My Mother’s House by Pablo Vision

My mother’s house is kind of cool by my way of reckoning – loads of hippy shit everywhere -wind-chimes and scrap-metal sculpture in the garden – sometimes there’s bearded-weirdos chanting in the hot tub – or tie-dyed women making lentil soup in old tin baths. It’s more like some sort of suburban commune – a place where old freaks go to relive, as best they can, the only life they ever wanted to live. The neighbours hate it – and, of course, this is why I love it. They’ve even painted the car – I guess they were trying for something like Kesey’s bus – but all the colours got mixed up into brown sludge, and it looks like demented fanatics have made some sort of dirty protest – and maybe they have – maybe they are shitting all over the white-fence-tidy-lawn-middle-class-middle-America that they found themselves being suffocated in – like the ultimate endless bad-trip.

My father had left her for someone twenty years younger – after taking all her best years – and she found herself alone – I mean really alone – you see she’d thrown herself totally into him and her family – and found with him gone – here one day gone the next – that she had no life of her own – she didn’t even know who she was – didn’t know what to do when she woke up in the morning. She got real depressed – cried for days – just fell apart. Me and my sister rallied round – made the effort to go and see her – got her to see the Doctor and get some pills – but then she would just sit at the kitchen table for hours looking confused – not even sad – just not there if you get what I mean.

This lasted about three months – and then I am not sure what happened – maybe some old friend from the past turned up – or maybe because she had no idea what to do, or how to live, she just decided to resume what her life had been before she met dad – maybe, and this is what my sister said, she just went mad – I don’t know – but first thing I knew about this was when my sister showed up to find her playing Dylan at top volume and sharing a bong with a couple of crazies – Sis asked if she was ok – to which my mum replied – does the Pope shit in the woods – and laughed like she’d just invented the phrase. Big Sis don’t like it one bit – oh no – but fuck – I can’t help but admire the woman – she seems genuinely happy for the first time in years – off-her-rocker-stoned-drunk-loveable-laughable-lunatic – a fifty-five year old woman living – without an ounce of shame – like a teenage flower-child in a time-warp – Sis would probably like to see her join a reading group or find religion or get a part-time job or take up a hobby – but bloody hell – she’s found a life – why can’t she live madly today and screw tomorrow? Why does she have to be mother-wife-citizen? So Sis doesn’t visit no more – finds it embarrassing and, well … plain impossible I guess – I mean it can be a little weird to go and find that she has dressed an inflatable sex-doll up in my father’s clothes – pulled the pants down – shoved one big mother of a joint in its ass – and posed the thing in the front window – like a ‘bottom-cigar’ my mum said – delighting in the scatological-fuck-the neighbours-fuck-the-world obscenity of it all.

Yes I worry that she’ll get busted – or that the unpredictability will get out of hand in some terrible way – but she’s living a life that a big part of me would love to live. And it’s not all pendulum-tits and body paint and sex-dolls and geriatric hell’s angels freaking out – sometimes it’s just the smell of patchouli and the sound of sitars and sitting outside gazing into the fire and just being mellow- just being with people enjoying one more sunset, one more moonlit night, and one last flashing chance – like an Indian summer so many years after autumn started turning into winter – oh I don’t know – it sounds shit when I tell it – but it feels like home – feels more like home than my own apartment does – with its plasma screen and computers and microwave food and soulless, life-destroying, normality.

I sometimes wish my mum and sister could swap ages – Sis already lives like someone preparing for a dignified end – someone who has put all the silliness and the madness and the lust for life behind her – she cares about stains on the carpet and the price of groceries and what the neighbours might think – the only life she lives is vicariously, and safely, through books – Christ, it’s like those fuckers who win the lottery and carry on doing the same boring jobs, because, despite what they say, they’re too scared to live a different life -but my mum – I’d love to give her all those years back – because she would use every fucking minute of them – but I try not to get sad or angry – I look at her and I look at all her nutty friends – and they don’t seem sad – not overwhelmed by the cruelty of time – they are just living with the wisdom of fools – and it is only me who cries.

And maybe I don’t think of her as my mother anymore – but that’s no bad thing if you really think about it – I stopped needing a mother when I was about fifteen – and maybe that was part of the tragedy when dad left – we’d all moved on – leaving her as some sort of empty shell – or discarded husk. And it’s true that the house does not seem like my mother’s house anymore – or the house that we grew up in – but least it’s not a mausoleum for the half-living – or an object masquerading as life. So as far as I am concerned she can wave her freak-flag high no matter how ridiculous that flag might now look to anyone else.


3 Responses

  1. Pablo this comes out so simply, but rings extrodinary.

    I love how you said you would take all of your sisters years and give them back to your mother. What a beautiful and moving train of thought.

    Well done.

  2. Pablo,

    This is stunningly beautiful. I love the vivid imagery and the smells and the sounds.

    I love the contrast between ‘your mother’s house’ and your apartment, “with its plasma screen and computers and microwave food and soulless, life-destroying, normality.” That completely sums up life nowadays, doesn’t it? Big huge applause and adoration on this one.

  3. Pablo,
    The narration in this is wonderful. Sentimental, sardonic and witty.
    “it sounds shit when I tell it – but it feels like home”
    Love the way you say that.

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