Playing dressups

Playing Dressups

The night before, we had argued. We had argued because he had consumed two bottles of red wine and anything else that he could find the dredges of, which would be almost zilch because he always finished everything off. Anyway – I’m not a huge drinker and not during the week to the point where I wouldn’t be able to get up for work. This guy used to drive to work, still drunk, the next day. I often used to find him slumped over his steering wheel, car jacked up half on the curb and lawn or driveway and curb, the lights and radio still blaring. The drivers’ door askew and one leg hanging out. Like it’s the thought that counts…he thought he could get home, get inside the house…ridiculous. So this was why I was mad.

Anyway, as you do, I couldn’t sleep and lay in our bed wondering how the hell did I get here and how the hell I was going to extricate myself from it all. It must’ve been close to 4 am and I hear his car bumble into the driveway and something inside me wished he’d just stay in that car tonight, I was still pissed at the whole uncaring scenario. Alcoholics tend to not give a shit – like just about every other addict addicted to something more important than you.

I can hear him scrabbling around with his keys and I hear him talking nonsense to the cat and rummaging in the fridge. I make sure my back is turned as I just cannot face an argument with an illogical, loud, irrational drunk. He comes into our bedroom. I can hear him undressing and I lie quietly – trying to make my breathing sound even and as if I’m well asleep. He’s struggling to get his pants off and falls around the room, cursing and bumping into things and then collapses onto the bed, snoring.

I pluck feebly at the bed blankets he’s trapping underneath his comatose body. I lie there trying to figure out how I’m going to breathe for the next while, till I have to get up for work, as the room is turning into an alcoholic gas chamber. I only have to wonder about this for an hour and then I will have to get up to open the restaurant for breakfast. I can’t stand it so I get up. I decide to have shower to shake off the sleepless night. We have an en suite and I find my way there in the dark and turn the light on on the inside of the wall. A faint beam streams out, highlighting the bedroom as I turn to close the door behind me. In the moment the light poured itself briefly over my sleeping partner, I noticed something strange. All I could see were maybe two dark lines down his back – up to where the covers hid the rest of his body – from the sort of elbow area down. He’s lying on his stomach and is snoring facing the other way.

I gently open the door a little wider so that more light can try and identify what I am not sure I am seeing. I tentatively take a step back into the bedroom, squinting in the shadowy room. I keep going towards the bed and stand there looking at him. If you had been recording it, it would’ve looked like something out of those spooky paranormal movies. I was trying to figure out what he was wearing. I lean forward and carefully pull the sheets back to expose more of his body.

I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, scream or punch him. He was wearing a petticoat, with little string straps and a lacy trim. I was like, what the fuck!! I was in shock – I tell you, there is nothing like finding your man dressed up in women’s lingerie to wake you the fuck up out of your grumbling stupor of a morning.

His name just fell loudly out of my face and I was still clutching the tented bedclothes above him. His drunken scrunched up face dug itself deeper in the pillow and an arm came out to grab the blankets back.

“I like it! It’s nothing!” He slurred and promptly fell back into his drunken slumber. Well, I’m sorry, but I have nothing against anyone doing things that are consensual and don’t hurt anyone, but I do want to be the only one in the lingerie!

We spoke about it and he denied, denied, denied. It was crazy – I mean, I saw him! Needless to say as I like my men all man, I left and we have stayed friends. Interestingly enough his next girlfriend contacted me in a very distressed state to say that she thought he was cheating as she had found a suitcase of women’s lingerie, stockings and high heel shoes in the boot of his car when she had borrowed it one day. If only that were the case.

It was strange because after the initial shock and insulted type of feeling I had, I felt sorry for him…I realized that maybe he drank so heavily as he was trying to run away from who he needed to be. It may not be who you want to be, but it will be who you are…

Home time!

hometime

When I wake up

next to you

My heart just

wants to burst

In my sleep

I miss you

Like a screaming

blazing thirst

I drag myself

to work and back

just to see your smile

watch TV

talk a little

and make love for a while

when our rumbling

hungry stomachs

lever us out of our lovers’ nook

naked we open and close cupboards

looking for something to cook

© Kait King, 2015

The gift is Home

our family

Nothing says home like the food you know, the smells that trigger head movies and the comforting arms and hands that picked you up and helped you mix and stir and “help” cooking when you were a kid. They now welcome you back into the fold, embrace your grown-upness but still visualised as the child, as you will always be. Family time is noise in the kitchen, clattering dishes and chattering mouths – we women of many words create more warmth with our talking breath, better than the lukewarm sun does, trying to impress us through a shameless glass. The men, young and old – three generations of my blood, gather around the finger food that has been laid out to stop them from starving before the main meal…if you believe that, you will believe anything.

