not regret her actions in the slightest. They gave her me and I am the world to her.
After several years of never finding a man trusting enough to unwittingly impregnate her, Deira suddenly found an abundance of them. I never called any man ‘father’ but I knew from an early age that there were three potential candidates for this role. I know that in the first months of my life the idea was raised of getting some sort of test to decide who should claim the title but Deira fiercely objected saying that, as they thought themselves old enough to have unprotected sex, they were old enough to play at father to a baby that possibly was not theirs. I think there was more to her argument then this but I have only heard it from the male perspective. To me, my mother simply says ‘it’s your choice, not theirs. If you want to know who your father is, then get the test but that will reduce the family by two!’ With this threat hanging over me, I still today refuse to be tested.
The first potential father is Rohan. He was a talented young photojournalist at the time of my conception. His response to the sudden acquisition of a baby daughter was the most vehement but I still think that all three men handled the news incredibly well. My mother invited the trio out to lunch and, in a busy café in Fitzroy uttered the memorable if wordy sentence “I’m pregnant and one of you is the father so you had better learn to like eachother.” Rohan’s response was equally memorable: a loud “Fuck!” is said to have come from his mouth followed shortly by “How the fuck did you let that happen!” When their initial responses had died away Deira went on to say that she had wanted the baby and that she thanked whoever the father was for giving it to her. “I don’t care which one of you it is because I think all three of you are amazing. My baby is going to be incredible and I am so happy!” she declared, eyes glittering with a passion usually reserved for theatre rehearsals. As far as I can work out, this proclamation quelled the first round of protests from the trio and they all kissed her and, to show what incredibly good sports they were, congratulated her and each other, shook hands and Rohan got the bill. I think this was because he was the only one of my quartet of parents who had any disposable income at this time.
Current Mood: content
October 8th, 2006
Remember Alba? She was the girl who found me at the end of the treasure trail. I did not want to see her again. Her serenity made me feel inadequet. Her vividness made me feel dull and pointless but two weeks ago she came into the library. I watched her move through the shelves. The world seemed to grow dim and I was suddenly concious of my body falling apart. I seemed to be melting into the floor, running between the cracks in the boards and escaping into the gray sunlight outside. Alba strode up to the counter, still concentrating on the pile of books in her arms. Because of this she did not recognise me until she had places the stack on the counter and beamed down at me expectantly. There was a moment of confusion, recognition and then horror. I guess I have changed alot. I have lost even more weight and everymorning handfuls of red hair fall out onto my pillow. I have stopped mensturating. I seem to bruise easier these days too.
'God, are you alright?' She asked.
I could hardly hear her and it seemed to take a long time to come back to reality.
'I think I am sick. Would you take me home, Alba?'
I thought that she would return me to my own house (it never occured to me that she did not know my current address) but that capable woman sat me down, spoke with my ever generous boss and was soon supporting me out to her car. In 15 minutes, we were back at her house where she gave me orange juice and put me to bed. I have lived the last two weeks in the house of this woman who was practically a stranger. She fed me, bathed me, cleaned my vomit and brought her medical student friends to debate my body.
At the end of the week I still felt terrible but I could recognise myself as human.
I do not know why I continue to be saved by the charity of others. I forever being rescued. Maybe I was put on this Earth to test the humanity of this world. Well, Alba is an angel. She took a drug-fucked, starved, sleep-deprived girl from behind a counter and has been by my side ever since. I have started to gain weight at last. A very subdued Clemmie has been to visit me four times now. She does not seem to be able to look me in the eyes.
I have recieved a letter from Toby. As always, he seems to know what has been happening to me. He suggested we go on a holiday. I laughed a little. It felt nice.
Current Mood: thoughtful
September 9th, 2006
Drugs puncuate my life. They are the ends of my days. They lace it was emotions which I would otherwise be without. My days seem bland and pale; colourless but my nights are incredible. Sleep, which I had previously thought was imperitive to my survival, I now find I can go without.
