May 2001

Ties of Blood and Water

Well it’s that time of year again. Examinations. I’ve been doing exams every year for about ten years now. You’d think I’d be used to it. I guess it has to do with the fact that until recent years, there hasn’t been that much riding on them; at least from where I was standing. Unlike last year, these exams will count towards my degree, which I am now halfway through (holy shit!). I getting pretty worried about them an wishing I studied more this year. But then there have been some rather important things going on in my personal life which have been more than a little distracting.

I’ve got just over a week before my first three exams so I’ve decided to come back home since I think it provides a better atmosphere for studying than where I live in London. Anyway I returned home to find my mother had taken a lot of old magazines of mine and put them in a bin bag. Apparently she’d found them while rummaging through the spare room in house and decided they belonged in the trash. I went through them and rescued some stuff (from a simpler time) and then took the rest out to be collected by the bin people tomorrow morning. I’m not all that surprised that she couldn’t tell what was important to me from what wasn’t we’re not all that close. She’s always complaining that I don’t spend enough time with her and although I do sort of understand that she’s pretty lonely (she and my father separated quite a while ago) the fact is that I do have my own life to lead. And, to be honest, the fact that she couldn’t even be bothered to phone me on my birthday doesn’t in anyway motivate me to go out of my way for her. Besides we’re not particularly compatible as people and she’s often complaining and shouting at me when I am around. I may have had to live with that when I was younger but not anymore.

I guess what’s also getting to her is that she’s become acutely aware of the passage of time. Her mother recently had a stroke and is now paralysed on one side of her body. She’s flying down to see her for what could be the last time so she’s a bit depressed by this. The fact though is I don’t know what I can do to make things better. I just sort of take solace in the fact that my uncle’s here so she’s not totally alone when I’m not around.

As I was rummaging through some things I found a small passport-sized photo of my dad. It was probably taken quite while ago. I haven’t seen him in it must be two years now. According to my mom he doesn’t live all that far away and is with another woman. When I was sorting out that stuff my mom wanted to throw away I found a copy of my birth certificate. It was interesting to see that it was he who had signed it. From what I can remember it was always my mother who took care of stuff like that when I was growing up.

Two portents of my dad in as many days. You think it means anything?

Eric (I’m 21 by the way; another year older!).

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