From: 'J' Date: 30 April 2002 02:14AM To: 'S' Subject: sweaty sandwiches and trouser demons...
So I went and saw Nana on the weekend with Dick. Spent Sunday in car with Dick driving up to Lakes Entrance. I caught a train to Traralgon (I like catching trains) where Dick picked me up. Then read my book (“History of the Middle East“, thought it might annoy Dick) and pretended to sleep most of the way, having my faux slumber interupted every now and then when Dick would deliberately hit the brakes and engage with me with such conversational firecrackers as “Will you look at that number plate?” and Geez, that car’s blowin’ some smoke!” I sacrificed some M&Ms that I’d bought specifically for that purpose and went back to my phoney snoozing. We stopped in Rosedale for sweaty sandwiches and I saw the most disturbing graffiti I’ve even laid eyes on in the public toilet.
Got to Lakes Entrance around 3 o’clock and went straight to the nursing home. (Are they still called nursing homes these days? There must be a new euphemism for them.) Nana’s got heaps of pictures up on the walls, there’s one of you and me and Brady up there. I look really fat so I told her I’d bring a skinny picture of me for her. It’s actually very nice as far as those places go. It’s clean, it smells nice and there aren’t too many people horror-screaming and moaning in the halls. I did notice that their door is locked (you have to punch in a code to get it to open) but the staff seem really nice, not a Nurse Ratchett in sight. Nana herself is not so great though Sis. O wait, lemme tell you what Dick told me in the car just after he picked me up.
Dick: “Now don’t get a shock when you see Mum, she’s gone downhill.”
J: “Yes, well, a brain tumour’II do that to you.”
Dick: “She’s only got one eye.”
J: “She’s WHAT?! They’ve REMOVED one of her EYES?!”
Dick: “Nope, nope. But it doesn’t open, Digger.”
Fucking arsehole! I was tempted to give him a serve but it was a long ride ahead, so I bit my tongue and thought, bide your time, J, bide your time. And then I thought, what does bide mean? And then I pretended to go to sleep.
So anyway, when we got to see Nana, she’s not so hot. Her right eye is closed and she called out “Jean? Jean?” a couple of times but Aunty Jean wasn’t there. And her hearing’s a bit dodgy, but it has been for ages. And she’s in this big funky chair she kinda lounges in. She was pretty knackered from every fucker coming out of the woodwork to visit her so I guess she was a bit worse than usual. She was a bit out of it, but not heart-breakingly so — she knew who we were and what was going on and her memory’s not too bad, she knew who had visited her that day and that sort of thing.
To be honest Dick was more of a trial than Nana. When we got back in the car I pretended to be asleep again and actually managed to doze off. Woke up when he bashed the car over some gutter and find we’re at the cemetery where all his rellies are buried and I realise that he wants to visit Pop’s grave. So I follow him out and it’s dark by now because this detour has added about an hour to our trip probably. We go over and Dick puts some flowers on Pop’s grave. I notice that Dick walks and stands right on top of where the bodies are buried. I always superstitiously tiptoe around and between them. We don’t say anything and then Dick heads back to the car and he starts to crack up, weeping and sniffling and I, hell, I don’t know what to do so I just keep walking behind him, slowing down so that I don’t overtake him cos he’s kinda stumbling a bit and I think to myself “J-boy, you have a stone where your heart is meant to be,” but in the end I don’t feel bad about it cos, well, because I’ve got a stone where my heart is meant to be.
I spoke to Ma yesterday and she said that she might go up this weekend and asked if I want to go. To be honest I could do without another eight hours on the road but what can you do? I guess I’ll go. It might be a good opportunity to tell Mum something I’ve been meaning to tell her for a while. You too, while I’m at it. Actually, here are a few of my practice drafts.
DRAFT # 1
Dear S. Please don’t cry, but I am a homosexual. That’s right, an “a… a… a sissy! I’ve tried to stop, but there is a blackness inside me that only anonymous bestial coupling with others who suffer as I do can alleviate. Don’t be sad for me, I have come to terms with my affliction, and ask only your forbearance as I struggle with my trouser demons.
