Friday, 20 May 2016
She’s lost her teeth again.
‘She is my sister-in-law, you know, my future sister-in-law’, speaking firmly, insistently to nobody, or everybody, or the window, wall or cooker. I have stopped trying to work it out, I was as selfish as a child wanting to run out and play in the sunshine with my marbles. Her behaviour, challenging, robbing me of every freedom. Even putting out the washing was a relief from this monotony.
‘And he, he is a gipsy prince, you know…….’ Of course he is, the bastard. Feel again my shock. They’d only been but two farms north – seven miles? Gipsy prince, my water…….. I’m wiping the glasses of dust – the damp tea towel wrung through my hands – maybe he’ll see me – instead of how old she has become, sucking in her lips and chewing on nothing. The real gipsy, the wanderer, my sister, my dark, slim, catlike sister, Grainne, she who has run off, leaving me the responsibility, the work. That cat, she goes away with the gipsies, and now her friend, her Man Friend is back, and looking for her, and her gone, while he sniffs around, the loveless shite. My heart is ready. My mind is still.
He may come tonight. All men need food. The weather will change, later it will be a night such as only drunks would go out, and opening the door, with the lintels dripping……. Yes, he might be made to stay……
‘Might we persuade him to stay, Aunty?’
She unwraps the thin paper…..
There may be a poisoning……
‘The cat…….’ She sucks again, her craggy skinny lips into her mouth and chews….. ‘You will need the cat………’ and for a moment her eyes meet mine and she is here, really here………the cloying jasmine scent of her hangs as it used to in the smoky air of our kitchen.
‘For Grainne’ our minds say together, and in a gently inaccurate replication of her old spells she begins to chant
‘Tea…. coffee…. cocktails…. jam………..’
The copyright of this post belongs to Fran MacHardy