Saturday, 26 December 2009

Higher Ground.

The solar panels got up before October and the snow fall. There was only a few hundred dollars left to the royalties check. I accomplished something and that was all that counted.

All the excitements is over. I started getting into all too familiar ruts. Day to day life gets you there. I was mom MUM than woman. I cooked, I cleaned, I helped with homework, I got up and started it all over again. After several weeks of that the thrill of Chrystal wore off. It seemed like a decade since I saw the girls and Eric.

I don't really like this role of MOTHER. It takes everything away from a woman. I guess it is fine if that was all you wanted to be in life. I don't get the people who choose to be mother and mother only. But they also choose to be wife and all that comes with that.

When Charisma lost her first tooth right before Halloween it made me painfully aware she had no father to tell. All those mile stones feel a bit lost. There is no-one else to share it with, other than the other girls, who range from 'I could care less' to 'she better not get more than my last tooth'.

Sometimes I feel bad for him for missing all these little things. Than I remember I haven't received a birthday card, Christmas gift or even a child support check in over a year. I remember he has a new family and will still experience it with the replacement children.

Then I realize I feel bad for my daughters. This town is filled with the normal two parent families. It really is painful when teachers make the girls make father's day presents or cards. When the girls protest "I have no father", they are told "everyone does". Crying does happen on father's day and Christmas and when other children ask where their father is at odd times.

This town is not equipped to deal with single mothers and their children. They keep trying to remold the children into the two parent family that just doesn't exists.

Then I realize this is the children's reality. Some of them are growing up not even remembering he was here. The older two lament and wonder why he doesn't love them any more. The younger ones shrug and tell people openly they don't have a father and he ran away with a tart and started a new family. They have showed a lot of the towns people who are not used of such honesty.

Then I realize it is me who hurts. And sometimes not having someone to share those times with hurts me most of all. I had wanted more for my daughters.

Thanksgiving comes and goes. We have a modest meal. I killed a turkey in the woods. I had to do this all when the girls were not around. I found myself waking up very early to pluck it's fathers and gut it. Somethings I learned on the farm growing up have come in handy. Tom saw me in the market picking up some extras for the feast and asked why we haven't been in church lately. I made up something flippant about exploring witchcraft. Then laughed. I really just don't feel like being judged by a whole building of people. I am doing a good job of that myself.

I managed to keep up the phone bill this long so I treated myself to a call to Eric. I asked him when he was going to make good on the promise of visiting me in East Bum-fuck. I was hoping the name I dubbed it would peak his interest. He said soon. You know the soon that you don't put too much of your hopes and dreams on. He said Crystal asked about me once or twice, but he found himself a nice girl that lives in Boston. I wasn't holding out any hopes for a relationship on that one. He was only really a few night stand.

Black Friday. It is the best time to get really cheap clothes, each girl gets new pajamas, shoes, jeans and a top and new undies. Amazingly this coast more than you might think when you times it by four. But that is my Christmas budget. I refuse to go beg. Maybe I should rethink that. But as of yet I still have my pride. Even if the school nurse, teachers and principles have all person called me to let me know where the free toys for Christmas were.

Sometimes I think my pride gets in the way of my children's happiness. Part of me hopes Ian will send a huge box for each child full of toys and chocolates. He will see the light and realize he needs to be a good dad. The more practical side of me says he has just plainly forgot we even existed. Out of sight out of mind, like a infant.

We trim the fake tree in half homemade things such as popcorn strings and ornaments. Funny I remember when we only got one present each. Today children are expecting a pirates booty of gifts. I wish I could turn the television off until after new years. Anyhow Cindy left the computer. That should be good enough for one year. Not to mention I tell them they have electricity for Christmas.

Christmas Eve and we are making cookies. It is truly fun. Freedom is glued to the computer emailing her aunt and chatting to some friends. I really need to sit down and learn how to us it. I always seem too busy. I will, I promise myself, New Years resolution.

A knock on the door.

We all stop and look at each other.

We all knew where Cindy was, she was at our brother's house in the Northwest, Freedom was just talking to her.

Maybe it's Ian with presents. I didn't say it, but I think the thought when through us all at the same time by the existed look in the girl's eyes.

Knock again with a Ho Ho Ho.

The girls get existed and demand I open the door.

I open the door.

Not Ian, that's for sure.

There was a 6 foot something black drag Mrs Clause with a shorter fashionable Santa, There were three drag Santa helpers and 5 full sacks of goodies.