My father, the patriarch, his unwilling body fighting his sharp, determined mind – his sharp, determined mind that used to beat his body has put its hands up and retreated. His brain is stronger than anything else, bar maybe his heart. He peers over his heavily framed glasses all the better to see a watch face his grandson has handed him to look at. His 80 year old eyes squint and recognise, the information is swift and he says the battery is a blah blah…..his mind as sharp as a knife. His son-in-law hands him a glass of wine which he carefully holds, the glass is heavy and cumbersome to him, due to his muscular dystrophy. He already can’t lift the glass to his lips but our mother brings straws with them so that he doesn’t have to.

His grandson, Jay, is a loud kid and is learning to pull his head in, but does show signs of promise with his unresearched fury at certain injustices. Maybe the same way my father felt about all of those things 60 years or more ago. My father brought all of us up to question everything, accept nothing at face value and to take risk in a positive way. He had a strong sense of what was right and fair and he brought four crusaders into the world to carry on that legacy. Give a shit, the majority of the population won’t – so you just have to. It’s your duty as a human being with the gift of life on this earth…

Pants

pants

Coming up for air

I see our tangled underwear

Like two bodies closely entwined

like the curl on a peeled orange rind

Resting nested soft and quiet

in the stillness after the storms’ riot

Gentle and soft, a loving embrace

your cotton jocks and mine, which are lace

© Kait King, 2015

Warning – things may not be what was expected…

warning

This is a true story:

There was this time, when I was with the Police, that a small, older woman came to the front counter to report her son missing. Her clothing looked a little disheveled and she was carrying a plastic bag. Although her hair was tied back, plenty of it had escaped and almost floated around her, like a wispy halo. I believe she was of Indian descent and was a little difficult to understand but certainly not impossible. Naturally this was also compounded by her stress and anxiety of her belief that her son was missing. In briefly assessing the situation I guessed her son would have to be in his late twenties at best and this was not going to be a child we would be looking for.

So she tells me her son is in Australia and he calls her every day to make sure she is all right as she has had some issues too, with her mental health. But disturbingly he hadn’t contacted her for 4 days. She describes him as the loving son, the good son. On a crumpled piece of paper she’s handed me, is an Australian phone number, his passport number and a photocopied driver’s licence picture but no licence details. She’s pleading with me to find him – like any mother, she just wants to know her boy is OK. I see the confusion and fear in her eyes and feel compelled to do whatever I can to help her. So I show her a place to sit and go back into the offices to dig around, both with the phone calls and the data base surely I will be able to give her an answer. And after that there is a lot more to do but I’m hoping it doesn’t have to go that far.

I call the number she’s given me and ask if her son lives there and is employed there as the manager of the backpackers hostel. According to his mother, he’s been working there for 3 years – y’know, he gets cheap or free accommodation for managing the place. Yet according to the person who answered the phone this was not the case. Her son, let’s call him Mike, had not worked there for two years at least. It was the owner I was talking to so I just scratched around the surface to find out if he was worth digging – and he was, as I found some interesting, although sad, information.

So the owner of the backpackers hostel tells me this; Mike left the job two years ago because his mother found out where he worked. She was mentally unstable and harassed him and called the cops on him numerous times even though he was just trying to quietly live his life and get on with it. She told the cops he was suicidal or had killed someone or was going to be killed.

Also, Mike sent her money every month too, to help her cover bills and have a better life. The hostel owner understood she was under care and lived in a particular place but he couldn’t say where. He believed she had been diagnosed as schizophrenic. I thanked him for his help and asked if he knew where Mike might be now. He didn’t – but he did have an old mobile phone number which I took down. I rang the mobile number which was in Australia too and left a message on an answer phone – which did not say ‘Mike, leave a message’ – but someone else’s name. This may be for a very good reason though.

Mrs Patel and I wait for the phone call, I make her and I a cup of tea and I sit with her. With the information I had about her state of mind I gently coaxed her to tell me what was going on. From her perspective at least. I was prepared to wait half an hour before expecting to have the phone call returned – naturally I’d prefer immediately, especially when it’s a message from the police.

“So when was the last time you actually heard from Mike?” I ask between a couple of sips of tea.

“He’s angry with me!” She exclaimed.

“That’s Ok, families squabble – but how long has he been angry with you for?”

She squeezes the paper cups’ rim flat between two worn-out looking fingers and twists the cup gently in her other hand – just going round and round the rim.

“I haven’t spoken to him in two years…” she drifts off and starts to tear up. “I had a dream that swords were stabbing him all over and I could feel the fear and the danger he was in. I need to help him – to warn him of this!” She kept looking at the cup and turning it. “He will die if I don’t find him and protect him! I need to – I’m his mother!”

My heart went out to her as I knew she truly believed her son was in danger.

