How To Build A Skeleton Heart: love letters

How To Build A Skeleton Heart: love letters

November 2009

Dear You

My sister calls me at 3pm. I mean its 3pm in London where I am. I didnt think she would know that until she asks me why I’m not at work teaching in a school. I tell her that I did a half day today. It’s a lie. I did not do a half day at a school. I was determined to not tell her anything about my work or lack there of. It would get back to my parents and they would worry. They certainly do not have the mon ey to get thier transatlantic daughter out of sticky financial situations. Im not like Racist private school educated Callum from Adelaide. Traveling around on money supplied by his Liberal votimg parents.

My sister is the one with exciting news. She has called to tell me I am going to be an aunty. She is pregnant. Her and her partner are very excited. I say all the right things and voice my happiness which is sincere. I get a bit of a twinge of pain in my heart. Not jealousy. Its just the understanding that this is news I will never get to share. Being born with no uterus makes it difficult to get pregnant, you know? Impossible. I think being an aunty will include all the best parts of being involved in a child’s life without the crushing pressure and expectations of being a parent.

It was not just a twinge. I am far more emotionally extreme than that. After the twinge came rage deep unadulterated rage. Directed not at my sister, she cant help being born with a fully functioning reproductive system. I was angry and furious at myself. If I had the strength I would have gone outside after hanging up on my sister, and picked up a van parked nearby and hurled it at a house. I would have purchased some jet fuel, poured it over some stuff and set it alight. Because I wont ever have to make that decision regarding to have or not to have a baby. To grow or not to grow a tiny life inside of me for nine months and see in what horrific ways it will affect my body. Again I am very happy for my sister. Apparently it took my sister about five minutes to convince our second youngest sister that the pregnancy news was not a prank. Which is not unjustified. ‘I’m pregnant!’ was something shouted as a joke a lot. When she told our parents my father exclaimed in his big booming voice ”I’m going to be a Grandad!”

I don’t think Iv’e told you much about my living situation. I told you I live in a room with JP. I have not told you about the other people I live with in this big run down double story house. The worst part is the live in landlord. He is a weird guy in his 50s who lives here rent free as a perk of keeping everything and everyone in check. He makes sure nobody has sleep over guests. His name is Patrick and I hate him. He is very creepy and is weirdly obsessed with JP. He always makes stupid jokes that are not funny and keeps trying to convince JP not to move back to Australia. AS IF HE HAS ANY SAY IN HER DECISION.

The bedrooms all have more than one person in them. In the doenstairs bedroom near the front door, live the South Afrikan family: mother and two grown adult children, one man and one woman. The adult kids go to jobs in call centres every day and look after their Mum who is so so nice. The other day I stood in the back yard with her and chatted while she smoked. This was how I found out what led her and her kids to be here in this house and sharing a room.

Imka told me that her husband died of cancer 15 years ago and she has been agoraphobic ever since. She and her children are living here and saving up to get a small unit of their own. Patrick is not nice to her either. He asks her every day if she’s ‘going out, later,’ knowing full well she never does. I am drinking tea from my Eeyore mug that I got from the supermarket as Im listening to Imka and she comments on how much she likes it. I say thank you and decide to give it to her when I leave when ever that will be.

There are two french boys in one of the upstairs bedrooms. About 19 years old and very into music. They went to Camden and came back wearing super skinny jeans one boy in red ones and one boy in white ones and it looked good not ridiculous! They like to hang out in our room and the other day JP had to tell one that they were sitting on a pair of her underwear. and he says nonplussed in heavily accented english ‘I don’t hear the underwear complaining.’ They also enjoy standing outside the bathroom door while JP or I are in the shower. They giggle and ask how wet the shower is. ‘Are you enjoying your shower? Are you getting nice and wet in there?’ They say obviously amusing them selves fit to burst. It is a bit funny. In another room is a Canadian guy who loves to watch Three And A Half Men and laughs at all the sexist crap therein. Thats all you need know about him. He shares a room with this lovely guy from Brazil who is working as a chef and sending money to his wife and child back home.. He has cooked stuff for JP and I a few times. Real food cooked by someone nice who says that a woman’s place is not in the kitchen, is the kind of reverse sexism I can get behind.

I have been reading about witch trials. It is amazing how simply finding a way to survive without a man was considered supernatural and thus evil. In 1324 third of November, a woman named Petronilla de Meath was burned at the stake in #Kilkenny, Ireland, for witchcraft. Petronilla was the maidservant of Dame Alice Kyteler, an Irish noblewoman. Dame Kyteler had managed to outlive four husbands. Several of the children of her deceased husbands accused her of acquiring her wealth through witchcraft, possibly involving murder. She was held for trial and charged with a list of crimes by the Bishop of Ossory. Petronilla was tortured for information and “confessed” that she and her mistress had applied a magical ointment to a wooden beam, enabling them both to fly. Dame Kyteler had the wherewithal to flee to England. Petronilla was left behind, and so she went to the stake alone.

Thank goodness I was not born then and there.

miss you heaps

JX