Ho Ho Ho.

"Girlfriend, you going to just stand there or are you going to let us in, it is cold than a witch's tit out here!"

"AHHHHH " I scream as I hug them all as each came in.

The girls just stare as the Clauses come in.

The sacks get put down by the tree.

"Oh, these are the girls!" Mizty proclaimed and went up to each one. The younger ones except them all. The older ones step back and look with caution.

"Freedom, Solace, these are my good friends from Boston. They are alright people." I said. They still look cautious.

"They'll come around, they are your daughters after all, don't worry about it, darling" Eric said.

"Look we brought Christmas spirits!" said JuJu Bee and she pulled out 4 bottles. "I hope we have enough?"

Christmas just looked up.

"Do we get to open the bags now?" Charisma asked and all the girls nodded in agreement.

I looked at the adults. "One present, the one that is under the tree. Everything else will be tomorrow morning. "

A chorus of "Awwww, Ma" came from adults and children alike. But I figured what was in the bags were a lot better than the clothes they were about to open.

The girls opens their clothes and were slightly disappointed.

"No go to your rooms and put your new jammies on, than we will finish with our night with out friends."

With that they rushed up to their rooms.

"I have a few extra rooms , PLEASE stay." I said back to my old gang.

"Sweetie, you don't have a choice!" Juju Bee said

"We weren't going to leave without seeing the gifts opened." Siouxie said with a kiss to my cheek.

"You actually have a fireplace! Any chestnuts?" Barbie said

"This is so absolutely country! Darling, we have to say we went on holiday in the country for an old fashions Christmas!" Mizty said to Eric as they were all settling down.

"I am happy you are all staying, and yes, I do have chestnuts, we have a chestnut tree. I saved some for tonight to roast. Luckily for me, some is about 10 pounds."

Cheers went around the room.

"Let me find some glasses." I said as I ran around the kitchen.

"And what time is Christmas mass, Butterfly?" Mizty said so matter a factly. "Oh darling, Eric, go get the bags."

"Mass? We stopped going to church." I am busy looking for glasses so she can;t see my stunned look.

"I NEVER miss Christmas mass! It is the only time I catch up with my lord and savior, he wears a dress , too, we have a lot in common. So we are all going to Mass, do you understand me!" Mizty sounded a bit miffed that I would suggest we would not be going.

I got the glasses and the idea of drag queens coming to the little odd church with the star if David in it on Christmas sounded very appealing, everyone likes a Christmas surprise , right?

"9 am, plenty of time to get ready after opening presents or should we open presents after church?!"

"9 am is early, I think we should open them after" Eric decided.

"Then it is settled." The girls returned to a bunch of ahs and ohs from the queens. "Girls presents will be opened after church tomorrow."

Hot Chocolate, wine, Rum and chestnuts were served. We all broke out in song. Mizty at the piano, me with my guitar. We haven't sang in this room since Ian left and this, I must say, was far more fun.

And some stories waited for the girls to go to bed.

Mother should I build a wall

The Crystal affair left me in a high even after he left to be with his family for a week. His father had past and he needed to make arrangements and help his family as any good son would.

I offered to go and help. But in reality we didn't know each other well enough and I was now part of a world he never wanted his family to know about.

We left with a hug and a kiss and promises to meet up again after he returned.

Eric helped with the bar tending and I made a bit more money with my singing.

Time flew that week, first part of the week letting loose my carnal desires and the second with my head in the clouds. It's Saturday again.

As the girls are finishing up their set Mizty at the microphone says "Hey, people, don't forget we are open during the long holiday weekend, so don't be a stranger. Strange is fine, a freak is better!" He made a meow sounds and some lude moves.

I laughed.

Than thought ' what holiday weekend?!'.

"Have a great Labor Day if we don't see you again! And if you are drunk, don't drive. Seriously we have numbers of cabs by the door, and the door boy wont let you drive if you are drunk."

Labor Day, shit shit, school, shit shit, Labor Day, shit shit school. Fuck, I got to get home. Cindy's going to kill me, I asked her for a few weeks. It's been a month. Shit. I am turning into my mother. Shit. I want to stay here. Shit just call me Bobbie.

I must have had a weird look on my face and for some time, I didn't see the show end fully, I didn't see the people leave, I didn't see people cleaning up. I didn't see Mizty and Eric in front of me.

