© 2010 Nina-Gai Till
reproduction without permission.
art by BC and NGT © 2010
book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents
are a product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual people either living or dead, events or locales
is entirely coincidental.
To my own angels,
Jillian, Lily-Mae and Cara
is not a fairy tale. It’s the truth, my truth, and you’re lucky
I’m going to share it with you, because it’s not the kind of
topic I would normally get into with just anyone.
fact, if it were up to me, I’d just be kicking back poolside,
reading a trashy novel and smoking illicit cigarettes while my
children weren’t looking. But, to my great consternation, I have
recently learned that it’s not up to me at all. Not a scenario that
fills me with joy, let me tell you. I mean, would you like to be
to share your deepest darkest secrets with the world at large?
Honestly, if I’d known that things were going to end up so, well,
so public, I wouldn’t have gone to the tattoo parlor in the first
course, it’s all the fault of my ex-husband. Things are generally
the fault of ex-husbands; all of my divorced friends say the same
thing. The car broke down on the way to work? His fault because a)
had he still been around, he would have understood when the mechanic
charged for an overhaul that turned out to be replacing old spark
plugs with older ones, and b) he would have been on the way to work,
not you. Ditto for every other household, mechanical, garden and
electronic problem. Not to mention the psychologically disturbed
kids, the over-stressed dog and the under-paid electricity bill. All
needless to say, I wouldn’t have found myself in a tattoo parlor at
the age of 41, lining up to get my kids’ initials inked about four
inches above my coccyx if he hadn’t run off with a teenage gym
instructor, leaving behind only a pile of debts, two upset daughters
and some snide comments about stretch marks.
can hear you already, sighing and getting ready to put the book down,
wishing you’d picked up yet another Grisham because even if you
knew how the book was going to end, at least the storyline was going
to be original. Not another whining treatise by a bitter ex-wife.
you know there’s a club of second wives, on the Internet, dedicated
to bitching about us first wives? Seriously. I wonder if they realize
that one day, they will probably be bitter ex-wives themselves. It’s
not like the guys they married are paragons of loyalty, after all. If
this were the case, why would my ex-husband make such a huge deal of
leaving me for a “fresh, young body, unmarked by the passage of
life”? His words, not mine. When he called to cancel yet another
weekend with our daughters, knowing full well that it was my
forty-first birthday and that I couldn’t afford both a babysitter
and the luxury of going out, I was angry enough to remind him that he
was an arsehole, but when he uttered that fateful phrase about my
body, the body that had worked like a lunatic for him in our - now
his – landscaping business for twenty years and
borne his two beautiful if big-boned daughters, well, something in me
to the tattoo place. I’ve walked past it every day for thirteen
months now. Nestled in between a bank with a squirrel on the front
and a white goods store run by a large sweating man in a beret, it’s
the third shop I pass when I walk out of the front door to my
first I took it as a personal insult that, due to someone else’s
sexual proclivities, my real estate quality of life had been
downgraded from a nice house in a good suburb to a crappy apartment
in an even crappier suburb. You wouldn’t have found a tattoo parlor
in my old street, hell, the neighborhood watch probably didn’t even
let people with tattoos onto the block. But all of that changed when
the father of my children decided to get a move on with his mid-life
crisis and now I live within spitting distance of a place that marks
people for life. I’m sure there’s an irony in there somewhere but
I’m in no mood to search for it.
so it was that fateful night when I walked in and demanded a tattoo,
right then, right now, for God’s sake, and watched a couple of
hairy bikers fall off their stools in hysterics. Perhaps it was my
nice Burberry raincoat – that outward symbol of prosperity worn by
all school mummies with something shameful to hide. Or the fact that
I had mascara streaks down my cheeks from crying like a banshee as
soon as I’d bribed the grandmotherly woman next door to watch my
kids for an hour while I ran an errand, which at that point was
either getting drunk or committing suicide (I didn’t have time for
as the bikers were stumbling to their feet, still laughing and
pointing at me as if I was some kind of freak, the big black door at
the back of the shop groaned as it opened and a flash of light
illuminated the shop and its customers, just like in those tacky
stairway-to-heaven-on-velvet pictures they used to sell in the
held up my hand to shade my eyes as the bikers fell silent. As my
sight began to adjust to the light, I saw an elderly man standing in
the doorway. He raised his arm and pointed to the door, and the
bikers moved to leave as if in a trance. I desperately wanted to
follow them but my feet were stuck solidly to the floor. I wasn’t
afraid, although I was terrified. It wasn’t until the door had
closed behind the last biker that the man spoke.