Simon once again made the treck all the way from SA to sleep in my bed whilst I camped out in Clemmies room. For three night he listened to Nathan lurk outside my window and, on the third, my ex climbed into the house and landed on the end of my old housemate's bed. I think he must have been drunk for he mis-took the frame of a six-foot male for my hollow, fading body right up to the moment when he tenderly stroaked Simon's face.
I was not there, obviously, but Clemmie peered through the open door and saw Nathan shoved up against a wall whilest my lanky, red-headed lad whispered agressively into his ear. He told the chef to back off or the police would be called in and they would see to it that he lost his job.
It seems to have worked. For a month, I hardly heard a word from him and you know what, it hurt me. I know how stupid it seems but I have never felt so lonely in my life. With the exception of my damaged angel lying in his negelectful parent's house in Sydney, almost all of my friends are in South Australia. I go to work. I come home. I wait for Clemmie. We eat our first and only meal for the day. We take something. We listen to beautiful music. We go to work again.
July 15th, 2006
Well, two days after breaking up with Nathan, Clemmie and I moved in together. Thanks to the money I saved with Nathan, I have enough to pay $55 a week in rent. Two days after the move, Nathan came around to drop off a jumper I had forgotten and ended up staying for tea. A quiet, sullen tea it was with Clemmie desperately trying to keep the conversation going. Two days after that, he brought around a series of presents he had found for me around the city. They were things which he had seen our lovely little house was missing: a kitchen bin, bathmat, hand towel, dust-pan and brush, two brightly coloured buckets, and a sandwich maker. One day after that he brought us a spice rack complete with turmeric, cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks tied with string, dried bay leaves, garam masala (which he had made himself), equally home-made curry powder, black and green pepper corns and chilli flakes. This time I thanked him but said he was making me feel uncomfortable with all these gifts. He left quickly that day. Two days later he called saying he was in the neighbourhood and could he drop by. I said I wasn't at home but he knocked on the door 40 seconds later anyway and Clemmie answered and let him in. The three of us shared a dismal cup of tea.
I did not see him for four days. Then he started calling. It began when he was drunk with an abusive message left on the answering machine. Twenty minutes later it was followed by an equally drunken message during which he sobbed and said he was so sorry but his heart was broken. He called five more times that night. The next day there was, naturally, the call of apology, the call to ensure I had got the apology, the call asking to take me out to coffee (and Clemmie too if I was too angry to be alone with him) by way of making up, the phone call abusing me for not answering the phone and the call which I answered telling me he would never stop loving me. My mobile had 15 missed calls from him in one and a half hours.
It had been horrible. Twice I have gone down the street to shop only to find him sitting by the window of the local coffee shop, waiting for me with chai in hand. Nine times he has knocked on the door and, when no answer came, wandered around the house, looking for a way in, tapping on the windows and laundry door.
It is making me paranoid. Nathan and Yarabik have merged in my dreams. They charge in at anytime of the day or night to snatch my boy away from my and strike me to the ground, hurling sticks of cinnamon tied with brown sting into my face, asking for money, saying they will never stop loving me and gripping my wrists with iron strong intensity. Last night I slept under my bed for fear that he/they would peer through the curtains as I slept. Tonight I plan to sleep in Clemmie's bed with her. The lock on her window is more functional.
Current Mood: scared
July 2nd, 2006
I wish that I could relax when in a relationship. I continually get the feeling that it isn't nearly as terrible as I think it is. Nathan isn't a horrible man and yet I know I speak of him as if he was my prison warden. He is, in fact, a fabulous man. I would go so far as to say that he rescued me from Alice. He whisked me from the hospital ward when I had nowhere else to go, charged me nothing to live in his house, cooked me beautiful exotic meals, brought me a warm jacket, drove me to work, included me in his family Christmas and supervised every detail of my life with loving obsession.
