Apologies to anyone who may have read my self pitying whinge that I posted in the wee small hours a couple of days ago. Don't know what came over me. For anyone who is interested my Grandfather is, at time of posting, still alive. Fingers crossed.
Normal service is resumed now with the latest thrilling chapter in the roller coaster story of my formative years. Enjoy.
You know what's embarrassing? You know what's guaranteed to make you squirm for years afterward just at the merest hint of a fraction of a glimpse at the memory? I'll tell you, shall I?
Imagine you are lying in bed of an evening, not quite fully asleep but at the same time not fully aware of what's going on around you, not sure in your own mind whether you are awake or dreaming. You hear the door to your room open and a looming figure makes it's way towards you. It plonks itself down on the side of your bed, reaches over to shake you awake and slurs the words " I love him, I just love him, do you understand, I love him" over and over again. By this point you are praying that it's a dream.
It's not. It's your Mam, your recently separated from your Dad Mam, drunkenly begging you to tell her it's alright that she is having an affair with the boyfriend and (to co-opt a phrase a middle aged white man should never use) baby-daddy, of her sister. The same sister whose house we were living in since the aforementioned separation. Which was mere weeks past.
You are 9 years old.
Think about that. What, exactly, do you do in that situation? I mean, do you A)tell her what you know, even at your tender age, to be the truth? That what she is doing is wrong, and monstrous, and she should be ashamed of herself? Or B) take into account her fragile emotional state and try to calm her down, gently, whilst treading the fine line of not actually condoning her actions? Or do you, C) being completely out of your depth, panic.
How many of you thought 'C' was the answer. Well, maybe a fully functioning human child would have plumped for 'C' but I was made of sterner stuff. I told her it was a great idea and I was happy for her and she should go to him right now. Then I rolled over and went to sleep.
For a while there I wondered, would a different response from me have changed the course of events that followed. Of course I know now that she was gonna do what she was gonna do regardless of what I said and in all likelihood didn't even remember the conversation, given how drunk she seemed. (And wasn't that a taste of things to come) At the time though I genuinely felt like maybe I'd contributed to the break up of Micky and Maurices years long relationship. Didn't feel guilty, mind you, just sort of thought about it a bit then moved on.
Guilt is uncomfortably close to genuine emotion you see, too much like an admission of caring. Couldn't have that; not then, not now.
The beginnings of my mothers relationship with Maurice marked the crest of a very high, very slippery slope which my mother was about to plunge headfirst down, taking us kids with her. Some of us have managed to find some purchase and get ourselves on an even footing (to various degrees),whereas she's still falling. It's doubtful she'll ever stop.