Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Twenty Four
The bloody marys revived us all. Gemma gagged violently when she went for the first sip and held up a hand, like ‘it’s ok, I’ve got this’ before chugging down half a glass. Jimmy drank his through a straw. It’s the only drink he uses a straw for. I suspect that it’s to keep tomato juice out of his beard. He looks totally ridiculous but it also makes me glow inside. After the spag bol was demolished, Jimmy went home, or wherever Jimmy goes and Gemma fell asleep on the sofa. She’s still there now. I watch her breathe, her chest swelling like the sea. I slide in next to her and fill the perfectly me sized gap in front of her. She stirs slightly and wraps an arm around me. I don’t want to sleep. I do want to be in some arms. I feel bad for resenting Gemma’s happiness. I went to Paris once and I didn’t like it. I thought having McDonalds on the Champs-Élysées would be funny and ironic but it was just cold and I felt very lost. My jealousy is all about her having someone, being able to have someone in her life that seems to fit right. I make myself entirely unavailable to the world then complain that I have no one. It’s ridiculous. I’m ridiculous.
I open my eyes and realise that I did sleep. Gemma is sitting on the other sofa with Sash. I can hear them talking but I’m not awake enough to focus on what they are saying. Sash notices that I am awake and smiles at me. She comes and kneels at my side and kisses me on the cheek.
“Mum, Gemma’s going to Paris”’ She’s excited. I touch her face with my free hand.
“I know darling, isn’t it wonderful?” As I say it, I mean it. I want Sash to see the beauty in it and not see my bruises.
“I can't believe she’s going to be forty though mum, I mean that is really old, even dad’s not forty yet, we went to an art gallery but it was bigger than your one I think, can I still come and see you at work this week…” and so she carries on, blurting out her weekend into my slumbersome face. I sit up and Gemma hands me the last of the marys from the table. I drink a little and Sash sits down next to me “...and I think dad has a girlfriend now, well he didn’t say that but we met a friend of his and she was a woman so it must be his girlfriend…” He’s had girlfriends before, one for almost 8 years and it has never bothered me in the slightest. I wanted him to have all the good stuff that I was in no way capable of giving him. Yet today, I start to cry and through her constant stream of chatter Sash notices and looks distraught.
“It’s ok darling, mummy’s just not feeling too good.” Gemma notices too and she sits the other side of me. They both hug me at once and I feel like a fucking idiot, crying over nothing, upsetting my child and my friend because I am all fucked up today, every day. Their arms around me make it worse and huge gulps of tears emerge from deep inside. Please stop, for fucks sake Marth, please stop. I can’t.
I do stop, eventually. I sit on the sofa clutching the remains of the marys. There is still the occasional shudder and I swallow them back down. Gemma and Sash are in the kitchen doing the washing up. My face is prickling. My nose is running. I smell. Gemma comes in from the kitchen.
“‘You ok babes?” I look up at her and feel a trail of snot on my top lip.
“Stupid fucking question eh Marth? I’m full of them.” I laugh and the snot runs into my mouth. I feel it’s saltiness work it’s way into me.
“Are you still pissed off with me about Tenerife?” I don’t want to answer. I look down into my glass. The silence is disgusting. I look up.
“I’m jealous Gems, really fucking jealous and I hate myself for it.” She sits down next to me.
“Oh Marth, it’s only Paris, we can go away another time can’t we?” It’s not that. It’s not that. I can’t say. I choke on my thoughts. I want to spew them out.
“Yeah, yeah, that would be nice Gems.” She rubs my leg and looks at me.
“I know it’s not the answer to everything Marth but fuck me, I wish we could find you a decent bloke, you know, someone who would be like…” I know what she means.
“Ok with being completely mental?”
“Yeah, I wasn’t gonna put it like that but yeah.” We sit in silence for a few moments until Gemma speaks again.
“Marth, there’s so much more to you than this thing, this illness or whatever you can call it. We all love you and we all like get it, we know that you’re more than this thing.” I know she’s being terribly sweet but I can’t stand to hear any more. I lie back down and close my eyes. I feel her stand up and then the door goes a few seconds later. I want to believe that I am more than this, that suffering and confusion are just superficial tendencies that I carry around with me. But she doesn’t live here, here in my diseased head that negs away at me every waking hour and a lot of the sleeping ones too. I want to sleep now but Sash is here and I haven’t seen her for what seems like ages. I get up and go to the doorway to her room. She is cross legged, reading a paperback, her hair tied back in a messy bunch. There’s a waft of relief within me, a lightening that can’t be forced back down. Look at her diseased mind, look at her beauty and wilt in her glow, you fucking cowardly cunt. You can never, ever take her away from me and that’s why you can never have all of me. I have this and it is stronger than you.