Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Fifty Seven
“Well, it’s a shame I never got to meet him but I suppose there are lots of people I can’t meet because they are dead.” As ever Sash’s logic trumps all known knowledge and spins you around to face yourself.
“Well, that’s true darling, that’s true.” I haven’t told her about the rotting bungalow on the Costa Blanca. It only exists in a pixelated image on my phone and that’s where it can stay for now. I can only imagine how excited she would be and then how disappointed with the reality.
“Are you sad that he died mum?” I take a sip of wine and contemplate this. The fact that I am not sure how to answer, maybe means that I cannot be that sad. Or maybe that is sadness, that feeling of not knowing what you feel and how to process it?
“I don’t think I am sad Sash. Same as you, I didn’t really know him. I mean, sure, I met him but it was a long time ago and he wasn’t about much anyway.” Sash purses her lips to one side.
“That is pretty sad mum.” It is, it really is. Dad wasn’t really very interested in me. Perhaps he didn’t even want a kid. I can’t imagine my mum was that keen on the idea but who fucking knows how that all played out before I was even born. Maybe I was a mistake. I reckon all the best people were. I wasn’t trying to have a kid but when Sash popped up, she was the biggest thing in my life. How could you not be interested in something that you created, on purpose or otherwise? Maybe it was mum’s sadness that kept me and dad apart. We were both running away from her misery, that shabby blankety that engulfed us. She could murder the mood in the house with a dark look or an unkind outburst. I mean, I ran away, why shouldn’t he have?
“Is nan sad that he died?”
“I’m not sure Sash, I think she’s still a bit in shock. She hasn’t seen him for 30 years either, it’s gonna be weird for her too. I am seeing her on Friday, we’ve got to go to London to sign some papers about dad’s death so I’ll see if Jimmy can come and sit with you in the evening if I’m late back, if that’s ok?”
“Of course it’s ok mum, I love Jimmy.” And Jimmy is love, apparently.
“Were you ok on Monday night mum because I sent you a message when I was at dad’s but you didn’t reply and that usually means that you have gone a bit funny.”
“Oh, I’m sorry darling, yeah I did go a bit funny but Jimmy was here and he looked after me. He even told me about some of the things that happen when I am a bit funny, it was interesting. Apparently I talk a lot and say weird stuff.”
“Did he tell you about the drawing?”
“Drawing?” She looks a bit panicked but she takes a deep breath and carries on.
“You do drawings when you are a bit funny. Jimmy thought it was best if we hid them because it might freak you out.” I kinda like that her and Jimmy have been conspiring.
“Do you have them here?”
“Most of them are at Jimmy’s, there were just too many to hide here, I think there’s some in the drawer over here.” She runs off to the set of drawers and rummages. I haven’t drawn anything for years, at last I didn’t think I had. She returns with a wad of about a dozen sheets of paper. I take them from her and put them on my lap. The first one is a sketch of a crucified man surrounded by clusters of women wailing. It’s in pencil with some ink detail that has been started but then abandoned. The next one is a woman on her knees, her hands together, like she is pleading with someone or something. I have no recollection of either of these but I know they are from my hand.
“I think they’re amazing mum, I didn’t know how good you were at drawing. That’s why I was happy that you were going to work at the gallery because I thought it would be nice for you.” I feel tears on my cheeks and I don’t know if they are happy ones, sad ones or just lunatic ones. I look at the next picture. It’s of a couple, the man behind the woman, almost kinda spooning but obviously fucking. The man looks sullen and the woman is far from bright and breezy too. They look sad in their sex. She has great tits.
I think about the drawings as I go about my day. I am cooking a pasta sauce and the fucking couple swirl around the pan with me. I sit for a piss and the crucifix appears on the tiles, the poor bloke still sagging from his hands. When Sash goes to bed, I go through the drawings. I still have no recollection of actually creating these but they do feel familiar. They mostly seem to involve people in some sort of state of suffering and they are usually being observed too. I’ve never drawn anything like this before. Sash said it was a fairly recent development in my episodes. I sat on the floor with them strewn around me, surrounded by my new friends and their weeping and wailing. Now I’m observing the observers and I wonder who is watching over me.