He is a good man. That makes it harder at times. He can say time honoured lines such as 'After all I've done for you' and 'Is this how you re-pay me?' and they really mean something. Those clichés suddenly have power when you know that you really do owe the speaker such a lot. I didn't really know how to respond. I stood there and ran the ribbon of my dress between my fingers, not taking my eyes off of his feet. 'Sorry' didn't seem quite adequate.
Did I use him? I guess I did. But it didn't seem so bad at the time. I felt that I was the one being wronged and that it was my self worth that was being diminished. It never occurred to me that, by staying with him in the face of my doubts I was making him suffer. Once again, Alice's warning that I am completely 'naive' was proven correct. At least this time it did not cause the permanent disability of a friend, only the loss of a lover's self-esteem.
Current Mood: contemplative
May 20th, 2006
Today I smoothed my dress; tied back my hair with a ribbon, gathered up my chalk, left a note for Nathan and left the house. I created a treasure hunt in which I would be the final prize. I left clues in chalk, pinned to the bark of trees and incomplete maps on walls. I finally ended up in a park, by a lake where I sat for hours, waiting for Nathan to come and find me. I waited there all morning, watching ducks, fingering the lace on my petticoat and looking for the shape of a dinosaur in the clouds. Finally, at 1:30, a girl approached me.
"Are you the treasure?"
I was completely surprised. In my short-sightedness, I had never imagined that someone would follow my trail.
"Yes I am. Did you like my hunt?"
"Very much so."
She looked to be in her early 20s and our conversation later confirmed this. She is 23, studying fashion design, speaks with the remnants of an Irish accent and is named Alba. We went back to her house (after I had drawn on my seat to say that the treasure had become bored and wandered off) and she made me Dahl and flat bread. We then spoke for several hours of very sweet, happy things. She smiled a lot. She seemed to glow with good health and good will. I was intrigued.
She was so completely free of the taint of bitterness that become part of my staple diet. You see, even if it looked innocent and sweet, my setting out this morning- party dress on and chalk in hand- I knew that Nathan would not come. I deliberately put in enormous amounts of effort and planned to sit on that park bench all day, hating him for his absence. As the day wore on, I began to feel more and more miserable. Finally I left. We said we would meet up some time and what a lovely day it had been but I dreaded meeting her again. She made all the shortcomings in my life so obvious.
I returned home. Nathan said 'hi' and I said 'hi' in return.
"Had a nice day?"
"Yeah. You didn't come looking for me?"
"I was busy."
And it was. But God how I wished it wasn't! How I wanted to yell and scream and drive a knife right into every one of the beautiful pies he had been working on all day.
Current Mood: guilty
May 7th, 2006
Well the last month has seen more bruised arms, bloody specks on clothing, an appalling cough and two close calls with the police. Nothing too serious.
Toby is moving around in a wheelchair. He sent me a photo. He is smiling, knuckles white with tension as he clutches the arms of his source of mobility and cheeks much hollower than I remember. He looks very young.
I sent him a picture of myself. I am sitting on a bench between two friends, one of whom is stroking my hair whilst the other slept in my lap. I am not quite smiling but I don't look sad. I'm gazing over the head of the photographer. I thought I looked quite old but Toby informed me that I had never looked further from my actual ages as I did in that picture between those two large friends.
I wonder if he sat and stared at my picture as long as I stared at his. I felt such an agonisingly long way away from him. I wanted to smell the apricots that proclaim his presence, hear the rustling of his feathers and press his skinny body to mine. Then we would not need drugs or chairs or doctors or oppressive chefs. We would not even need music. The two of us would just sit there and feel strong and breath in the scent of each others nearness.
April 9th, 2006
Occasionally it all gets too hard. Last night was one of those times. With the help of Clemmie I injected things into my poor abused veins that I didn't even know existed. I drew all over my arms, stomach and breasts with pretty smelling pens, crawled over the living room floor and concentrated with all my energy on a smear on the wall for 40 minutes.
Today I'm not quite sure why I did it. I know it was triggered by most boss at the library. She said that she could see a trend in my past and current relationships.
