Long way to nowhere
‘I first began touching telephone poles because it was good for what promotes bio. Pretty soon, one thing led to another.’
I wrote that in my late teens and I have no idea what it means, but it now leads me, for some reason, to remember the following.
My mother was forty years old with two teenage sons when she got the bad news from the doctor.
“The reason you have been feeling unwell, Eileen, is because you’re pregnant.”
“PREGNANT!” my mother hollered, “I don’t want to be pregnant, I’ve got two grown boys and that’s enough.”
Alas, there was no way out of it (at that time, anyway, and in my mother’s mind). My birth almost killed her, I learned later, but she bravely raised me and even became to appreciate my presence after my father died when I was eleven and my oldest brother six months later, in a car crash at the age of 24.
My other older brother had gone to London to become a Fleet Street journalist, so that left just my mother and I to duke it out at the bottom of the world.
She told me some years later that having me turned out to be a blessing. I kept her going, she said, after losing her husband and her first-born son. I was a hellion and drove her crazy, she clarified, but I was company through many dark, lonely years.
I left home at nineteen and took a circuitous route through many countries and cities, too many jobs to remember and two marriages — all the way to nowhere, where I now reside with my cat, a rifle and a well-stocked liquor cabinet.
I never made it to the top of the world, Ma, but with both brothers, an only son and my wife gone, that’s of zero importance now.