A daughter first, a girlfriend second and a (wannabe) writer last.
I am a daughter first.
At some point in many people’s lives - I suppose when they start a family of their own - the duties of being a son or daughter take a back seat. But I have not created my own family yet; I have no children, nor am I married, and therefore I still count being a daughter as one of my prime identities. I’m not sure how or when or even if that will change, but I doubt that my desire to please my parents will disappear just as soon as I pop out a sprog or two. However, that remains to be seen.
It was never a question of choosing between FP and my parents when making the decision to move to France, leaving mum and dad in
People ask me if my parents aren’t sad that I live in
There is no doubt that the ideal situation, for them and for me, would be for all the family to live in the same country and to be able to see one another whenever the fancy took us. But after having been so ill from tuberculosis for the last couple of years, my parents supporting me through the lows and the even lowers like only parents can, the main thing was for me to live my life again, only this time, with health on my side.
I try to call my mum as often as I can. Monday and Friday nights are best because FP is out at football training, and I get some peace. He seems to have some sort of disorder that means whenever he sees a phone attached to my ear, he is obliged to talk to me, to start a full-blown conversation about a topic that can definitely wait until the phone call is finished. He doesn’t seem to understand the concept of there being someone else on the other end of the line for the sole purpose of talking to me. So we keep the phone calls short until Monday and Friday nights when we talk for as long as we can about nothing and everything.
My dad, on the other hand, doesn’t do the phone. I rarely get to speak to him when I call home. He speaks to me through mum because it seems he has a variation of FP’s disorder where he cannot stop himself from constantly interjecting our conversation with ‘tell her it was raining today,’ or ‘tell her the story about next door’s dog,’ while I can hear mum shooshing and waving him away. But it’s nice that he wants to tell me things all the same.
He could, of course, come to the phone and tell me himself but as I said, he doesn’t do phone calls. He has some sort of fear of it. He will never answer the phone when it rings, will always leave it to my mum to pick up, not because he’s lazy, but because it doesn’t even occur to him. In the horrific and dreaded case when he is the only person in the house and the phone rings, he will hum and haw before answering after ten rings. When he hears me say ‘Hi dad, it’s me,’ he will reply in a panicked voice, ‘Ah...your mum’s not in,’ and will end the conversation as abruptly as possible. It’s not that he doesn’t want to talk to me, it’s just a man thing, I suppose.
Luckily dad does do Skype.
I am a girlfriend second which means loving the man in all his entirety, including his need to talk to me during phone calls. But that’s not too difficult.
It also means washing masses of dirty football gear, going to family dinners when I want to have a duvet day, forgetting about my 8 year vegetarian past and cooking him lumps of red, bloody meat and taking care of him when he has a man-cold.
In fact, this is exactly what I have been doing tonight because, despite it being a Friday night which would normally mean football training for him and peace for me, he is at home, suffering from a man-cold. He lies whimpering on the sofa bed, which he insisted be pulled out and made up with fluffy pillows and a blanket (‘no, not the pink one, the blue one’ he sniffles pathetically) while I run around making tea with honey and dishing out the sympathy and Paracetemol in large doses.
But then being a girlfriend to Himself is not such a bad thing. If I were to be totally truthful - and I think I’m about to drop another of my cheesy lines in here - it’s the best damn thing that ever happened to me. Being his girlfriend means cuddles and kisses. It means love and happiness and never being lonely, always having my best friend by my side. It’s sharing the ups and the downs, supporting each other through it all, and coming out the other side still holding hands, still smiling.
A wannabe writer last. Which explains the fact that since I came to live in
Due to lack of time - and peace and quiet (if it’s not the man it’s the cat) - at home, I spend my lunchtimes at the office sitting at my desk, scoffing a sandwich down my throat and writing as much as I can in the measly hour I have to myself before my colleagues come back. It’s not much, not enough to get a significant amount of writing done, but it exercises my brain, gets my imagination running, and gives me the escapism that I need just to get through another day at the office.
I don’t know if I will ever be a writer; a writer who earns money for the words they produce, that is. It is, I admit, unlikely. But I think that I will always be a writer in the true sense of the word, that is to say, someone who writes for the love of writing. And as long as I still have the ability to write for the joy of it, I will be ok either way.
The trinity of me may shift around in the years to come, but as long as I have family, the man I love and the ability to find pleasure in small, simple things such as writing, life is all good.