Hi Sis. How’s it going? I haven’t been up to much, well, not since I was dumped by my boyfriend last month. But now he’s been sacked and I’m supporting him, which is tough cos he’s got this teeny weeny drug problem and I don’t always have enough money and sometimes he hits me. The people at work are getting suspicious about my “bumping into doors”.
Yep, that’s right. I’ve finally decided to go surrender to popular opinion and start sleeping with blokes. I haven’t been sleeping with the ladies since 1999. And before you say it YES I AM CAREFUL. I’m actually not that much more successful with men that I was with women so it’s not very likely that I’ll catch anything anyway. I’ve only slept with two blokes, Ethan from Sydney (one-night stand: scandalously young – 20! – and very good looking, thin with pale skin, dark curly hair, blue eyes and a nice strong jaw) and Samuel, 34, advertising writer – richer than God but a bit of a prat. He was tall (6 feet 2) and cute (dark, half-Dutch, tiny little soft-belly) but VERY pretentious. I was pleased as punch when he dumped me a month or so ago. I was about to dump him, and it’s always better to be the dumpee, you get the sympathy and none of the guilt. Anyway, I suppose that I digress. You probably don’t want the gory details right now, do you? I’m assuming that you’ll be alright with this.
Obviously, haven’t told Mum or Dad yet. Dunno if I’ll bother telling Dick, might tell Mum and let him hear it through the grapevine, I think that would be more hurtful and induce greater paranoia and distress. (“So vindictive! You know, they’re ALL like that, those perverts. Catty.”) Do you reckon Mum will be alright about it? Obviously she suspects. She caught me perving on some male swimmers on TV when I was staying with her while she was sick. I as moaning that the problem with swimming was that you could only perv on them for 10 seconds before they dived in and started splashing everywhere and Mum says “Are you perving on the BOYS or the GIRLS?!” and I quickly reply “The girls, the girls. Of course. The girls.” I’ve been thinking about telling Ma for a while but the timing just didn’t seem right (not like now, right when Nana’s on her deathbed!) what with Mum having CANCER, and then her 60th BIRTHDAY, but hey, Mother’s Day is coming up, maybe I’ll surprise her then. “Happy Mother’s Day Mum. Here’s a bunch of roses, from your son, the pansy.”
Well, gotta go, I have to attend a rally for homosexual rights and then go and spend all my pink dollars on hot pants and designer drugs.
From: 'S' Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 07:20PM To: 'J' Subject: Re: Sweaty sandwiches and trouser demons...
So tell me, what the hell was this disturbing graffiti I’m dying to know?
And by the way I could care less who you sleep with my darling brother, it’s no one’s business who anyone sleeps with unless it’s children or animals of course.
I love you.
11 thoughts on “Sweaty sandwiches and trouser demons.”
I already knew this, and never questioned whether you and your Mum knew or not..It is rather interesting …I intuitively knew that Dick did not know..though…and i got this notion, when you posted the letter about him and Dick, and the Boat, with the picture of you, him, and a row boat…
J was such an amazing Being…a beautiful Soul…
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I love you soulspeak.
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Love you too S….and J as well…Namaste’
I’m on the fence as to which is better; the content or the titles themselves. Can’t decide. One thing I am sure of is the fact that your brother was a literary genius.
Have you thought about self-publishing a book from this blog? His words deserve a wider audience. I would buy a copy.
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I often think it would be a great book and can hear my brother saying he’s already ticked one box for being a famous writer, he’s dead. Think I would title it; I don’t care if you don’t read this, I’m already dead. Think J would like that.
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It’s such a shame that in his life, he wasn’t recognised nearly enough for his gift of literature and the words and language with which he used.
I’m so glad that even if you never actually publish a book, that you are sharing his words of wisdom on the Internet. Although it was decades ago, in many ways nothing in life has changed; our struggles, triumphs, and daily races are all the same.