I haven’t posted anything in a while. Probably because in the world of Elise, there has been nothing to report.
Apart from BIL’s wedding. But its a very long story, and I don’t have the energy. Besides everytime I think about it I think; Did that really happen??
And then there’s of course the new job. Yes, another one. I have a good feeling about this one… But for some reason I don’t feel like posting anything about that yet.
Mother, however, can always be relied on to make my furious fingers tap away, producing a torrent of swear words.
Last night Solicitor and I stood outside in the spitting, poor excuse for rain sharing a cigarette. Something we hardly ever do. We don’t smoke.
“You’re mother is impossible.” Solicitor rasped, taking a deep puff.
I pulled the cigarette from his fingers and did the same. “Tell me about it.”
I remember visiting Mother and Step-father when I was young. She insisted that I learned to ride a horse. I was terrified of being so high up. I could have quite happily stood next to the horse, stroked his face and talked to him instead, but I was hoisted up and forced to ride.
Sister was a natural. She would happily take long muddy walks with Step-father and Mother, come back and have afternoon tea and fruitcake.
Step-father (her real father) even showed her how to skin a rabbit when she was 8 years old!
I’d step back and watch the country life from a distance. The type of life where they’d go hunting and wear mis-matched clothes. They’d walk out into a field and take a deep breath of the fresh cow shit and call it “fresh country air”.
Mother always said that I wasn’t trying hard enough to like it. That there was too much of Father in me.
“Seriously, Elise, don’t take this the wrong way, but she really is a fucking poor excuse for a human.”
I nodded. She was always pretty severe as a mother.
Her hugs were stiff and she didn’t get the concept of “kissing it better”. She was more likely to say “Elise, tripping up was a very stupid move.” Forget my bleeding knee.
The smoking stemmed from the monthly phonecall she made to complain. Complain about my life choices.
That I’d never be welcome in the Country Club.
That it was “highly unfortunate that I’d married Solicitor when Tobias’s cousin, the one that owns that field, the large estate and the flock of pheasants. You know, Elise. The one that brought that tasty hare to the Benneton’s last September. Of course you were there. No, that’s right, you refused to come that day. Anyway, he’s on the market and already has a nice healthy mare.”
I stuck the phone on loud-speaker. Just so Solicitor didn’t think I was “taking it too seriously” when I burst into tears afterwards.
Solicitor’s face tightened in fury as she went on and on. She didn’t even pause to see if I was still on the line.
“I was hoping that you’d take a leaf from your sister. It’s such a shame about you. Your always looking at ways to embarrass me! You’ve had your fun with the portuguese man. Everyone goes through it. Your father was my distraction. But its high time you grew up and settled down.”
I hung up before she could go on any more. There was an angry silence.
“Are you sure she’s your grandmother’s child?” Solicitor asked.
I shook my head. “She was never like this before. When she was with my dad she was… different. Well, she was always cold, but…” I shrugged. “I suppose she more like my grandfather. Grandmama’s.. you know. Nice.”
“The woman may be posh, but she has no family morals whatsoever.” He bit out. “Does the sanctity of marriage mean nothing to her? What about values?”
“I told you!” I cried. “I told you that she’s like that.”
“Elise, I – my background has never been an issue with us.” He struggled with words. My heart leapt at the thought of what he was trying to say.
“I love you.” I told him forcefully. “From the moment I first saw you I wanted to spend my life with you. Mother can say what she wants. Besides, Father is of Spanish descent! She’s one to talk.”
“My God! Your poor father!” Solicitor shook his head in disbelief. “She used him.”
I nodded “I know. He was completely broken when she left him. Took his anger out on everyone. I sort of thought he hated me for a while, but it was just her. It’s like he was nothing to her but a rebellious phase.” I paused, trying hard not to let it get to me. “Too bad for her I got in the way of forgetting about him.”
“Even if you weren’t born, Grandmama would still be as close to him as she is now.” Solicitor said firmly.
We sat in silence for a while.
“I need a cigarette.” I said finally, choking back on tears and erupting memories.