You always fall for bastards. Think about it: Elijah mayherestinpeace turns gay and sleeps with your brother, Yarabik leaves you with his son, returning occasionally to bash you up, Alice is a mad, manipulative bitch.
It is not for me to say.
Not for her to say? She had just said he was a bastard and yet she wouldn't say why?
After that it seemed appropriate to bruise my arms and hide beneath my hair all night. My thoughts were continually drawn to Toby. Had he really damaged his body in such a way? Did he enjoy it? Did I? And why the fuck was that smear so amazing?
Current Mood: thoughtful
March 18th, 2006
|10:20 pm - The Mortal Moon, Part 2|
I graduated from High School one December day, when the sun was so hot that the angel cakes melted and fell apart and the beer that flowed over the linked hands of my classmates was warm and sickly. We drank it anyway. Excitement and lust filled us, making us stupid and daring and we clutched our companions’ sweaty bodies to our own. There was a boy with long, dark lashes and a red shining mouth which I kissed in the street just to prove that I could. He laughed, shaking alcohol from his hair and licked my ear before returning to his crowing friends.
Randolf is sitting in my apartment, his bald head moist with perspiration, hunched over the lap top we share.
"Your ferns could do with some water."
"Yes. I forgot about them."
And so I make up for my bad parenting by drowning the poor things until their pots overflow. I mutter an embarrassed apology as I mop away the evidence. From my vantage point on the mud streaked floor, I peer out as the moon darkens my window with its arthritic passage. His head lolls to one side and I hear the faint hint of a moan, carried easily across the now silent city.
"Seems odd to bother with ferns with him looking so shit."
"Like it is pointless to continually tune an instrument? We must keep up a semblance of normality."
He is right, of course. The creature has been dying for generations. But now the hang of his head, the shuddering of his mammoth body and the groaning cries he utters make entire cities pause as he passes, hoping desperately that he will not fall, not until the next city, at any rate.
The man nibbles on dried fruit and scrolls up the page.
"I hope it happens soon, at any rate. This constant fear is shattering us all. Besides, I get so tired of the baying of dogs."
I nod and watch the street below, where a teenager crouches in the dust to tie her shoe lace, pressing her hands against the concrete for a steadying moment before rising again and walking on, head bowed in fear of the creature above.
Current Mood: disappointed
March 12th, 2006
I will finish the moon stories someday soon but now, now that I am safely back in Victoria, I will tell you of my trip 'home'.
I stayed in my old share house, snuggled against my old friends, being licked by my old dog and eating apricots off of my old tree. I went and visited my old place of employment, noted the smell of old books, marvelled at the angelic figures of the customers and was welcomed happily in Spanish by my ex-boss. I looked for Toby along the banks of the river and did not see him but then I didn't expect to. I was recognised by 5 people just walking through Rundle Mall, my hair stroked, my cheeks kissed, my body embraced. 'You've lost weight! I didn't think that was possible!' 'My God! Your hair is so long now, darling! I always forget what an amazing colour it is.' 'You look exhausted!' Little observations that let me know that I am loved and remembered.
And then I saw Him. Well, He saw me first actually. I felt his eyes on my and turned with the knowledge that I was about to be struck down. His foster mother was in a heated debate with another white, middle-aged, wealthy woman and Tolly hung off of her hand, twirling about her leg, gazing at me from the safety of that strange, compassionate alien. I managed to smile at him and wave like everyone does when they see a toddler regarding then but this boy, my boy, hugged the woman's leg so tightly, so fearfully, that she lifted him up onto her hip and cooed at him.
Tolly continued to stare at me, over the woman's shoulder until the conversation was finished. Only then did she notice his fixation, turn, look confused, jiggle the child on her hip, bit her lip, turn away and vanish into the crowd. I was left, standing beside the brass pigs, head ringing from the blow that I had predicted moments before I saw the boy.
Current Mood: crushed