Teresa is a mixed media & fibre artist and writer. She lives in County Laois with her stepson and their pampered rescue dogs and hens.
When not working, and sometimes while she should be working, Teresa can spend vast amount of hours daydreaming, contemplating, mulling, deliberating and of course reading.
In both her visual and written projects, Teresa is currently working on the subject of grief, the loss of loved ones to death, the loss of status, employment, a limb, the ability to see, the gift of creating a new life, displacement and a myriad of other forms and causes of grief.
Two pieces from a performance piece.
I’m straddling two worlds.
I’m here where you left me.
I’m there with you.
I’m in neither.
Floating above one.
Sinking below the other.
I’m stuck in a prison of my own grief.
The beautiful allure of our past has me gripped to tightly I can’t catch my breath.
I don’t want to inhale, it’s air in my lungs from a world you are no longer in.
I don’t want to exhale, in case my memories of you disappear on my breath.
Excerpt from a book Teresa is currently writing.
After Anto was well gone, like a year after, he used to come by the house with Sandra and, and what? I don’t know what they did. I didn’t understand it then and I don’t understand it now. I know he still considered it his house, the legal advice I sought told me that until we were divorced and the mortgage was solely in my name, he was still allowed access to the property, albeit with prior notice, he never gave me notice. Anyway, they used to come around the place, I was fortunate enough to always have had the heads up they were coming and I was in hiding when they arrived. One of the last times they did it, I was in a bad humour about it, having to up and run from my home yet again. Whatever about him being legal permitted to be there, she had no right to be in my home, touching my things, drinking my tea. I got it into my head that I didn’t want her peeing in my toilet. Yep, that was my main concern, she was going to pee in my toilet, and I had a major issue with that. I mean a major issue; I was furious at the thought of it. So, what did I do? I did what any deranged person would do of course, I locked the toilet door and took the key with me. As I dropped the key into my back pocket after locking the door, I felt myself smile, a mean smile. I was being a bitch, it felt good.
I spent the day wandering around. Places I knew he’d never think of. I had Rafferty with me, he was good company and as always, very loving. But I knew he would have much preferred to have been at home, chewing a bone or resting on my bed. My bed. It wasn’t our bed anymore. After sleeping on my own for so long, it was finally, my bed. I still had a problem with moving away from the edge of the bed and into the middle and I always washed and changed the pillowcases on the unused side. Most weeks when I changed the bed clothes, it made me giggle that I still did it. I did it anyway.
When it was late enough that I knew the happy couple would be back getting ready for the evening, false tan top-ups, hair straightening, false lashes……. I headed to Lidl to get some gouda topped bread loaves for me and some lean mincemeat for Rafferty. I also picked up a can of cider, why not! Although apprehensive of what I might find at home, especially after I was so blatantly bold by locking them out of the bathroom. I drove past the house a couple of times, my eyes darting around, looking up and down the street for a sign of either of them, his parent’s car, a rented car……an armoured tank! No sign. I reversed into the driveway, slowly, carefully, I was terrified he, they, were still around. I felt brave also, I felt like I was standing up to him, this was my home, and I was going in, to hell with him, he didn’t rule me anymore. I decided to not think about the ten hours I’d just spent in cowardly absence, forcing my dog to keep me company. Rafferty seemed happy to be home, he had stood up ready to get out when we approached home the first time, then when I started my recon operation, he sat back down again, I think I even heard him huff softly at my carryon.
I got out of the car, all the time watching, listening, hoping I wouldn’t see or hear any sign of him, them. Rafferty got out and he padded along behind me, sniffing here and there as I tiptoed around the house, all the time looking and listening. The Monkstown Ninja and her trusty four-legged sidekick. OK, the outside was safe. I carefully opened the front door. Again, tiptoeing around the house, room to room, behind doors, behind the sofa, down the side of the beds I couldn’t see from the doors. I breathed a sigh of relieve. I spoke into a make-believe hidden transmitter in my sleeve “All clear.” As I turned in the hall to go out to the car to get my bag of shopping, the doorbell rang, I saw a silhouette through the glass and I screamed, all at the same time. My heart pounded, I felt weak and sick. I stood there for what seemed like ten minutes but was probably only twenty seconds, if that, my heart pounding in my ears. I did that thing where you think of a load of different things at the same time; the door isn’t locked. He wouldn’t ring the bell anyway. Or would he? It’s not his silhouette. Or is it?
Somehow, I got to the door and opened it. I don’t remember getting from the other end of the hall to the front door. I know when I opened it, I gasped, I gasped for air, I’d been holding my breath. Of course, I had, I spent years holding my breath. It was Victor, our neighbour, my neighbour. As soon as I opened the door, he started talking at me, Victor talks at you, not with you. “I saw that man of yours outside today. I told him, just because he isn’t living here at the moment doesn’t mean I have to look at your messy garden. If you’re not going to do anything about it Ann then he’ll have to. Him and Glamour-Puss didn’t stay around long after I let him have it. So, what are you going to do about the lawn? It’s a mess, it hasn’t been cut in two weeks!” He turned on his loafers without waiting for a reply and started scurrying his way down the drive, calling over his shoulder “An eyesore Ann, that’s what you have here”. He waved his hand in the general direction on my front garden and disappeared around the corner between our house and his, my home and his. I sighed and closed the door. I guess I’d get the lawnmower out tomorrow. That was one of the things I missed Anto for, mowing the lawn and carrying in the shopping. Two things he always did and made sure as many people saw him doing it as possible. If they didn’t see him doing it, he’d tell them about it later “Yeah man, I was out mowin the lawn yesterday and I seen yer one from number seven walk by in a nice tight number.”
I went into the kitchen, took a saucepan out of the cupboard and put it on the cooker, I’d cook the mince up for Rafferty, it’d be cooked and cooled in no time, he’d enjoy that. I wondered would he understand that it was my way of apologising to him for me being so paranoid and dragging him along for my trips to Crazyville every now and then. I had to go out to the car for the shopping, Victor had thwarted my initial trip out with his unsolicited visit. First, I had to pee. I stuck my hand in my back pocket as I got to the bathroom door. Nooooo! The key wasn’t there.