been waiting for you.”
voice was calm and posed, with the trace of an accent lingering
behind in the air, giving a certain weight to his words.
looked at him curiously and cleared my throat to speak.
would you be waiting for me? I don’t even know you.”
didn’t think he was a serial killer but then again, I’d once
trusted a man who stood in front of two hundred people and God and
promised to love and honor me, so I wasn’t going to let this
stranger off so lightly.
turned away from me and walked back through the doorway to another
room. I stood for a minute, thinking I should just leave, but then I
followed him into the light, feeling somehow reassured that at least
he knew where we were going. And thus begins my story.
I’m certain that at this point, you are seriously regretting the
Grisham. You don’t do mystical books or crystals or any other of
that new age crap, so why the hell should you consider continuing
this book? And you’re probably so annoyed with yourself for buying
this book – a book whose title specifically states that it is not
a fairy tale – that you won’t believe me when I tell you that
there are few people in the world more pragmatic than I.
I’ve never had my fortune read. I am proudly agnostic, totally
pro-science. I don’t follow my horoscope, read the runes or believe
that everything is pre-ordained. Especially that last part, because
if it were true, and everything that had gone wrong in my life was
destiny, I would have had some serious words with the one responsible
for all the planning. I mean, what kind of a sadist would set people
up like that?
So when I tell you that I followed the
pale little gent into the backroom, and that in doing so, I felt like
I was taking the first steps on an incredibly and profoundly
important journey, you’ll just have to set aside your sniggers for
a moment and read on. I’m not going to say “trust me”, because
I’m not selling used cars, or indeed, anything else. But at least
read on a little way, because things are about to get interesting.
eldest daughter has a thing for unicorns. She loves them. It’s not
just a childish fixation. She’s always adored them, and now that
she’s older, she not only collects them in every shape and form,
she also has become a font of unicorn lore. It’s uncanny but some
days she even looks like a unicorn. Minus the horn, of course.
tall and colt-like, in the way that only pre-teens can be, and with
amazingly large dark-blue eyes that stand out all the more against
her pale skin and white-blonde hair, a throwback to some Icelandic
gene lurking in our family pool. There’s something otherworldly
about her, accentuated by adolescent hormones and the faint aura of
tragedy that has surrounded her since her father left.
of which to say that I am used to seeing unicorns about the place,
granted, usually in a two-dimensional format, so when I saw a
horse-sized unicorn standing proudly in the corner, its breath as
sweet as hay from across the room, I didn’t think anything of it. I
was more interested in what the old man had to say.
it wasn’t the old man who spoke.
unicorn eyed me suspiciously and then nodded.
you’re right. It’s her.”
unicorn looked at me again and I could have sworn I saw a flash of
the signs are there, including those buffoons who hang around outside
all of the time. Three bearded beasts bearing the mark of the
voice was soothing, like waves on the shore at night, even though I
felt that it did not approve of me but that wasn’t helping me with
the idea – yes, I’m a little slow sometimes but it had taken me a
moment to realize that I was listening to a talking mythical
unicorn shook his head despairingly and whinnied, a sound like
tinkling silver bells that sent shivers down my spine.
must go and warn the others. You know what to do.”
whinny and he was gone. I turned to the man.
do you do that? Was it a hologram? And why all of this trouble for
man laughed briefly, gestured to a chair and told me to sit down.
Once I was seated, he wheeled his cart of inks and needles over and
sat down on a stool, opposite me.
voice had lost a little of its resolve; I was less than certain that
this circus was the right place to get the tattoo that would show my
ex-husband that I was still wild and young and carefree, and that my
body still had some mystery to it.
will not be tattooed today. First you must embark upon the quest. If
all goes well, then you will join the brotherhood of the ink, but not
hadn’t asked a question but this was clearly an answer of some
words swirled around my head and for a moment I thought that I might
have been dreaming. Or maybe I’d had an aneurism and was in fact
lying in a medically induced coma, in a nice firm hospital bed with
clean white sheets. But the old man laughed and poked me in the arm,
none too gently, and offered me a cigarette.
took it and breathed deeply when he held a flame to the tip.
I tried to sound like the kind of woman who knew her mind. “This is
all very amusing and I’m sure that your other clients get it. But I
don’t, and all I really want is a small tattoo on my back.”
shook my head and stood up, dropping the cigarette on the floor and
grinding it under my heel.
now I’m not even sure I really want that.”