“Is this why you came into the station to report him missing? I ask.

“Yes…” she nodded. “You will find him and I will be able to tell him, save him.” She gazed at me anxiously.

I take her hand from the cup and lightly hold her fingers, forcing her to make eye-contact with me and stop giving rim to the cup!

” Mrs Patel – who do you think would want to do this to him and why?”

“Well God, of course.” She seemed almost startled at the idea that I wouldn’t know that. I could see her change as she became incredibly suspicious and cautiously pulled her hand away.

“What makes you think God would want to do that to your son?” I ask openly.

“I messed with the TV aerial at home and was so angry with one of the other people that live there that I pee’d outside in the garden…”

I’m not often one lost for words but this time I coughed to make up some thinking time and had a sip of tea.

“Sorry Mrs Patel – excuse me…so you went to the toilet outside in the garden? And that is why God is going to hurt your son with swords?” I have to use a fair amount of question marks as that is what is grammatically correct but really these questions are used like statements – she’s nodding and confirming as I’m feeding her back her story so that I can understand what the hell she is talking about. That really is irrelevant but I realise I have a person here who is mentally ill and has quite possibly not taken her medications for who knows how long.

Short story long – apparently the television backed onto her room and made too much noise. Often it was late and it was always the same old fellow watching something too loudly as he was deaf. So when she asked him to turn the volume down so that she could go to sleep, he would tell her to fuck off and all sorts of other nasty stuff – and loudly, being deaf and all. So in order to get him back, after not having any luck and being called names, Mrs Patel took the TV aerial so that he couldn’t watch any programmes at all.

So the old fellow upped the anti and left the TV on with the white noise at it’s loudest and had been going to bed deaf as a doornail and at the other end of the residence where the men slept. Well Mrs Patel was furious and took a dump and so forth under the window of the old man and being summertime it certainly didn’t take more than a few times to get flies a-buzzing and a super high hum going under his window.

After, funnily enough, four days of this drama going on, Mrs Patel suffered severe guilt for her actions and believed God was going to strike her son dead. When I did track the son down eventually, I explained to him that I wouldn’t expose his whereabouts or phone number etc to his mother. She was very ill and he had been embarrassed too many times and lost too many jobs by allowing her into his life. I felt sorry for him too. It’s never easy living with mental health issues whether you are the one ill or the surrounding network of someone who is ill.

Well I had listened to her story, I knew her son just did not want anything to do with her. This wasn’t something that was going to be healed and she couldn’t expect a phone call on Wednesday at 2 pm or anything. Something else needed to change as the relationship between them both would not.

I asked her afterwards, ” How great do you think God is?”

“Oh God is greater than all things.” She said very confidently.

“Is he greater than man? Than a human being?”

“Of course – he made us, his is greater than everything put together, his love is greater – just everything.” She replied.

“So then tell me this, why would God have such a human spiteful nature to hurt your son – that spite or judgement is a human trait. God is far, far more loving than that. Another human being may feel like that if you do…you-know-what under his window – but God would never do that – he’s most probably chuckling at us having this conversation now.”

I smiled at her and she started to cry, I quickly put my tea down and gave her a hug. She clung to me like a limpet and had a good weep. I handed her tissues which didn’t really get used as much as my shirt. Finally she pulled away and wiping her sad brown eyes, she said to me, ” I have never thought of it that way before – of course God wouldn’t be that petty!” She had a watery smile on her face and gave me another hug. “Thank you , thank you so much!” She said delightedly.

“Now you just need to make friends with your house-mate I believe.” I winked at her.

I found out her carer’s name and tracked down which residence she worked in and she came in to pick up Mrs Patel. She was so grateful to find her safe and sound, she said that poor old Mrs Patel does this every now and again. Although we didn’t see her back – not while I was there anyway.

Damn you, Dementia…

Mum at Kai Iwi Lakes, January 2019

You’ve watched me

Grow up

I’ve watched you

grow old

And I speak for you

Now

When I used to do

As I was told

Your face is

Still the same

And your eyes…

They sometimes

know

But your words

Are lost on me

And you

You don’t want me

To go…

I kiss you

Many times

Touch your face

And hug you

Tight

You ask me

Where my Dad is

You’re shocked

When I say

He’s gone…

into

The light

Kait King 2019

Autumn Shuffle

end_of_summer_by_leonid_afremov_by_leonidafremov-d35gm8r

The smell in the air

has changed –

it’s more crisp

it’s more clear

but the sun steps up the day

still grateful when a breeze will play

with your hair

on your skin

the rays tan

a tanned shin

And evening strolls in with a quiet surprise

promising a summer’s eve but making it a lie

There’s still green in abundance

but a yellow starts to show

on the leaves further down

on the branches hanging low

And I wrap my blankets closer

as night saunters in

But I glow warmly in the dark –

it’s the sunburn on my shin

© Kait King, 2016

Born out of love 

Jay hand feeding the seagulls at Manly Beach June 2016.jpg

Jay hand feeding the seagulls at Manly Beach – 9th June 2016

Last night my son, Jay, called from Australia. I love hearing from him and since he’s been away I’ve thought alot on how we battled along when he was young.

