Old women. They do my head in. Deaf bints. Always going on about being lonely. Mad obsessions.
Recently Matty has been going on about the "State of Your Daddy's Grave" and rambling on about Cemetary Sundays and the importance of 'keeping the grave nice'.
What is this Cemetary Sunday shit? I never heard any mention of it in the long ago days when I was a regular mass attendant.
Bert (Protestant) hit the nail on the head.
"It's just a ruse to get people to keep graveyards tidy."
"Too true," said I. "If there's anything more cunning than a Catholic priest it's a Catholic bishop. No doubt they'll all have been sitting about discussing the problem of neglected graveyards. 'I know,' says one, 'Why don't we invent something like a special Sunday to celebrate cemetaries and shame the gypes into keeping the graves tidy.'
So, while Matty hasn't been having stress-induced angina attacks she has been giving me big earache about the declining plants on Daddy's grave. So when I went out to her this evening to take her Tesco shopping I was not surprised to see a rather hideous floral tribute sitting on the kitchen table.
I'm not going through a sensible shoe phase at the moment. God knows at 55 and in the throes of the menopause, I do find myself slipping on the heels of a morning thinking, why not put on your comfy flats, and thinking again - damn you woman, enough's enough - do not succumb! Put on those fucking heels. This is a bloody recession we're in! Get a sharp haircut, wear lipstick!
Which is why I was wearing my high heeled boots with my comfy M&S skirt. I may not have mentioned before that Daddy's grave, at the back of the chapel, is on a pretty steep slope. Man's practically standing upright that gradient is so extreme. But I never gave it a thought as I clambered on to place Matty's artificial flowers. Took me by surprise when my kinky boots went from under me and I landed on the broad of my back. Naturally I roared, "Jeeeesus bloody Chriiist!" Naturally Matty implored, "SSSSSHHHH!" before saying, "Are ye alright, are ye hurt?"
Obviously she was dead scared Father Devlin had heard me taking the name of the lord my god in vain. If he did, he didn't come tearing out to see what was going on. Anyway I'm lying there feeling foolish and winded when out of the corner of my eye I see that gype Matty climbing up towards me. I lean up on my grazed elbow and say, "Get down. Get down this minute. Don't you come near me you eedjit!"
It's one thing a fresh young thing of 55 going down on top of her da's grave, quite another an oul wife of 82 falling in a heap on her late husband's resting place. I just don't need the drama.
Matty got down. I got up. I finished watering the real plants on my father's grave. I told my mother I was sorry I shouted at her, I suggested we said a prayer.
I don't know if she did but I didn't. I've never felt so much before that my father's last resting place had anything less to do with who he was, what he was. It's just a hole in the ground. Daddy's not there.
Afterwards Matty said, "Don't tell anybody about that."
I said, "Tell anybody? I'll be putting it on the bloody internet."