I reached the door, the old man coughed gently. I turned around and
saw that he was standing, seemingly taller than he had been only a
moment ago. In his left hand, he held a set of scales of a kind, not
unlike those used by penny dealers in gang movies. His right hand,
however, held a smallish television set that appeared to be showing
my life. I took a step closer, suddenly breathless.
me, that’s my family…but how? What did…?”
waited patiently while I tried to finish a sentence. A million
thoughts rushed through my mind, not the least of which was that I
had finally flipped my lid and gone crazy. How on earth did this
strange little old man happen to have a video of my whole life, and
why was he running it backwards? As the images flashed before my
eyes, I could see myself becoming younger and happier. When had I
stopped smiling so much, laughing so freely?
old chap let his arm slide and the television disappeared into thin
air. I sank heavily onto the rustic old lounge behind me, my head
spinning. I sneezed as the old man sat down next to me, raising
another cloud of dust.
is the first step towards clarity.”
nodded as if his words of wisdom could be of some assistance to me
but all I really wanted was to go home and have a large glass of
wine, and forget what was clearly an episode of drug-induced
paranoia, sadly without the drugs.
patted me softy on the arm and continued.
said, you haven’t lost your marbles; you have only misplaced your
life. And now you are being given the gift of finding it, and
of this was making sense, but he wasn’t finished.
you know what déjà vu is?”
nodded. I might only be a lowly advertising copywriter and frustrated
housewife, but I had spent one of the most amazing years of my youth
working as a software writer in Paris. So, in addition to destroying
large chunks of my liver in the semi-permanent happy hour of Café
Monparnasse and stocking any number of wild memories to keep me warm
during the last days of my life in some gray nursing home somewhere,
I’d also accumulated a reasonable bit of French.
old guy interrupted my musings.
the literary definition,” he said impatiently. “Any fool knows
that. I mean the true sense, the meaning behind the words.”
shook his head when he saw the look of incomprehension on my face.
vu is that which is already seen, in this life or others. It is a
gift from those who know you best, to remind you of that which you
smiled at me suddenly, and I began to feel warm again.
you saw the parts of your life that were shown to you a moment ago is
the final sign, the signal that you must begin your quest. Had you
not seen, then we would know that you are not ready to go forth.”
seemed as if I were in some kind of surreal psychological maze, a
place where information kept arriving, only serving to lose me
keep mentioning this quest. It seems like a lot of hassle, just to
get a tattoo.”
voice sounded petulant and I looked at him suspiciously.
don’t have any tattoos. For a man who runs a tattoo shop, that’s
not a very good sign.”
smiled sadly at me.
everyone is worthy. Many people seek the true ink, very few receive
it. It is my destiny to assure the decoration of others when they
have completed their journeys. That is my journey. Perhaps one day I
shall be blessed, but until then, I must guide people like you, as I
am instructed. Now come.”
picked up a small book from the table beside the couch.
me. I have much to show you before you can begin.”
crossed my arms and refused to budge.
not going anywhere,” I insisted stubbornly, “until I know what
all of this is about.”
stared at me and I stared back. With one husband and two kids behind
me, I was good at staring and by now the fires of righteous anger
were well stoked. I wanted to run but there was an undeniable force
keeping me there, a strange and enticing energy that made me want to
find out exactly what was going on. I’d stomped out of my house in
a fit of fury, now, I realized, not only directed at my ex-husband
but also at the absolute frustration of a life spent putting out
fires and making beds, and yes, raising children, but doing nothing
exceptional, nothing worthy,
it seemed, of a life well lived.
you’d better sit back down and tell me what the hell all of this
mystical blah blah is about or I’m going to go home and skip the
tattoo. Or better still, go find another tattoo artist.”
old man raised his wrinkled hands to the sky and muttered “why me?”
under his breath and then looked at me and nodded, and I exhaled
slowly, not realizing that I’d been holding my breath.
story would have been better with popcorn and beer, but as it was,
the old man moved over to the ancient kitchenette and made, with much
clanging and muttering, a pot of tea.
he had finished mumbling under his breath about the sheer
incompetence of disciples these days,
and how was he supposed to get
anything done when he was
obliged to teach such imbeciles,
he brought the tea over, handed me a crusty, chipped cup and looked
at me severely over the top of his mug. I took a sip and sighed. This
was undoubtedly the most amazingly wonderful tea I had ever had the
pleasure of drinking in my life.
he said briskly. “It’s as simple as this. You have been chosen to
go out into the world and teach our message…well, not just our
message. The universal message.”
choked on my tea, and he shook his head despairingly.