I was pretty much a single mum. Of course I had men in my life. I was easy on the eye so naturally men drifted around the proverbial honey-pot. At one point I was working three jobs and still picking Jay up from school and being a full-time mum. I went to a women’s gym and learned wrestling and kick-boxing. Jay would come with me to the gym. He loved it – all of the women cooed over him, played with him and taught him some moves which he promptly practiced on his mates at school and got into trouble for.

I had a nanny job from 3 pm till 7 pm during the week which Jay could also come to. The little boy I was looking after was the same age as Jay and they had a great time playing while I cleaned up the house, chucked a wash on and got dinner sorted before we started some homework which meant Jay got his done too. So like all single mums I juggled. I had a house cleaning job during the day before school ended and also was selling international phone time and signing people up for cheaper international calls. I look back and wonder where on earth did I get all of that energy from? Like a little energizer batteried bunny I just kept going and going and going. My parents were not here in NZ at the time and Jay’s father just seemed to forget about him. Both of his parents were dead, he was a fair bit older than me and had already experienced this loss, therefor Jay didn’t have fraternal grandparents and his maternal ones were in South Africa – a million miles away. So I had no family here and therefore no baby-sitters. I couldn’t afford to pay someone and have money to go out as well.

My main focus was to make sure our home was of a particular standard and that we were located next to the best schools within the district. And that our cat, Gorgeous George, was allowed. Those were critical things I required when renting a property.

So I worked super hard and was a high achiever at pretty much anything I did – even cleaning a fricken toilet was worth my integrity. Anyway, I wanted to give Jay everything. When he was really little of course, he didn’t care, but as he got older and was influenced by the media and peers, things changed. He wanted brand named clothes and shoes etc. It was really hard. It was hard to say I can’t do that or I don’t have that. He had feelings of anger towards me as he grew up into that ‘tween’ stage. He struggled to understand that I had been prepared to leave money, boats and a glamorous life behind me. He didn’t understand that I had taken the most important thing. That nothing but he, Jay, was the most precious thing for me to take. His father didn’t want him, he wasn’t prepared to participate physically, financially or emotionally in Jay’s life.

Even though all of the correct papers were filled out with the divorce and him agreeing to me having full custody, he never financially supported us. I did it on my own. Jay’s father managed to wangle out of any requirement to help support his son. Do you know, the government determined that the father should pay $11.00 a week towards Jay’s keep. That’s why I had 3 jobs. That’s why things were really hard and I had no family to fall back on. Jay and I were the family. I tried to make a family, I wanted a father-figure in Jay’s life. I couldn’t be a mum and a dad. I was a mum, that’s where all my instincts, hormones and chemicals took me – to Mumsville. I didn’t know how to be a dad and neither did I want to.

So we battled along, and it truly was a struggle – we went through the ups and downs of life. We both survived and came out the other end. Now, my beautiful son is so his own person, in spite of the hard times, or is it because of them? When he was in his early twenties and working at real jobs, his money just vanished. He would buy $300 pairs of jeans or shoes, a $75 T-shirt, after shave – living a champagne lifestyle on a beer salary. We had many arguments about money. I gave him money and helped him out, perhaps when I shouldn’t have – in fact many times I think I should have let him flounder but it was just not in me as a mother to watch my son flounder. See, that’s when a father is needed, some hard arse stuff!

Off Jay goes to Oz, he knows he needs to get away to grow and find himself. While I was available it was easy for him to fall back on me. Now, on his own in Australia he was living his own life. He learned who he was and has defined himself. It all comes back to that phone call last night that made my heart swell up so big. Last night he said he realized money was not what he wanted in life. What he wanted was to make a difference in the world. It is one of the proudest moments I have had. Only a few years ago, when I was at university, I had a piece of paper stuck to my wall with:” I will make a difference!” written on it in black marker pen. I woke up every day and went to sleep every night seeing that piece of paper and believing in myself and what I was doing. I wanted to help children and make a difference. Jay saw that paper, he saw my determination, he saw my passion. The parallel belief between myself and my son tells me something. It tells me that I have done the right thing. He wants to save the world, he wants to spread peace, harmony and love. I am so proud of him and there is a sense of relief for me – kind of like my job is done here, but of course not. I have much to do – even from my bed, but not as much as Jay!

Jay will make a difference, he already has and will keep walking that walk – you deserve all things good, my son.