Keef’s mum September 5, 2007Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
The Russian’s gone to Russia. So I need a housekeeper. Or, rather, a me-keeper.
I can’t offer much in the way of recompense for whoever takes up the job. In fact, I can’t offer anything at all. Well, I can offer a roof over the house-cum-me-keeper’s head. Now call me traditional, but I’ve got some ideas for who my house-cum-me-keeper should be. A terse but kindly middle-to-getting-on-for-pensionable-aged working-class English woman would suit best, I think. Preferably from one of those counties with nice bumpkiny accents. Like Devon. Or Suffolk. She should provide her own bonnet and, if I can set any rules at all, I’d request that she pop her head round the door wearing a concerned frown and respectable night-wear, while holding a candle, naturally, and tut and raise her eyes to heaven as she sees me stumbling clumsily in at an ungodly hour and then that she smile maternally while remembering the japes her own son got up to when he was my age (before being sent to prison for selling pirate DVDs). I’d also like the me-keeper to do quite a lot of baking of… erm… items that get baked and to introduce herself to me as Mrs. [Name] and for me still not to know her Christian – I presume she’d be a Christian. Not majorly ardent in her beliefs, but she’d probably have a biblical quote or two up her (elasticated) sleeve for when necessary and get a rush of blood to the cheeks when her favourite hymn – what one would it be? I can only think of To Be a Pilgrim. That’ll do – resounded to the accompaniment of a swelling organ – ooh matron! – around the church. (Bugger, is there an Anglican church in Berlin?) – name even after 20 years of service and she’d call me Mr. BiB sir with the post-vocalic r very much present thank you.
Though maybe I’ll survive without. He’s only going to be gone for a couple of weeks after all. I already don’t know what to do with myself. Once he’d been gone for at least ages and I’d worried myself frantic that he hadn’t texted confirmation of his safe arrival, I decided to swallow my pride and send the first text of the hiatus. “Darling, have you landed in Moscow yet?” “I left the house five minutes ago. I’m waiting for the tram at the end of the street,” came his reply. Plus there’s talk of an internal flight to the home-town on a tiny plane with propellers. Now I don’t want to be one of those disparaging first-worlders who moans about internal flights (and the state of the roads) (and the food) (and the politics) in second and third world countries… But, fucking hell, an internal flight in Russia on a tiny plane with propellers! Do those things even have engines or are they utterly dependent on catching a good gust of wind? (Although that creates nice images of Le Petit Prince at least.) (Oh god, the plane with propellers will be overrun with yellow snakes.) Still, it’s that or a 24-hour train ride with men who change into tracksuits and slippers for the journey.
“Darling, should we have some goodbye nookie before you go?” “No. Sleep.” “Darling, do you wish you were staying here with me? … Darling?” “No, not really.” But the Russian’s departure coincides with an awkward period of contentedness in the BiB+Russian household. Perhaps from a reinforced, cast-iron solidarity at the loathsomeness of having to be alive. Nothing like a shared enemy. So I’ve waved him off with genuine despair.
We went on a last-minute shop. Utterly freezing. Torrential rain. Hurricane, umbrella-breaking winds. Once we’d made it to the tram-stop, I decided I’d impress the teenager who was already impressed at us exotic foreigners further by nonchalantly hurling the broken umbrella into the bin with heterosexual aplomb. Of course I missed from half a centimetre away and then had to scrabble around on the filthy pavement picking up umbrella elements. I couldn’t even redeem myself by coolly smoking a reexoticising fag.
And as I lumbered back from the supermarket, laden down with food to get me through the russianless winter – all sorts of things I don’t know how to eat. How do you eat a real pineapple, for example? And I vaguely loathe herrings. And why is Brie packed so tightly into its condom-packaging that it has to bulge out like some constricted (admittedly very white) (and tapered) (I hate that kind) willy – I remembered Keef’s mum. Keef lived down the road from us when I was a child. He was ludicrously tall and thin and all his features were far too large for his own good. His mother didn’t have an Irish, Nigerian or Pakistani accent so I think we thought she was posh. And she was the most motionless, statue-like, miserable woman in the world. Or on our street, at least. Even when she moved she was motionless. Admittedly, I’d only see her wandering past the window laden down with shopping for her too-tall son (and presumably husband. I don’t think we had single-parent families in those days) and what I could see – her face and upper body – never moved. Cast in stone. But she did somehow propel herself forward, so I presume she was on wheels. Her life had become shopping. And then getting it home. On her wheels. And Keef. House-and Keef-keeping. She seemed unimpressed with her lot.
Could be ideal for the job.