I know,” he continued. “You wouldn’t have been my first choice
either. But they do know what they are doing, and if they’ve chosen
you, it’s for a good reason.”
are they?” I wondered aloud. “And what is their message? I mean,
I don’t even believe in God, let alone angels or whatever the hell
you’re talking about.”
old guy looked profoundly shocked.
can you NOT believe in angels? They’re everywhere!”
everywhere?” I countered. “Are they here now? Can you see them,
because I sure as hell can’t?”
smirked at me.
you’d better get your eyes checked. Not to mention your parenting
skills. Who do you think is taking care of your children right now?
And why did you leave them with Mrs. Brinkley so confidently, you who
never leaves her children with strangers? And don’t tell me that
Mrs. Brinkley is not a stranger. She’s your neighbor, yes, but how
much do you really know about her?”
thought about it for a moment. Effectively, Mrs. Brinkley was no one
more than a little old woman who had moved into the apartment block
just after I had. Our paths crossed when we went to collect our mail
or throw out the garbage, but that was about it. She seemed clean,
and she had a lovely soft air about her, but for all I knew, she
could have been the devil incarnate. Or one of those dreadful witches
who lured children into their homes and then sold them to pedophile
networks for retirement mad money.
you noticed how she’s always there, just when you need her? How
many times has she given you a helping hand, without ever asking for
anything in return?”
was true. The day I’d dropped my keys down the elevator shaft and
found myself blocked in the lobby, unable to go out or in, let alone
go get my spare keys from the super, Mrs. Brinkley had just happened
to pop down to check her mailbox and was more than happy to loan me
her pass key.
time, when I was running against a pressing deadline, complicated by
a sick child demanding constant attention and desperately waiting for
a letter that hadn’t arrived, she came knocking at the door with
the said letter, which had just happened to fall in with her mail.
And when she’d seen the pale little face of my feverish daughter,
she’d popped back almost immediately with a large mug of hot lemon
and honey as well as a book of enchanting fairy tales that she
proceeded to read to my child while I finished my work.
if an angel there was in my life, then Mrs. Brinkley might be one,
but that was it.
no,” said the old man furiously, reading my mind again. “Keep
looking! The guy who blocked your garage exit the other day so you
couldn’t get out? He prevented you from being part of the huge
accident that killed six people further down the road. And the
electrician who shorted the power and made the blackout that lost you
half your work last week? Well, didn’t you do a better job,
starting all over again, and get a raise because of it?”
shook his head.
miracles are wasted on you people.”
wasn’t prepared to concede him any ground.
shmangels. Kind people and strokes of good luck.”
and egg,” he shot right back. “Where do you think luck comes
from? Or kind people, for that matter?”
I smiled winningly at him and he looked at me suspiciously. “If
there really are angels, then why don’t they
teach this great message?”
choose a dumb human when angels can use all their powers to convince
the world of their magic?”
looked at me pityingly.
tried that, obviously. But you humans are an obdurate lot, and you
just won’t listen. We’ve tried everyone from Krishna and the
Vedic chronicles to Jesus and the Red Sea scrolls but you guys just
won’t hear a word. We’ve thrown all kinds of miracles at you,
and you haven’t even noticed. It’s very frustrating, enough to
make you want to give up, really.”
laughed out loud, not very polite but given the circumstances (freaky
old men reading my mind, mystical creatures postulating on my
usefulness, a televised version of ‘This is My Life’), it seemed
that a little impolitesse
so you’re telling me that Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, all the great
prophets, were angels? Sent to earth to teach us all some
sardonic tone melted away as I realized what I’d said.
you finished now?” asked my strange mentor. “Ready to listen and
sank back, defeated and not a little confused.
I was saying, we’ve used some of the best angels we have but it
hasn’t done any good at all. Some of the marketing has stuck, but
basically, you’re all still out there, making wars and mistreating
each other. Not sharing the wealth of the earth. Spending your lives
chasing after things
while children starve.”
shook his head at the sheer hopelessness of it all.
are only ten rules to follow, seven if you adhere to the simplified
system. How difficult can it be?”
caught my confusion and scowled at me.
