Copyright© 2010 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
“I’m sorry I called you a silly name,” Stella said, sniffing back a tear.
“What was that then?” I asked still hugging her.
“The one that caused you to hit me.”
“Oh—yeah, sorry about that.”
“I deserved it, and I apologise—I should never have called you that. You’re a woman now and probably always have been. I was well out of order.”
“Stella, you’ve made your point and I’ve accepted your apology—so do shut up about it, love.”
“Oh well, the bruise has gone.”
“Has it? You and your blue magic again.”
“How would I know?” I rose and moving towards the door added, “I’m going to make some lunch. Dry your eyes and come down in half an hour.”
“Okay—I’ll have to feed Pud...where is she?” A look of horror came over her when she looked in the empty carrycot. “Tell me I didn’t hit her,” she held her hands to her face.
“She’s downstairs with Julie, who by now is probably well wrapped round her little finger.”
“Oh, thank God for that.”
“I removed her to a place of safety and Julie came and got her.”
“I suppose I should say thank you.”
“It’s not obligatory.”
“Thank you—you are like the matriarch of this household, aren’t you?”
“Sometimes—I’m going to do some lunch before it gets any later.”
I went back to the kitchen and looked in the cupboard—we ended up with sardines on toast, something I quite enjoy. I used to eat them regularly when I was in my bedsit, especially the ones in tomato sauce—nourishing and cheap. Thinking back to those days made me shudder—my life was so different now. If I’d been told then how my life would be now—I’d have thought it was impossible.
Okay, I knew that it was possible to change gender legally and get married—I simply didn’t believe it was likely to happen to me. Arguably, all this happened because I went for a bike ride on a specific day at a specific time and a certain nurse chose to drive home at the same time, and the weather chose to become thundery. If none of that had happened, I wonder where I’d be and who I’d be now?
For those who believe in fate, happenstance, serendipity or kismet—call it what you will—it required a number of different things to fall into place for my collision with Stella to have happened. Too many to make it likely it was ordained, at least to my mind. In the same way, the factors for life on earth are so manifold and dependent upon such a narrow spectrum—it’s unlikely to have been planned, much more likely to have evolved from the conditions which existed when it happened and continues to do so at present, adapting to the situation and environment as it is—the fact that the environment is changing so quickly means so many species will become extinct before we, as current custodians of the planet, even recognised they were here. That we might be directly or indirectly responsible for such events, is a testimony to our unsuitability to the job.
Mind you, mass extinctions have occurred before, several times and it has led to dominance by types of organisms, such as the dinosaurs before us. They lasted a lot longer than we have so far, and I suspect will do. All it will take is an asteroid impact or massive volcanic activity to make the place hostile to us and for something else to predominate once things settle down. When seen in that sort of context, it makes most of human endeavour, and personal issues like resolving gender issues—very small beer.
I recall a philosophy teacher suggesting if we felt really exercised about something to consider how the same issue would feel—tomorrow, next month, next year, in ten years, in a hundred years and in eternity.
So would my gender issue have been important in all of those? Absolutely! If my family are going to teach the world to live in peace and harmony, then it’s important I knock ‘em into shape as their mother.
I chuckled to myself as made the toast and opened the tins of sardines. Yeah, I’m gonna stamp out intolerance.
“What are you laughing at?” asked Stella coming into the kitchen.
“Nothing—just thinking of an oxymoronic phrase a friend of mine used to say.”
“Well, come on, spill it.”
“He’d like to stamp out intolerance.”
“Isn’t that a bit contradictory?”
“Yeah, it’s an oxymoron—like, intelligent humans.”
“Hey, I’m one of those,” she protested.
“Which, the oxy or the moron?” I said and ducked.
She scowled at me, then sniggered. It looked like the crisis had passed.
We got a bit more housework done before I went off to collect our trio of academic willbes. I am convinced all three of them will go on to higher education and do well for themselves. I’m not so sure about the boys, but I’m trying to encourage them to aspire to do so too. If at the end of the day, they decide to become tradesmen and do apprenticeships—that’s okay too. We need mechanics, plumbers and carpenters and other such valuable artisans. Maybe I’ll do a recognised bike mechanic’s course and fix bikes for a living—nah, I’d starve to death, and I suspect, I’d get fed up with it soon enough although it would be nice to be able to repair flight deck gear changers and other fiddly bits of bike kit.
“Hewwo, Mummy,” Meems grabbed round my waist and hugged tightly. She’d sneaked up behind me while I was watching the other two promenading towards me like two turbocharged snails.
“Hello, darling,” I ruffled her hair. “C’mon you two, I’d like to get home tonight.”
They were still concentrating more on their conversation than their acceleration. When they got up to us, it seemed they were discussing something which came up in their religious studies class. I wanted to cringe, having dreaded this from day one.
“But it doesn’t make sense,” insisted Trish.
“Well it says so in the Bible, so it must be true,” argued Livvie.
“What’s the problem, girls?” I asked.
“According to the Bible, right?” I nodded, Trish continued, “God made the world in seven days.”
“No, six days—he bunked off on the seventh.”
“Oh yeah—so in six days, yeah? So how come Adam an’ Eve weren’t eaten by dinosaurs?”
“It’s gotta be true, it’s the Bible and like, no one would tell lies in the Bible, would they Mummy?” insisted Livvie.
Eau dear, as Noah said when he heard the weather forecast before the flood. “Um, the Bible isn’t a reputable source of history. Much of it is a collection of myths and folk stories and Hebrew laws from the year dot. Some of the stories are allegories...” Hell’s bells, why do I do this every time—use words they can’t possibly understand?
“Alligators?” queried Trish, bursting into laughter and joined by Livvie then Mima.
“Allegories—the plural of allegory. An allegory is a story used to try and explain something which isn’t understood by the listeners and sometimes by the teller, as well. They’re often used in stories about religion because much of it relies on faith rather than logic or reason or even evidence.
“I don’t understand, Mummy.” Trish’s comment looked to be unanimous by the puzzled look upon Livvie’s and Mima’s faces.
“The story of Adam and Eve didn’t actually happen—it’s a story trying to explain the supposed fall of man.”
“What did he fall off, Mummy?”
Why do I land myself in these situations? I so want my kids to look to reason and logic and evidence before making up their minds about things—perhaps I should wait a few weeks longer before dealing with this one.
“A bike,” suggested Livvie and they both cracked up with laughter. Even I had to laugh at that one.
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