-WITH HAND-ON-HeART THANKS-
To Hick-Cabbage, my many parents and siblings, especially Mum, Dad, Helen, and Janie.
To my beautiful kids for being patient and unscathed when I needed just one damned uninterrupted train of thought for the longest time.
To Shady Cosgrove for smacking me with a style guide and for swearing.
To Ben Ball who convinced me to put it here and think about the future of writing, or piss and moan about what it became without me.
To the other guy who taught me, disliked me, made me constantly nervous, but still told me to finish this because it could be good.
Fuck you man, I did.
To Kez, Rah Babs, Shez and to my rugby girls for the stories. SO MANY STORIES and for Valerie.
To the people who read the last shitty blog and laughed, not at the spelling or grammar.
Especially Mayor McCheese who once sent me sunshine from England on the day I needed it most,
& the many people who don’t, and probably won’t ever know how much they helped write this self-serving tripe.
To Mr. Jones, Kristen, The two Toms, Melissa, Meshel, Dave, Kayte, Sawhole & Brenda.
To Boy for Little-e.
To Barn, Mathew, Tibor, Hauss, Liam and
-THAT BIRD FROM THe MTV-
Just this last month, I found out my boyfriend was having a baby. This baby belonged to him and the girl he fucked while he was working in the top end. It was due sometime in February, which meant she conceived shortly before the last time I had taken off work and then battled three hours of traffic, caught a three-hour flight, hired a car and then drove another four hours in unrelenting Queensland heat to visit him.
She is keeping his baby and he owes it to her to give it a go.
I’d once hoped to have his baby. Now I hoped his baby was frightfully ugly and very large. I hoped for the coming summer to be unbearably hot. I also hoped he contracted herpes and gave it to her.
I hoped to become the kind of person that wasn’t barbed and acidic, the kind of person that didn’t wish herpes on fit, blonde, pregnant women. I hoped for something to distract me from the constant thoughts that peppered me like hot branding tennis balls. I also hoped I wouldn’t have to live back with my mother for too long. Right this second though … Jesus Christ, I wanted nothing more, than for my mother to stop banging on about that time she bedded Keith Richards just to get back at my fucking father for plonking his pecker in that bird from the MTV.
That, was a title Mother bestowed upon those who deeply disappointed her, That piece from the post office, That Margoary with her stupid misspelled name from the C.W.A, That bloke at number 14 with his very unnecessary four-wheeled drive.
Once you were bestowed with the title of that, it would never be taken back. You could save my mother’s life and you would still just be that piece from the post office who once saved my life. Right this second though, she was on about that bird your father dipped in – from the MTV.
‘She thought she was in you know,’ My mother said, pausing mid-sentence to sip her tea and roll her eyes. She pursed her lips to smack the last of the tea between her teeth at the gall of the woman from her memories. ‘In with your father, heh. Stupid woman’.
Her tone was equal parts scathing and sarcastic, with just enough sarcasm to prove she actually couldn’t care less. A tone, if used by anyone else in the house, my mother would chastise with; ‘Don’t you think about starting that jive-talk with me you little sarc-hole‘- and a squarely pointed finger.
I watched her, as she placed her tea-cup gently on the table to pour another from a white ceramic walrus that had coo-coo-ca-joo written on the side.
The walrus teapot didn’t always have that written on it. When I was a kid, someone wrote it on there during one of their odd parties, in dad’s good-thick permanent black Texta. I don’t know who. I had fallen asleep, half dangling from an armchair, listening to someone singing and playing a mouth organ along to a Dina Washington record, and when I woke up, everyone was eating breakfast in our backyard and someone had written on our teapot. My dad had seen the writing, picked it up and let out a long wheezing laugh. With a hand-rolled cigarette, unlit and stuck from his dry-hungover lower lip, he shook his head and wiped the corner of his eye with the back of his hand. ‘Ahhhh, that’s gas’ he’d said, and henceforth, we were all instructed to try and not scratch that off love will ya? when anyone washed it up.
Now though, it was the teapot my mother used to tell scathing and scandalous stories about my father to anyone who took tea with her, although I did note that she handled the teapot with particular care when placing it back on the table, also the scribe had still not been washed off.
Next, she took a teaspoon, which excavated a large teaspoon of locally sourced honey from the pot and excitedly whisked it into her tea.
I wondered if the honey may make her words a little sweeter, but she dropped the teaspoon on the table as though it disgusted her and started again.
‘So anyway, I took the best revenge Emma, and I carried on with being fabulous. That is exactly what you need to do. You need to go out, find his best-looking friend and blow him like Lester Young.’
With this piece of devastating news, my mother smiled and sipped her tea, but while she sipped, she held a finger in the air and wiggled it like she was conducting a tiny silent orchestra during the interval of her sentence.
‘I tried that of course, only poor Keith couldn’t get it up bless him. Drank too much that was his problem.’ She said matter-of-factly. She slapped a palm on the table, threw her other hand to her forehead and rolled her eyes to the heavens. It was all very dramatic. ‘Christ on a bicycle Emma, it didn’t stop him trying though, did it? Lawdy he went on and on with the trying’ My mother rolled her hand in the air, like the Queen’s wave to emphasise the on and on.
I sipped my own tea and looked in her general direction over the rim as she broke out with … ‘Eventually Emma, I had to say to him … I say… Keith, darling, what is it exactly you would like me to do with it sweetheart, would you like me to fold it in?’
I would have spat my tea had this been the first time I’d heard this story, but sadly for all involved, it wasn’t.
My mother let out a loud, sharp HA! And then slapped her thigh. ‘Wait … ‘She trailed off. ‘Was that Keith? or was that … Her eyes searched the ceiling for her train of thought. She didn’t appear to find it. ‘Oh… Wait … Never mind, too long ago and now it’s gone, the point is Emma, you have to be better than her, which, you already are of course, but you need to go and remind yourself of this and keep reminding yourself until that baby is born. Mark my words, when he is laying in the bed he made he will think of you and how fabulous you are, and cry like a newborn kitten on the inside’. A little more gently she added, ‘listen, love, it isn’t your job to drive the Karma Kombi, but it is ok to ride it where it takes him and then smile and wave at That Jude’. Another, it seemed, had been given the title.
I smiled and rinsed my teacup then kissed her offered cheek as I walked behind the table and out of the room. My mother didn’t mind that I didn’t feel like contributing much to the conversation as she got the most joy from hearing herself tell a story anyway, plus, what the fuck was I supposed to say about that?
Meanwhile, there’s something else I have to tell you about teacups …