a humorous look at what it was all about, now that I am an orphan
|The Adoption Annals;
(a humorously black look at what it was all about now I am officially an orphan.)
All names have been changed, though I have told most of these stories before orally on special occasions, and am likely to be recognised by close family and friends.
The one natural thing
The desiccated, bony coral has been on my parent’s mantel piece for as long as I can remember but now it is dusty and dirty and on my shelf. If you look through it closely you can see diagonal lines weaved across the wonkily straight that would try even a fractal mathematicians’ brain. Perhaps not. These impossible lines sum up the idiocy of trying to control organic life the way it would be. From the moment we three were imported into a home. It set off an irregular tangential progress that would result in a dry, clean honeymoon piece of life, the coral sitting with its base semi snapped on my front door shelf, waiting for some sort of burning rite to purify it.
The wonky lines are us, the diagonal ones are probably my parents’ efforts again and again to instruct us, to direct us and some times, without success to rectify us to an expected handed down inherited view of what children would do, what children could offer. But of course, we turned into what we always were, completely, utterly different with various habits as hang ups.
I have a habit of holding onto money. For no reason. Taking money with greed and expectation, not spending it out of fear, stinting myself on food on trips, on water in the bath, on light bulbs and orange juice. I could have had this habit genetically, but this is also through nurture. So now I spend on everything as fast as I can, to get it out there, to dissolve the net that has been holding me artificially so my little feet can touch the ground. My little feet.
I think back to the 60’s to the Sophia Loren life, they, probably both parents either donned diving suits, or went to a shop in the Bahamas, and got this piece of coral, shortly after followed by Tiger shells which stayed in my toy cupboard for an awfully long time, because in it you could hear the sea.But which sea? I thought as I listened to it, it wasn’t the sea I knew already, a foreign sea, with the warm wind sighing, and strange clams and big spotty shells wandering around on the ocean bed eating and sleeping and dreaming, and then there was me. Displaced, in my own spottiness, sitting under the bed with the crocodiles and the scary metal frame, and the mahogany head rest ever about to fall. For a start the place could have been warmer. My dressing table was the most frightening thing I have ever seen. It had a long cupboard on one side that was permanently jammed shut. When I did manage to open it, something had always slid down on the inside some hopeless, sad looking wash bag and combs. And on the other some neat little wooden drawers also with too much paint on. And over the top of all the metal runners with some orange doyly material that came across making a rasping screeching sound that put me on edge. Then a puff with a lid that opened but the hole inside was not big enough to fit any shoes, except for the horride white ones of my dead grandma, why did they give me these? I put them on, they were narrow at the toes and smelt of old people.. It is a smell you get increasingly used to as you get older, because you are old.
Anyway that takes me neatly to Viennese sweets on a very high dark dresser. These were wrapped exotically half white half the special kind of chocolate predictable inside, mauve, orange, dark blue wrappers. And sliced cucumber, not all at the same time. But through dinner, we had to look at cherubs, their puffy bottoms and rounded cheeks permanently blowing at something, but no wind came through that scary formal dining room. The only puff of wind was at Christmas with the angel chimes, going gaily round, wacking themselves on the bell. There was something awry, something a miss, between the natty suits of the 60’s the gay print dresses and funky carpets, the designer 60’s furniture and Victorian parent hood. Something wasn’t quite right, Something didn’t add up. And I have to conclude that that thing that didn’t add up, the three things to be exact were Us.
Well one of us turned out to be Persian. He’s got one over on me, I was desperate to be black and still am, twisting my nose to one side, every since I found out I was South African, I have preferred not to be called a Boer, No I am sure I’ m really african, my bum looks that way. And I am dark, not dark enough, though my son is. The other turned out to be a gregarious heart warmer of a person, deeply sensitive, I can’t really go through it all here. But they’ve all gone religious to fill the gaps, and I , according to someone at a supermarket who was impatient with me on a Sunday, am a tree hugger.
If you want to hear about Christmas, stay tuned.