Don’t you know anything?”
did a quick count-off in my head. It was more difficult than trying
to remember the names of all Snow-White’s dwarves. I gave up at six
commandments and five deadly sins. Not too bad, and if I couldn’t
remember the others, that was probably because I was so pure of mind
old chap slapped the table with the little book he was still juggling
you stop it? This is not a parlor game. It’s very serious. The
world is going to hell in a hand basket and you’re the one who’s
been chosen to stop the spread of Chaos.”
now I’d had more than enough. If I’d wanted to be ridiculed, I
could have stayed at home and called my ex-husband. I had books of
fairy tales at home too, and if there was one thing I knew, it was
that fairy tales were just nonsense, nothing more than words put
together to explain away man’s rampant imagination. There was
enough craziness in my life without taking on the starring role in
someone else’s fantasy life. Not to mention the fact that the old
man’s metaphors sucked. I stood abruptly and made my way towards
the door. The old man breathed out as if he was trying hard to keep
me one thing,” he called as I reached the doorway. The gravity of
his tone made me turn to look at him.
only thing that we ask is that you watch for the signs. Just keep an
open mind, because this is the most important thing you’ll ever do.
Watch for the signs.”
I closed the door to the tattoo parlor
behind me and stood for a moment in the bright, late afternoon light
before I looked at my watch. I’d been gone an hour – twenty
dollars worth of babysitting fees - and I had nothing to show for it.
I decided to cut my losses and go home. I’d had enough silliness
for one day.
I put my key in the door, I noticed a wonderful scent wafting out
from my apartment. It smelled like the best meal my mother, or indeed
anyone’s mother had ever made. Suddenly I was ravenous. I opened
the door and my youngest daughter raced up to greet me with a huge
been having the best time, Mummy. And we made you a surprise. Almost
all by ourselves.”
tugged my arm and I followed her into the living room.
eldest daughter jumped up from the table where she was adjusting a
is your happy birthday dinner.”
was practically glowing with excitement.
told Mrs. Brinkley that it was your birthday and she helped us to
make all of your favorite foods. We even made a cake.”
cake that you’d better get back to decorating if you want your
mother to eat it tonight, my little angels.”
Brinkley stood in the doorway, wiping her hands on a floury apron.
The light from the kitchen cast a halo-like glow around her head and
I smiled inwardly. Of course. Now I was seeing angels everywhere. My
daughters rushed off to the kitchen and my benefactor gestured to the
table, set with an unfamiliar but beautiful china and strewn with
gardenias and white roses.
hope you don’t mind but the children were quite desperate to make a
special treat for you and I just didn’t have the heart to say no to
kindly eyes surveyed my face with a touch of concern.
of course not, it’s a lovely surprise,” I lied, wishing the
children were in bed and I could just sit down and dwell on the
injustices of my life.
reached for my purse.
you must tell me what I owe you for the flowers and the dinner
ingredients, and of course the babysitting.”
knew full well that a bit of leftover roast chicken, some mango
yoghurt and a mangy salad – the contents of my fridge the day
before shopping day – were hardly likely to be the basis of the
mouthwatering scents that were wafting into the living room and
making my stomach growl in anticipatory delight.
Brinkley looked horrified.
course not, my dear, it’s only some things I had floating around at
home. And I hope you don’t mind but the girls asked me if I would
join you tonight.”
looked wistful for a moment.
perhaps you’d rather be alone with your lovely little family?”
smiled at the sweet old dear who had clearly gone to a lot of
trouble, suddenly happy that for once we would have another adult at
the table with us, not just me and the girls.
would be thrilled if you would join us. I hardly know how to thank
you for taking the girls this afternoon, let alone cooking us what
smells like an amazing meal.”
looked at the table.
loaning us your crockery. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
fussed with the front of her apron.
very precious to me and I’m thrilled to have a reason to use it.
I’ll tell you about it later but for now I must go and supervise my
charges. Why don’t you sit down and rest until dinner is ready?”
idea was so alien to me that I obeyed out of sheer curiosity. This
was the evil hour, when my body was normally running on third or
fourth steam. The hour of cooking dinner while making school lunches
for the following day while emptying the dishwasher whilst
supervising homework and piano practice whilst answering emails from
clients whilst washing sports uniforms for last minute soccer meets.
