Saturday 27 April 2019

Back from the grave

Well, not exactly the grave. More like from Co-Habiting with a Teenager for six long years. Which has practically killed me, not least because I've had to zip my mouth and stop mentioning her or even acknowledging her in public. I've had to give up non-consensual hugs. Abandon my normal good manners of greeting the person in my house with a good morning (not that I ever glimpsed Lily in the morning). I am a shadow of my normal gregarious, light-hearted self.

Now Lily's left home, I'm giving up not writing about her. She's a fully fledged adult and can (and indeed does) fend for herself. Now that she's got septum and tongue piercings, bleached and rainbow-dyed hair and practically a full body tattoo, I've finally had to Let Go.

Perhaps, I muse, if I'd Let Go earlier, for example by not drawing a cartoon scroll of James I's life in order to get her through her history GCSE, I wouldn't have pushed her to the extremes of rebellion, and she'd be the most adorable, devoted daughter hanging on my every word.

But it's all too late now. One has to lie in the bed one has made, and here lies Eliza Gray, half-dead. And there, 200 miles away, lies Lily Gray under her duvet at 2.30pm after another hard week at her degree in modern musicianship (I know!), aka clubbing, downing tequila shots at Spoons, smoking and no doubt countless other unsavoury activities I'd rather not know about.

'Well darling,' says Cousin Claude, 'look on the bright side, she's going to make a fabulous rock star.'

'Except most rock stars who were into sex 'n' drugs 'n rock 'n' roll were dead by the age of 30,' I point out. 'Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Jim Henderson.'

'Might you mean Jim Morrison, darling?' enquires Claude.

'Possibly,' I say, my eyes narrowing. 'Who's Jim Henderson then?'

'The Muppet man.'

Hmmm. Or possibly Claude's Alzheimer's is playing up too. Oh well. The thing is, everyone says, hang on in there, your darling daughter will come back, but she's going to come back with a full body tattoo and multiple piercings. That's the thing.

The phone lights up. It's Cass.

'Has Tilly got any tattoos?' I enquire.

'Oh! Don't talk to me about that. A small rose on her left shoulder blade and a star on her ankle.'

'That's nothing. At least she can wear a T shirt and socks and hide them. Lily's going for a full sleeve.'

Ugh! shudders Cass. 'I said to Tills, you can dye your hair bright blue if you want, because at least you can shave it off and start again. But you've got to live with that tattoo until your dying day. You can't just take it in like a pair of bellbottoms when it goes out of fashion.'

'Exactly!' Cass and I are so birds of a feather. 'They'll be marked women. Literally. Except, I suppose, because all their generation have got tattoos, they'll all be grannies together in their bath chairs saying, oh yes, that heart was from my first boyfriend, and this dragon was when we split up, and they'll all be admiring each other's artistry and it'll be, "aah I remember the day when..." and it'll keep their minds razor-sharp.'

A lightbulb sparks in the recesses of my own dull mind. Yes!! This will be my new enterprise. Eliza Gray's Anti-Alzheimer's Tattoo Parlour. It'll be better than a diary or a photo album. A pictorial record of your life imprinted on your very being! You'd have one for every year of your life. A bit like the Christmas newsletter, starting on your ankles and working your way up.


  1. I LOVE that you're back, and with such a bang! Isn't Jim Henderson that smutty comedian? The rainbow hair conversations have just begun here...

  2. Thank you! I was all set to post more regularly, having Let Go, but Lily has just done Yet Another Terrible Thing that I had better not write about. Hopefully more soon...!

  3. PS haha - yes, smutty comedian! Who turns out to be Jim Davidson. While Jim Henderson turns out to be a Canadian baseball pitcher that nobody has ever heard of except Canadian baseball fans