"How long the girl been like this?" Mizty asked Eric

"Since you made the announcement about driving drunk."

Slap. Across my face a black hand with well polished nails.

"Shit, Labor day, Shit, School, Shit, Kids, Fuck!"

"Ah" they said together, and looked with a knowing smile "she remembered she has children. "

I stopped my chant.

They looked at me.

"Child, if you didn't wake up soon we were going to do it for you on Monday morning." Eric said.

"Yeah, we I was a little girl, first day of school was the day after Labor Day." Mizty said

They looked at each other again.

"I gotta go!" I said.

"You gotta go, than go, after supper though." Eric said.

We went home to the flat. We cooked, we ate, I packed. We exchanged addresses, and their phone number, as I don't have one. I counted my money, enough to get through winter with. To get food. Some clothes for the girls. Some oil for the tank. I drank lots of water to flush out the booze.

We hugged by the car. We invited each other to each houses. I made them promise to visit. And I started home. It is 3 am and I am going home.

The drive took two plus hours to get home. The dawn was coming up on the ride home. I could see it in my rare view mirror. I felt I was running away from the sun, from my own happiness. Logically one would not want to run into the darkness. The thought that I was being just like my mother, running away from my children to start a happier life snapped me back. They will never understand how much of myself I am giving up for them. And in the end I think they will despise me anyway, it is the nature of children as they grow to dislike their parents for the things they did or didn't do. But in the end we will have each other and I will not hate me. Some sacrifices are worth the price that is paid.

I pulled into my long drive way. Cindy's car was there covered in dew. I could hear the sounds of the chickens. It was so quite here. I forgot. I don't hear the girls. I go up to the door and unlock it. I can hear people sleeping. Mercy always snored since she was a baby. I resisted waking them all up for my sake.

The house is a lot cleaner. Some changes were made, furniture rearranged, new pieces here and there. And is that a new t.v. in the corner not too far from the other t.v.?

I got out the griddle. I got out the ingredients for pancakes. I started making pancakes. The noise woke Cindy first. She came out of my room with a baseball bat.

"Hi sis." I smiled at her "Want some pancakes?" I said as I handed a plate out towards her.

"Hi sis?! You left a month ago! You said a week or so! You needed som time to digest Mom's death! A WEEK!" She was not happy. I expected she might not be.

"SHHHHHHH. You'll wake the girls with a start with all this yelling." I smiled as if we were just normal sisters having a normal argument. Not me having to take my medicine for leaving for a month.

She glared at me and breathed in deep. I could tell she was about top yell louder.

I cut it off quick. "So did you get to bond with the girls? They are great aren't they. Smart and loving. " I smiled as if we were really having a normal breakfast conversation. I finished setting the table and flipped pancakes.

"BONDING! YES they are loving and smart and wondering where there mother was. I THOUGHT I WAS ABOUT TO ADOPT THEM!" She is getting loud again. "HOW COUDL YOU? do that to them? What kind of mother are YOU?!" Now she is in my face.

"What kind of MOTHER am I?! I came back. That is a lot better than Bobbie ever did for me! She abandoned me with those nasty people in the middle of nowhere and started another family and became perfect mom of the year with YOU! Tell me? How much did she leave you when she died?" Now I am glaring at her.

"Mom was a great mom! How much was left to me is NONE of your business! I can;t help it if you were a mistake! Don't diminish MY MOTHER!"

"So unlike me, she never dropped you off at a relative's house you never meet and never came to visit you, she didn't tell your siblings you don't know of that you were their aunt and she didn't have sex around you? Damn, you missed out on all the fun! I but her pet name for you wasn't Ugly , either! You poor neglected girl? Hey, how much did she leave me? Or my girls, her granddaughters she never saw!"

We were in each other faces. She was as judgemental as our granny. And I was trying not to be Bobbie, but man my rage over all those years was coming out, unfortunately the sister with the charmed life and the perfect family is the one who got it.

"HOW MUCH?" I demanded to know.


"I can see why she wanted to forget about such a throw away person like you. She wanted forget she had such a demon spawn. I can't help I was born with a perfect face and after she was done with the drugs, I can't help you were the product of a teenage runaway and a drugged out hippie. Someone who would so easily forget her own children and abandon them with a stranger."

She was being very self righteous right now.

"You were not a stranger, you were their aunt. A family they didn't know they had. I left them with FAMILY, not a STRANGER. "

"MAMA!" the sound came from the entrance of the kitchen to the hallway that lead to the bedrooms. It was my girls.

