Once, I visited my grandparents. This was a bit scary, as grandma is said by some to be mad. All of the women in the family are afflicted, so say the men. I only went to ask their advice but they were so frankly mad that I didn't get around to it.
Rumour has it that in their day, they were as cool as fuck. But i can't see it.
They are always looking in the newspaper to see who has died and if it's someone grandad has fancied or grandma fell out with. AND they always make me eat carrot juice, brush my hair using mane and tail, a horse grooming hair product.
Plus the fact their house is on top of a hill.
Anyway, I'd better go. I've got to go and talk to my friends.
This is all i can remember about her, Grandma Lucy when i used to go and visit.
Like i said she is nuts. She had been 'away' for a bit too. She lived in her own world that's what mum would say. She once threw an ashtray at me, then they wouldn't let me go around anymore. I heard that she died but I didn't go to the funeral, it was too far away and mum would be upset.
She denied that she had a family when she got old, just acted like mum was never born and took up with any bloke who would have her. As long as she lived she kept rambling on about some bloke called, what was it... can't remember but all the time same thing, sorry. This is all i can remember now. She did leave me a ring, in the shape of a bird, Indian silver. She also gave me some books, with handwritten notes int he margin. I wish I'd known her, but it would have upset a few people. She felt a bit dangerous to be around from time to time. I heard she killed a cat once.
'Well, I'm fine now. AND I saw you hide that chess piece in your shoe you cheating shit', an elderly gentleman told off his glamorous elderly wife.
'FUCK OFFF', his wife replies. I did not hide anything in my shoe. Anyway at least I haven't slept with the world, in my day.'
With mock surprise, shaking his high cheekbones and still dark hair, he huffs. Breathes out and says' how fucking dare you, you've lost again you do realise.'
' Well, I'm going out you dick, I can still pull you know'.
' I know,' he says and they both shuffle off to eat their dinner, howling with laughter like a pair of twats.
That's all i can remember. They were just nuts, always bickering. They did seem to love each other a bit. She would turn green if he read a book instead of staring at her, seriously!
LISTENING TO PANDORA RADIO
One night, in 2070 Lucy dies. She had few regrets about her fate. There were no children and no friends to attend the funeral. Once, she would have liked to have a well turned out and jovial family to go to the funeral, wouldn’t we all. Lately, it didn’t bother her. She was more bothered about her soul. Often seen at the local church, several of her fellow churchgoers considered her a friend. Her body was taken to Johnson’s Undertakers in a local town to be prepared. She wasn’t easy to get along with and her school and university friends drifted over the years. The funeral was paid for though. In her will, she had asked for a poem to be read and for some pieces of music to be played. The Vicar tried his best to carry out her last request. Standing in the wooden pulpit in a room that smelt of damp and wood, he read the clumsy poem in an embarrassed but laconic tone.
Ahem, My J,
If you knew how much I have missed you since 2008
it would stop your hate.
Where did you go?
I loved you so.
My one, my one true love.
I lost my way,
So sorry today
That I killed so many
many years ago.
I can never now rejoice,
Until I hear the voice
Of our God and Saviour
I wish I had never ceased to devoir
Our passion like a fruit full of Juice
To quench any thirst no matter how hot the sun
In any land, for any time
You remain mine.
Forgive my blackened soul, my one.
I might have taken your life.
The Vicar paused to consider whether there was another side to this woman that had remained opaque. He had only half read the poem before he read it during the funeral that rainy Tuesday. Lucy had been a regular at the church service often enough with her long black hair streaked salt and pepper. She was a good baker. Preparing lemon drizzle cakes once a year for the local fete, before she had a breakdown. Rumour has it it wasn't the first time she had been sectioned. But the reason she died was apparently due to medical negligence, she’d been physically well for some time but in fact had not been admitted to hospital in time. She was dehydrated and it wasn't picked up. Locum doctor from Iran missed it, the few old folks there chattered away at the back of church.
The last time Reverend Holloway saw her, he said during the sermon, she asked him how he was despite her being ill herself. The epitome of good manners. He knew it had not been easy for her, although her family had been resident in England for many years several had returned to India for business opportunities were better there after the last great recession. A few relocated to Dubai. She spoke about one or two cousins but like so many of us she relied upon the church to give her strength. As he continues to speak with passion to a near empty church, an old man shakes, his two crutches awkward in the pews. There is a little too much dust and one lady starts to sneeze. The Reverend got a few facts wrong, but he only had his own good memory to go on, to remember what to say about this bad of bones tucked into such a small coffin adjacent to the pulpit.
