You would be forgiven for thinking that the title of my post indicates a predilection for punk music lyrics or perhaps a propensity for verbal diarrhoea. Truth is, it’s been one hell of a week.
So my sister and her husband have split. He has moved into his old house (which he was previously renting out) with another woman and her two kids. Another man seems to come and go. What his relationship is to the woman is not terribly clear. Unfortunately, she is a known addict. Heroin is her drug of choice, I believe. She doesn’t work and spends most of her time chasing her two unruly kids around, both of whom have been expelled from the local high school.
It doesn’t sound like an environment my former brother-in-law needs to be in to get himself under control. It is a horrible environment for his old dog who has already been traumatised unforgivably by living with him. Looks like she’s set for more misery as the woman owns two Rottweilers. I feel sick about that dog. Aunt Jo and I have called the local branch of the RSPCA saying we would like to get the dog out of that situation but they legally can’t do anything unless the dog is injured. We have even offered to buy the dog but my brother-in-law refuses to sell her claiming he is attached to her, despite treating her so cruelly. I can’t bear it when humans are unkind to animals. They rely on us to look after them.
So that was one day. On the next, Aunt Jo, my mother and I accompanied my sister, Millie to court. The woman has taken an AVO out against my sister (Apprehended Violence Order.) We were up in arms about it at first, proclaiming Millie’s innocence, swearing on our own lives that she has no history of violence, to anyone who would listen. And then she decided to be honest with us. For once in her life she freely volunteered the truth.
Seems that last week Millie to went round to Oliver’s place. To get the dog so she says. But she got in a fight with the woman on the front lawn and ended up smashing her car windows. She didn’t tell any of us what had happened until twenty minutes before she was due in court for the preliminary hearing. We stood, unspeaking, clumsy, deflated, suddenly really interested in the circles our shoes made on the dusty footpath.
Then Millie was called in to the court room. She decided she just wanted to go in alone. Mum and Aunt Jo went to get a coffee but I wanted to stand in the courthouse garden. They had Californian poppies – orange and red cups brimming with morning rain, stems slightly aslant with the weight of the water. A lady stopped on the grass with a cute little Jack Russell in a blue coat. He looked like he’d been wrapped up as a present for someone.
It started to rain. A man who must have been a lawyer began to run, arms full of paper, slipping and sliding on the grass as proficiently as a mime artist. Impressively, he didn’t drop a single sheet.
I didn’t have an umbrella. I stood under a willow tree, watching as my light blue shirt grew darker as it became spattered with rain, like an invisible hand was stencilling it. It can be calming just standing in the rain, without the protection of an umbrella. It tempts you to dance and twirl and whoop, the way some children do when caught in a downpour. The sense of liberty is difficult to resist.
Then Millie emerged, face the colour of milk left sitting too long on the kitchen counter. She has to present her side of the story at another hearing in two weeks because she has rejected the AVO, has no intention of making any further contact with her ex and that woman, and has requested it be wiped from her record. She has to present her case with her lawyer and then the judge will make his ruling.
We took her home, outlining her defence all the way but I must admit, I participated half-heartedly in the discussion. I am tired, really tired. When I got home I was actually too tired to go to bed and when I eventually dropped off I was wakened about an hour later by the boy being sick on the hall carpet. He had been feeling sick all evening and hadn’t made it to the bathroom in time.
So there I was at four in the morning, washing linen and scrubbing the vomit out of the carpet. It was one of those moments where you say to yourself:
‘Couldn’t get any worse than this.’
And in some ways saying that aloud made me feel better. It was just one of those weeks. It wasn’t fatal. Tomorrow I will wake up, the smell of vomit will probably have cleared from the carpet, and the sun might be shining. It will, in fact, be another day, just like Scarlett O’Hara said, and I will stand once more, ready for whatever comes, entranced by the colour of the sky.