Hiding in the shed.
Last week I was enjoying a conversation with an old friend. His name is Rory. Rory and I go a long way back, I know a lot of intimate secrets and unwise deeds in his past. He’s a thorough bollocks and has a shocking attitude to women and marriage, child-raising and lots of other social issues. Once you know his history, however, it’s possible to begin to understand, even if you can’t condone his behaviour.
I was shaving my legs, and he was filling me in about his most recent conquest, and the result: a five month old son that he never sees and has no desire to see. I am past being shocked by any of Rory’s tales and I know he never exaggerates, so I dropped all pretence at sermonising and just tried to take it all in.
While I was conditioning my hair, he finally told me the unvarnished truth about the impact of his mum’s infidelity, ripping apart the family and blowing the lid off a small rural community, 20 years ago when such antics were absolutely out of the ordinary. I nodded and listened, afraid to stop the flow of confidences.
Suddenly a little, anguished face pressed up against the foggy glass of the shower door. “MUM, Sinead won’t let me use my gymnastic mat. She’s having a doll’s picnic on it!” I glanced apologetically at Rory. “Don’t go” I begged him. He doesn’t appreciate it when my life gets spilt over into our relationship. “I am in the shower, go away.” I bellowed at the sad, hurt face.
Thirty seconds later, a second insistent body pressed up against Rory’s and my sanctuary. “Mum, will you teach me how to do yoga?” “Jesus, what would I know about yoga? I AM IN THE SHOWER! GO AWAY!”
Less than a minute later, the return of the first supplicant: “I tried to push Sinead off my gymnastic mat and she tried to bite me and now my tracksuit is all covered in stinky mouth germs” he wailed. “Christ, babe” Rory muttered, “If I wanted this shit, I could stay at home with one of my own kids roaring at me, I’m off!” He disappeared back into the corpus callosum linking my left and right cerebral hemispheres (yes, well, I am a veterinary surgeon in real life!) and took his half-told story with him. Sighing, I climbed out of the shower. The creative process had ended for the day. And that’s why I now write in the garden shed.