As Mrs Mcghee an old busybody in a hat clears her throat, a young man appears at the back of the church. A young Asian man with tears in his eyes. He is looking down, his hands are in his expensive deep navy blue overcoat. Polished shoes give him the air of a rich man. His suit, white shirt and pink tie are spotless. A few murmurs go around the congregation. The young man is wearing an expensive watch. If he was to take off the watch you could read the engraving on the back.
Nothing could allow him to leave her. He did love her. Even his ghost could not leave her
The same watch, on the young businessman’s arm now as he sits weeping, was given to him by Lucy when they were together in his flat. The item would never be worn she thought and did not bring the two together sits in a box under bed for a long time. His mum and dad took his possessions home to India. The watch is engraved as follows:
Dear J, keep rocking, all my love L x
He did not get the Joke maybe, Lucy hoped that was the only reason he was so quiet. Was there even a Joke though? She’d meant that they should keep going, keep living and well being them. But maybe it was a clumsy way to say things. Really she could see how lame it looked
An expensive watch, for someone seven years younger, who probably just wanted to chill out with someone while something better came along. She’d come on way too heavy.
As the vicar reads the little poem, struggling to read clearly as the handwriting is shaky, the young man begins to sob.
There is a diary in her home that the undertakers find when they direct the men who will clear the furniture from her home after Lucy dies.
Today I went over to Jaycee’s house, her two sons and their wives were visiting from Spain. Their little daughter is here too. I offered to babysit and the little one will be coming over tomorrow while they all go to see a film. I’ve tidied up. The kitchen table has a big plastic tarpaulin over it and paints. I had to ask next door if I could have some of their son’s old toys so that she will have something to do when she is here. They will drop her off at four.
I went to the doctor’s today, I am feeling ok, but have had occasional dizzy spells. The surgery was packed. I am still trying to walk as much as I can. I’m happy where I am. Really, this place is beautiful in the snow.
Diary, I wanted to tell you something I can’t say to my friends in the church. I have in my life got things wrong. I was stupid when I was younger. I would get paranoid ideas and I think I was very ill, there was a time that I was arrested for murder. I dreamt about it the other night. i had a few love affairs in my day. I was actually beautiful from some angles, I think. Looking at the photos no longer Mum and Dad used to say that. But I don’t think I ever appreciated them. For their time, coming from northern India too they were not so bad not too hard on me. They let me learn to drive and after Mum died my Dad did everything he could to help me. Instead of taking a suitable match, I decided to go out with an English man called Andrew who did not stand up to my family. The Uncles in India were not happy and said that I should not see him anymore, I went along with it because I wanted to keep everyone happy. If he had agreed to marry me it might have been different but he had his own family very quickly. I became fast friends with another man called Johan Ahmadi and I have written about him before. I know that I did not kill him, I can see now that I was under a lot of strain. But sometimes I used to falsely suspect him of being a philanderer or a bad person. He was actually a sculptor and an astute businessman. I got into a state. I think that I went to see him and found a note dropped outside with an address on. I was pursuing him and wanting to know where he had gone so I drove up to an abandoned property and went inside he was there dying and I picked up the knife but I could not see who else was there. I wanted to save him but it was too late. They arrested me, but it was all sorted out eventually. The thing is, people were harder to get along with from then on. I couldn’t stop thinking about that one thing. People said I was depressed but I was not, I Just loved him too much. When he died all that was left of him were the photos and listening to Pandora radio. But they barred me from listening to Pandora radio, it was only available in the USA.
What I mean is I wish that I had taken the chances that were given to me and not been so afraid and so passive throughout my life. I know diary, I can hear you say it is not over but form time to time I wonder about that. Could I have saved JJ if I had been stronger. Why did I care so much if her did have a dancing partner called Katia. It might be the rose tinted spectacles of old age but I do not see how I have helped myself or how I have been a productive person. Diary I’d better go they are bringing little Laura over, I’ve got a casserole in and some samosa for me.
When she returns from taking the little one for a walk to the park to feed the ducks with a bag of stale bread, kept especially for them, Lucy opens her diary again.
Looking at it twice, she cannot understand who would pull a trick like this. There is a different scrawl in the diary in a different colour pen. No one has been into her home. The windows are all as she left them. The curtains have not been touched, post still on the mat.
