Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Singing the same tune..

Day 5 of being sick. Not up to writing stories for the blog, been reading other blogs and finished reading a book. I've been grieving pretty hard this past week, maybe it's because I'm ill and feel weak. I read a couple of pages of one of Pam's journals yesterday, after mum mentioned that she wouldn't mind taking a look at them. I didn't advise it. It was painful to read as usual, tears left me exhausted but then I felt a sense of calm after the storm. Later in the evening I read the same pages to Ron, he was reassuring saying that Pam's writing about her difficulties with me was positive. That she was individuating. I wonder if you could describe her death as individuating?

Ron said she sounds so like me. We were very similar women. Often I would call her or she me and we'd both been thinking the same thing or had bought the same clothes or had the same kind of dream. Our sister Angie says we had a special bond because we were so alike.  It feels like part of me has died. I'm glad I've got her journals even though they are so upsetting to read. I said maybe I shouldn't be reading them and Ron replied maybe you are meant to. Maybe I am. Maybe in time they can be my guide? To remind me of the path that we were on together. And perhaps I can let it keep me on track even though I'm on that path alone now.

These lines from Rumi seem appropriate...

Friend, I've shrunk to a hair trying to say your story.
Would you tell mine?
I've made up so many love stories.
Now I feel fictional.
Tell me!
The truth is, you are speaking, not me.
I am Sinai, and you are Moses walking there.
This poetry is an echo of what you say.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Pamopolitan!

Ron and I are having dinner at Pranzo’s.  After we order I pick up a little table menu as we wait, glance at it and put it down.  A little while later a waiter brings two red-coloured cocktails to the young romantic couple on the next table.  I call him over and ask, ‘What are they having?”  ‘They’re Pamopolitan’s.’ he says.  Blinking I say, ‘What?’  He repeats  ‘Pamopolitan’s.’  ‘Are they on the menu?’  I ask.  ‘Yes, call me over if you want one.’  And he darts away busily.  I grab the little cocktail menu and scan it quickly, there at the bottom is a cinnamon Pamopolitan!  Well I never.  The reason for said name is the ‘pama’ pomegranate liqueur.  Well of course I had to have one, in Pam’s honour.  I often imagine her now when we are out having dinner saying, ‘Go on, have a drink!’  And this was one of those moments surely.  ‘Yes but don’t call me Shirley,’ I hear her saying!

This jogged some drinking memories. In our teen years we would plump for vodka and orange or rum and coke, always sweet drinks, Cinzano and lemonade, which Angie our middle sister sometimes still has, she never lost her sweet tooth.  Then we graduated to half a lager.  Not wine, wine in pubs is always crap.  

Over the last ten years Pam liked a glass of chardonnay with dinner.  I, on the other hand, gave up alcohol.  I was totally off it for five years.  Sugar was the problem, so I quit drinking. I didn’t miss it hardly at all, mind you I was being very strict with myself.  I was in nun mode.  I usually go into nun mode after some kind of excess, usually that was men not alcohol, but you can’t be too careful. Pam would always roll her eyes at me during such times. Oh Jane you can be such a schoolmarm!

I'm trying to remember Pam drunk. She didn't get pie-eyed in front of me.  She probably watched herself when I was around, as she didn’t want to get lectured by her bossy, over protective eldest sister.  My only memory is when we went on holiday with our parents to Tenerife, a Spanish island off the coast of Africa.  I was seventeen, Angie maybe sixteen and Pam was fourteen. One night we went to a bar without our parents and started drinking.  Pam didn’t drink yet as she was too young but that night she did.  I looked at her while we were having a good laugh with some people and said, ‘Oh God she’s drunk!’ She was rolling around and giggling, her long dark hair and pale freckled skin all innocent and squiffy, in the pink cheesecloth dress that she loved.  ‘Yikes, we’d better get you back to the hotel!’ I said and walked her staggering back to the room where she fell on the bed and passed out. Phew!

                                                   Pam and Angie

Me and Pam drinking

We went a bit wild in Tenerife, well me and Angie did, Pam was a bit young yet.  We had mum and dad worried sick. One night I was strolling romantically with a waiter on the beach, it was getting late.  Next thing I saw my dad scanning the beach with his hands on his hips looking for me.  I grabbed the lad and ducked behind a sun bed.  Meanwhile mum was looking for Angie in a disco. The next morning at breakfast mum said,  ‘Blimey, I hope to God you lot are being careful in those discos.  Last night looking for our Angie I crossed the dance floor and got picked up three times!’  She needed to be worried. I nearly got raped one night escaping just by the skin of my teeth. And Angie was all goo goo gaga about a handsome young dude who told her (and she believed him!) that he was a brain surgeon. You should have seen him, a brain surgeon he was not. We went shopping one day and there he was working in a local boutique. Busted!

In the nineties I lived in London and Pam would come to stay.  I remember we went on a girl’s night out with some of my friends and ended up in a club near Piccadilly Circus.  We were getting drunk, well I was.  Pam was a little subdued, as she was shy around new people.  She told me she liked a young barman and I was all… go for it!  But she was too shy and sober… so I started flirting with him!  He was quite ‘fit’ as we used to say.  Since I was drunk I started doing my sex kitten impression, draping myself along the bar like a cat, pouting my head off and flapping my eyelids.  I must have looked like a right fool.  But to my delight he responded beautifully.  Oh well I thought drunkenly, Pam didn’t want him.  Little did I know that Pam was seething.  Before we left, the barman said to me, ‘I’m having a party tomorrow, want to come and help me blow up balloons?’  Want to help me blow up balloons?  I loved it!  He gave me his phone number and I was happy as Larry.  Pam and I got into a taxi outside the club and the driver proceeded to zoom like a fair ground ride around the streets of London.  He was driving so fast and I was so drunk that I was tumbling from one side of the cab to the other.  Pam got worried,  ‘Jane where are we going?!  Where is he taking us?’  ‘Oh it’s all right, he's sort of going in the right direction’ I said as I flew through the air too drunk to care and landed giggling in the corner.

When we got home we pulled out the sofa bed for Pam and I flopped down on it in a heap.  We chatted for a while but I soon started to fade.  I had to go to bed.  'Will you pull me up?’  I said, and held out my hand.  Pam grabbed it and yanked me up violently.  I shot forward and hit my nose hard on the arm of the sofa.  Blood poured all over the clean white mattress.  'Oh God, Jane I’m sorry!'  'Blimey Pam,' I said, 'you don’t know your own strength, I hope it's not broken.'  Feeling very sober all of sudden I said, ‘You’re angry with me aren’t you?’  She said that she had been furious with me all night.  She hid it very well!  ‘Pam why didn’t you tell me?  I’d have stopped immediately.’  She shrugged.  ‘God I’m so sorry Pam I thought you weren’t bothered.  I wouldn’t have done it if I’d known... well maybe I would.  I was so drunk, I’m sorry.  What a slut I can be.’ 'Oh never mind, it’s done now' she said sobering up from her anger as she watched blood streaming from my nose. We were friends again. Pam I'm so sorry I ever hurt you.  I love you more than anyone, I wasn't very good at showing it sometimes. I can't believe we will never go out and get tipsy together again.

I hereby encourage everyone to have a Pamopolitan.  To Pam!  Cheers Pam!  Look I'm doing my face from The Party!  The 'What is it?' scene.

If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Born on the Fourth of July

"Your fight is just beginning. Sometimes no one will want to hear what you are going through. You are going to have to learn to carry a great burden and most of your learning will be done alone. Don't feel frightened when they leave you. I'm sure you will come through it all OK."

Said to Ron Kovic by a priest in Da Nang.

Pam died on the third of July.