A single, working mum always had something to do, even if it was just
watering the plants, but as I looked around me, it seemed that I had
suddenly been made redundant.
kitchen was clearly out of bounds and anyway, dinner was being made
by someone else. Due to a school trip to the museum the next day,
lunches were unnecessary. The washing was in the machine – I could
hear it running. I’d finished the ironing last night. We’d done
the homework and piano practice earlier that afternoon. I could have
sworn that the house had been vacuumed and dusted. I stuck an
experimental finger into the soil of the house plant next to my chair
and was surprised to see that not only was the earth damp, the leaves
had also been polished and trimmed.
sat back in the lounger and closed my eyes for a moment. “Look for
signs,” the crazy old tattoo man had instructed. But this wasn’t
a sign, it was a blessing, and I for one was grateful. Only this
morning, in a moment of soul-shredding frustration, hadn’t I begged
the powers that be – the ones I didn’t believe in – to send me
someone to lighten my load and share at least one dinner with,
someone who would help instead of add to my current exhaustion
levels. Hey, maybe I should have asked to win lotto too.
gentle kiss on the cheek and a faint giggle dragged me out of a
strangely deep dreamy doze in which I was being pursued by a crowd of
unicorns screaming “you can do it, you can do it” while I ran as
fast as I could up the mountainside.
it’s dinner time. You have to wake up.”
youngest daughter, Grace, now dressed up in her ballet clothes and a
pair of white feathered angel wings, pulled gently on my hair. I
stood unsteadily, still a little in the grip of my dream, and walked
over to the chair my eldest daughter Lillia was holding out to me.
She too, was dressed in a long, ethereal dress of some gossamer
material, and wearing angel wings with a silvery white glitter on
gazed down at the gorgeous plates, set traditionally for a
multi-course meal. They were really elegant, very simple, very good
china with only a faint decoration around the outside of the plates.
I looked again. Unicorns. Lots of elegant little unicorns dancing
around the edges of the plates and bowls, the light catching the
silver of their horns. I could have sworn they were moving, but then
again, I thought I’d seen my life on a television in a tattoo
parlor that very afternoon, not to mention a rather large unicorn
that spoke to me. All this without wine, too.
I was contemplating the mysteries of the dishes, Mrs. Brinkley
bustled in, carrying a largish crock-pot with steam billowing out
from under the lid.
girls told me you adored lobster bisque, my dear, and so that’s
what we made.”
placed the pot gently in the middle of the table and laid an
intricate silver ladle next to it.
as well I had some lobsters at home. Imagine if you’d preferred
steak, we would really have been stuck then.”
laughed merrily and the girls joined in, as if everyone kept fresh
lobster in their kitchens in case a neighbor suddenly needed a
birthday dinner. As Mrs. Brinkley sat down next to Grace, I noticed
that she too had angel wings on her back. Small, elegant ones made
from tulle and lace, but angel wings nonetheless.
I could ask the silly question, everyone raised their glasses to me.
birthday Mummy,” cried the girls, as Mrs. Brinkley beamed her
looked at their joyous faces and every bit of tension in my body
melted away. Who cared if the world was going to hell in a hand
basket? I had my magnificent, healthy, happy, loving daughters, and
that was truly all that mattered.
letting us down yet again, my ex-husband had done me the greatest
favor of all. He’d given me the opportunity to enjoy my children,
something I did so very rarely these days. I cooked for them, cleaned
up after them, worried about them, helped them, took excellent care
of them, but I couldn’t remember the last time I simply spent time
being with them. Not the quality time accorded by my driving them
somewhere whilst hectoring them about piano practice or good manners.
Just sitting, listening, talking, sharing a meal. Allowing them the
joy of doing something for me.
listened to them chattering away about how much fun it was cooking
and cleaning, especially knowing it was all for me. How come I didn’t
feel that happy when I was cooking and cleaning for them? Pushing the
vacuum cleaner around generally involved fantasies of full time help
or lottery wins for me – I don’t think I had ever once run
around, overflowing with passion, simply thrilled to be removing the
dust and toast crumbs from the rugs of our lives.
often than not, I did my daily and weekly chores in a fit of barely
suppressed fury and resentment. Certainly because I generally had far
too many things to do to actually spend time doing any one thing
properly. And perhaps because I resented doing the grunt work that I
had once paid someone else to do for me. But that wasn’t the real
reason. The real reason was that I had forgotten for whom I was doing
all of this. I remembered back to those extraordinary, unforgettable
days when I’d discovered I was pregnant, and how I swore to myself
and my unborn children that I would willingly give my life over to
taking care of them for as long as they desired. I was the one who
offered, I was the one who brought them into the world. So why the
bad attitude now?