To my Lucy in the sky with diamonds, when you read this I hope you will finally rest. It was written that we would fall in love and only be reunited in death.
How come you never dance anymore/ have you given up, you were so bad? You said I had no rhythm that I clapped off the beat but you once hit a pillar at our salsa class can you remember that? Please don’t be alarmed. You have not got much time left, but I wanted to tell you that it is ok up here. There are a few people who want to see you and chew the fat. Lucy if you feel guilty when you die it will carry with you into the afterlife, so please forgive yourself. You were not to blame for all of this, I know that, but you seem to still beat yourself up, always grumbling on whether to this poor diary or to those neighbours.
The man who killed Mr. J Ahmadi, believed at the time that he had insulted his family’ s honour and that is why his life was taken. He had waited outside and knocked him out, dragged him to the place they were held and made his last period on this earth hateful. But no one can dampen the spirit of J. Ahmadi even in death, I would like to say that I am feeling strong, ready to begin my next project. That was a joke diamond, it is mainly clouds and angels, cue polite laughter.
The engraver in the out of town shopping centre had looked at her quizzically, when she went to get it engraved. Noting her soft pale pink Jumper had a small tea stain and that she looked as if she’d been crying. That wasn’t that unusual. She was beautiful though, he thought. She did seem demure and composed still her jeans were a little too loose. Silver bangles on one arm, no rings. Little stud earrings could be seen as she’d tied her slippery soft hair back. Her handbag was fudgy, caramelly leather. This was embarrassing for her, so he made a joke about Jack Black.
It is an inscription that someone had chosen a long time ago. In India sometimes they say ‘ it has been long’, rather than ‘ It’s been a long time’ or ‘ it’s been a while’ in England. In his head. He had come back to make sure that her transit was safe. She, Lucy whose little body lay in the coffin at the front of the church, had a person engrave it for him. He had sent jewellery to her best friend when he was alive. He had a pristine appearance and a rotten soul, some might have thought him a maggot. Many years ago in 2008, when she was young she would have killed for him.
What she hadn't told those congregated there, or the Vicar who had her confidence at times, was that her family believed her to be a fantacist and that they wanted nothing more to do with her. They weren't all in Dubai doing well at all, but if nothing else remained of her once pretty face and chirpy comebacks she had a little pride.
There was gossip. Some said she killed him. Others said she lost it and rang him every day for five years before he was randomly killed. Like most rumours there was some truth midst the crap.
The truth was that she thought he at one point loved her and needed to see her. He didn't but that isn't the point. She thought she was his friend and that he would be happy to see her. So she kept ringing. He would tell her not too, but she didn't listen. She dipped into a cold pool of madness slowly and fighting it. Then it surrounds her for a long time. People are devoid of their actual names. The man is always the one who leaves and is unfaithful. The woman is the one who is jealous and betrays her too. Thing is, you can amateur shrink her, but it is human nature to categorise and to protect yourself. Thing is her firewall was broken. Her screen was chipped. The keys mainly worked, if it was a program they knew well already.
Really, it took a long time, but Miss L Mathews realised where she had gone wrong.
She'd really wasted so much time. Pining and obsessing over an ordinary man, who didn't know her that well. The not knowing her didn't matter. She had become obsessed, it was ugly. There was still time to begin again, wasn't there? Maybe.
The Epiphany came when after years of sort of madness, she finally saw a photograph of him and realised he was really just a stranger. It didn't make sense. He was as handsome as he'd ever been, looked older a bit. But he was not hers and never had been. So yes, it was all very embarrassing now. It was giving her a migraine. All those calls, she didn't know why she had kept trying to talk to him now. At the time it seemed so important. Resigned now, there would be a beautiful bride for him. Of course, it didn't even make her sad anymore. She had to accept she was not in that category anymore. It was likely she wouldn't be able to fall in love. This is a blessing. So much freedom too much. It makes her shake her head and laugh a bit. So many shops to window shop at. It didn't matter. Being alive is all that matters. Ears and Eyes. Or even be a good friend. Even being a good friend is too hard, when you have no reason to trust left. How can I trust myself when I do such stupid things. I get crazy ideas and can't stop thinking that they might be true. Like, he really did care. Whenever you think about that just remember the watch he sent your friend. Or the time you saw him standing with his girlfriend holding her hand a few months after you split up. He didn't even admit you were together. How the hell did this happen you are stronger. Stop dwelling on this and try and deny it all. The crowing 'friends' have enjoyed themselves for a bit. I know you can fix it up.