I looked back on my words.
“You had a wonderful birthday. I dressed you cutely, as one is supposed to do with babies.”
I wondered where my attitudes came from, really.
I have seen so many babies dressed in commonly considered “cute attire”, my stomach has turned: I know that. I have not felt them to be cute – more, off-putting. And I have felt it ugly of a parent to “make” their baby “cute“. I know it’s common, and commonly accepted, but something inside me objects.
Dad dragging us from bed, we stumble into the piercing light of the lounge. The men look us up and down. Dad slurs drunkenly that we are his daughters. I rub my eyes, wonder if that’s drool glistening through the stubbly greyish beard of one of his mates. Old Diggers from dad’s glory days – when he had a real reason to drink. There’s a long silence. In the cold of Melbourne, my nipples harden through my thin t-shirt. From dad’s ramblings, I think he is proud of us, but I feel sick. Proud of what – the look of us? the young of us? the temptation of us? It is a long moment, and the men seem to drink us in.
I never came to know what dad was proud of, but it was thoroughly clear as my bulimia developed, that dad deemed it a requirement of female to be slim-hence-attractive, to be noted.
A band on a baby’s head is the worst, to me. Not only is it nine times out of 10 such an odd prop, but also it is blatantly nonfunctional. It is clear and obvious you have stuck that on your baby’s head in an attempt to “make” them “cute”. But to me, there is nothing so ugly as a baby (or animal) with an odd thing on its head.
Why do we dress children in manner of dressing a doll? Why do we favour the cute, pretty or thin? Why do we –
I know my views are not the norm. I have oft realised that. I have apologised. And I have wondered.
I was due to pick up Daniel in 40 minutes.
“We played last night and it was great. People tell me we look good together. I hope I can teach you discipline and manners and how to be honest with your soul, by being all these myself.”
But they did scar their progeny, for life.
For, what they have known, they have passed on. How can you pass on something you do not know?…well, unless our heart itself conceives of a better way to be, and wills earnestly not to pass on a baton of pain – and so it is that betterment which we pass on, in stead.
And how many children are scarred for life, when really they could have healed long before?
But a scar does not heal: ?
I have the potential to inadvertently harm Daniel, for I stumble regularly – of mood, energy to exist, of ability to cope with sometimes the “simplest things in life”. That which spurs me on – some facet of me whose spirit drags me from quicksand, puts words in my mouth, spins me in the right direction so that I march on along the path I believe in – I do not know, myself: I just rise again and again and again,
after each fall.
Who is she?
Dad often said “Time heals all wounds” and I resented that he was waiting for time to absolve him, rather than facing what he did to me and apologizing to me – or explaining to me wherefrom inside himself that monster had emerged which afflicted me – for I was afflict still, with a will to die.: not willing to endure more pain.
To live day upon day is just so damned difficult. What words would bear my headstone? ‘What the fuck?’
Dad just would not talk with me what I needed to verbalize, so like vomit regurgitating at the back of my throat every day, was memory of my childhood.
“I have looked back on a page here and there and realized I really have crapped on a bit in this journal… last read I felt like stopping this whole book because it was catching me at some odd turns…I am embarrassed, really, and yet feel this is valuable because I wish my Mother I could have known more, and she died when I was six. Who was she, what did she feel?
This is why I write tis to you, Daniel; so that if I should die without putting in a good many more days, then you may know your Mother.”
I closed my journal. How many days would I record in it, our days? What is driving me to write this journal?
As I turned the car out of the parking lot, into the laneway and onto Stirling Highway, “I lay back in labour for you, son,” I recalled my words written.
Who the hell did I think I was talking to/writing to? How many diaries – well, Anne Frank the exception – really are read by those picking up the pieces of your life following your demise, and determining what to throw in the trash? My journals may be kept for keepsake as they clean up my rooms, before my funeral – for it is difficult to throw out a person’s heart, melted gold blood poured through a pen.
“I bore so much pain, and look at the reward – your smile, your heart that shines through your eyes. Your beauty, your mind.”
I began to ache to see Daniel. How had his night with Chris and Tracy been? Chris has infinite funds for going to Chinese restaurants (he cooks, but seldom) – did they take you out? Was Phong nice to you? Did he play with you at all? Or did he lie in his room, like I when a teen, pulsating with the pain of this life, thus far?
“I hope to protect you from they who would rape your innocence. I love you dearly. Whatever is your fate, I am there with you.
Your mother. N”
I had to double-check the street directory because I was not familiar, but finally I rolled up at Tracy’s.
Copyright, Noeleen&Daniel 50/50