Of course, however vexing the suicide of Spider-boy’s ‘ts’, or mindboggling his intimate belief he engages in the world of work, that post, I realise, was my way of ignoring something else today.
Usually if I post I feel complete when it is written. The soothing power of words, occasionally neatly ordered, sometimes even making sense or eliciting responses. They are my socially acceptable recreational drug of choice (along with ice cold chablis and white chocolate buttons from the baking box). But today isn’t one where any mere words, certainly not words what I’ve wrote, will do. And white wine won’t cut it either.
Today is a day for a black dress and cowboy boots and an enormous glass of red wine (fuck the tooth stains) and messy hair and smoky eyeliner and glassy irises and a million cigarettes and a jukebox overflowin’ with melancholy words and fighting anthems that someone else is singing. Preferably Springsteen or Eels in my case. A day for swaying in the company of strangers or screaming into the wind with friends. For crying and red lipstick and staring life right in its motherfucking eyes and kissing it with sick in my mouth.
What’s bothering me, terrifying me actually, is an issue which I suspect may be as old as Eden. So obvious it is silly. For all its veneer of 20th century complacency (get us, with all our healthcare, and luxury) I suspect if Eve could stop munching her apple with all its additive crunch for one minute the first thing she’d spit at the serpent is that chunk of risible knowledge. The juicy mouthful that allows us to ‘know’ something AWFUL might happen. To our kids, our parents, our lovers, our friends, our pets, ourselves. I’m usually self-righteous about relativism but in this case, pick your poison.
This weekend the newborn was back in hospital. Just for one night. Just for observation. Mainly, as it turned out, just for a cold (which was presenting in a breath stressful way) and a rash that didn’t disappear under glass (but didn’t really materialise into anything unnameable either). He’s fine. He’s lovely and gorgeous and fine.
In fact he greeted March with the finest shit of his three month career and a sing song collection of babble chords. His eyes beautiful marbles gazing into mine. Then, exactly as I started my immediate two-parent panic (that Spider-boy had died in the night because I was too worried about his brother). I heard his stockinged feet clambering over his mound of toys and saw his sparky black eyes too, as he ambled across the landing, yawny and oblivious and alive and perfect.
I’ve heard a (poem?) quote which suggests having a child is like living the rest of your life with your heart outside your body. I don’t think it is exclusive to having a child, just to being in love and to loving. I remember the night I fell in love with my husband, under a cheap duvet, lying watching him breath feeling I might scream at the knowledge he might, one day, die.
I spoke to a colleague once who said you just can’t think about all the awful things that could happen to your kids (car crashes, drowning, leukaemia, fatal allergic reactions, cancer, SIDS, abduction, rape, murder and on and on and on). You have to turn it off. And not ever think about it. Ever. Or you’d go mad. And I think it is the answer, seeing as we’re a little late to give Eve the Heimlich.
And I know this is the bit of the post where I should glance over my kitchen (I am) and out to the crocuses (they are there, purple and poking through where was recently frozen solid), where I should tell you Newborn is snoring on my lap (he is, and a glorious piglet rasp it is too), and I should smile ruefully that although I do actually have cowboy boots on I am happy to stay in tonight.
But actually I suspect I may have to drink red wine. And though I will stop, before things get messy, I would rather not. I would rather rail into the night forgiving Eve but calling life, with all its love, and fear, and brilliance, and futility, and tragedy, and joy, and possibility, and all that too-much-for-my-head-bloody-knowledge, a great big motherfucker to his face.