••• The International Writers Magazine: Significant Others
No Heavy Lifting
I was making notes for my students and asking them to tell me about something significant or life altering that had happened to them and suddenly thought – well I’d better just try this thing myself.
After all here I am lying in bed after having a hernia op. I’m thinking, aside from the obvious pain and having staples holding my flesh together (feels not unlike having recently swallowed a porcupine), is this a significant event? Was it life altering? I can’t lift anything for the next three months, that’s going to be irritating. Can’t drive for a three weks, that’s highly annoying, but its only life altering in a temporary way. Soon I’ll be back to my normal grumpy self and all this will recede into the background, that and the memory of my dedicated and oftentimes generous sister coming over to look after me and completely reorganising my house in such a way I will never, ever find anything ever again.
Never let a left-handed person reorganise your life, they think in a completely different way to right-handed people and their logic is alien. Any criticism at all evokes a ‘you have never loved me’ response and we must have had that row 500 times in a lifetime where we don’t talk to each other for a couple of hours. Once we had a row so bad I didn’t speak to her for two years. I guess that was life altering. Quite what the row was about I don’t recall, but it would have no basis in logic, of that I am sure.
My sister is generally impressed by the most unreasonable people on earth. President Putin can do no wrong. She will seemingly swallow any propaganda RT shove out. She has been rooting for Trump for a year at least and believes every lie he ever tells about Hillary. When I was young, Nixon was always great and misunderstood, Kissinger amazing. Assad would come under the misunderstood category it's my guess. Don’t even mention Brexit. Her own son barely speaks to her because he is convinced she voted ‘leave’.
I don’t understand the attraction of Trump to anyone. Granted I don’t favour Hillary, but jeez what else is out there with half a brain? I was all for Obama (first term) and naturally she blames him for the Arab Spring, Libya, Egypt, Syria. To a point his ‘leading from behind’ made no sense to anyone and allowed an emboldened Putin to invade the Crimea with impunity. Maybe it's about power. People are attracted to people who wield power aren't they?
How do brothers and sisters grow up so differently? What takes one down one path and one another? ‘If we weren’t related you wouldn’t even know me.’ She often states when cross with me.
How many brothers or sisters would say that? Probably more than you think.
Everyone talks about the importance of family and certainly when you are in bed and can’t move and or feed yourself too good, only family is going to pitch up to do it. But we have been the strangest family. Not one of us wants to be friends. None of us share any political views. My sister got bored and read one of my books the first time in her life recently (there are around 17 to choose from) and spent the next few days telling me that she’d never read anything so depressing in all her life and why can’t I write ‘happy stories’, be like a ‘normal’ person and celebrate life.
This about a book ‘J&K 4ever’ which concerns two young lovers determined to stay together no matter what evils society throw at them and how, even they are being hunted down, look out for each other tenderly and with determination. When my sister reads she looks for the negatives. When I write I search for the positives in a bad situation. Two opposite ways of looking at the world.
I am reminded by my sister regularly that I am only in this world because she finally persuaded me that I was dying during a heart attack and called an ambulance. Without her insistence I would have most definitely died two years ago so – yes – I have to accept her kindness and the sound of RT in the other room.
All the while I am thinking next time she's ill I shall have my culinary revenge.
The significance of all this is that either I avoid getting ill ever again and complaints about my attitude or just understand that sometimes, in the end, family is all you have. Good or bad – duty calls.
© Sam Hawksmoor October 2016
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