I smiles and went over to them, hugged and kissed them all.

"Don't fight!" Mercy looked at me.

"Yeah, you are sisters! You are not supposed to fight all the time. You are not supposed to make each other hurt!" says Solace

"Right, Mum? Sisters are not supposed to make each other cry. Isn't that what you always say?" Freedom added

"AHA" Charisma chimed in.

"Yes, yes, you are right. Right, Auntie Cindy? Sister's aren't supposed to hurt each other." I look over to Cindy.

She tries to hide her anger and pain. Just as I am doing. The girls never knew what my mother did to me. Never knew much about my childhood beyond the good things I told them about hunting frogs and Moses. Freedom doesn't even know the name of her father. Nor the circumstances of her birth. Since I made her a British citizen as a baby she didn't even know she was born in America. Even the girls born here I made British citizens.

We sat and ate breakfast. They missed my pancakes.

"Girls go get ready for church." Cindy said when we finished.

"Church?" I said, not really wanting to go back.

"Yes! Church, we go every week." She said back to me.

Church was odd, as normal. I could hear whispers about me.

"She back?!"

"I thought she left for good. "

"Those poor girls! Why couldn't she just stay away. I wonder if that nice Cindy is going to leave now."

I looked each one of those bitches in the eye. Being with Queens taught me a lot about self respect. You know backstabbing bitches seldomly want to look you in the eye.

As Church ended the preacher reminded us of the church and town fair and bon fire the next day.

I was surprised I made it through church without passing out. I didn't make it much mast the living room without falling asleep on the couch.

It was dark by the time I woke up. Cindy and Freedom had made Sunday dinner. Roast chicken and veggies. The smell woke me up. Solace was on the small t.v. and Charisma and Mercy were on the big one.

"Hey, " I said to Cindy as I got up. "I;m sorry I was driving all night. I didn't mean to fall a sleep on you."

"Hey, your home, that's all that matters. " Cindy smiled back at me and the girls.

"What's with the small t.v.?" I said, not really understanding why we needed two, never mind two in the same room.

They all laughed a little.

"O.k. let me in on the joke."

"That's a computer." Charisma said.

"O.k." I said examine it. I never had one. I saw one. But it wasn't something I really cared about.

After supper I got caught up on the Internet, and when the phone rang, I found out Cindy also paid the phone bill and got it turned back on. It seems from opening my mail, all the bills were caught up too.

I had some crow to eat. Cindy said it was alright.

I explained all the money I made when I was gone. First thing she wanted to know was if I did it legal. I just told her I played gigs. I didn't explain where or who I was with. Too much. Hell I finally got her to see me a a normal person again.

In the mail was also a note from Kim. With a check. It seems since no-one can contact me he , as my relative , negotiated for a company to use one of my songs in an ad. This was lucrative. Enough money for some solar panels. It would take care of a lot of my energy problems for the year. I know most people would go spend it on a new car or something frivolous. But I am always thinking about the long term tomorrow. This is country life. I am back in Mama mode.

The next day we went to the fair. We all had fun, we all were a family. The girls signed me up for the talent contest.I sang it with all the attitude I had in the clubs. I didn't care that I was in a small town.

I didn't care that no-one here liked me and wished I'd stayed away.

Oh, I liked to mix it.

And the towns people, well it seems a lot of them liked my music.

I lost. But true enough the winner was a cute little girl. I got second prize.

"Hey Emma. I thought you were just great!" Tom said as he came up to me all smiling.

Tom is a bit older than me, by about 5 years. He is about 5 inches taller too. A bit of teddy bear. He is one of those normal guys that tend not to talk to me, ever.

"Thanks, Tom."

"You should be yourself more often. Seems like someone or something turned on the Emma light while you were gone."

"Emma light?"

"I got it from a movie I saw once. It means it's better to be yourself than trying to be someone else. I guess."

"Thanks, Tom." I smiled at him.

A second later my girls came and dragged me away to watch them in the sack race.

It was a good day. We were all tired.

Cindy told the girls at supper that she had to go and might not see them for a while.

Tears ensued. Promises to keep in touch via email and phone were said.

The next day was the first day of school and Cindy and I got the girls off to school. After the school bus left so did Cindy.

I got cracking on getting some solar panels with Mercy by my side.

Life is so different than a week ago. All my time is spoken for again.