I have moved to Broadstairs in Kent. It’s on the edge of the London sprawl, I’m a little nervous, I’ve never lived in London before. I don’t like to look at the city from here. We’re so high up, it just spreads before us for miles, it makes me feel anxious and sick. I have to turn away and make the picture smaller and safer so I go to the back of the house. I am so surprised to find we can see patches of blue sea from here. This is more palatable. Everyone thinks that all you can see from this cul-de-sac is the city - but that’s because they lack imagination. Not me, I’m smart and inquisitive. I walk further down the lawn. It gets better; there are a thousand sandy steps down the cliff to the sea, reinforced with wide, weathered, wooden boards. And the sun is shining - that didn’t happen in Liverpool where it was just grey, industrial days of rain. The people down here are complete nob jockeys of course but who cares, it’s a pleasant setting. Not quite warm enough for a bikini, though, unless there’s a very sheltered cove at the bottom.
I go back into my house, to share my good news. There are two men in the house, both in their thirties, attractive, dark-haired. Both married to a pair of silly girls united in their purposeful, confident somnambulism, yet sadly divided by a mutual loathing.
The younger, bearded man is hiding his face. It’s almost like he is wearing a full face of make up, but I can’t see him through it. I can see parts of his face, but not his eyes. I’m dissatisfied with this so I leave him and go to caress the shorter, musclier man. He says he’s feeling guilty about being disloyal to his pathetic wife and refuses to engage. I hear myself say: ‘I’ll go and fuck the other one then’. A woman’s needs are manifold, as Benny Hill did say.
I feel proud and smart because, in a snap, I have invented a back-up plan and put it into action. That’s surprised him - as he turns away to lie on his front I skip down the stairs to find my bearded. responsive, lover. I have regained the power.
Don’t try and win, with me - it’s not going to happen, boys. I’m aware that the more attention I receive from men, the more successful I feel. It’s possible there’s something not quite right in that, but it’s just the way things are. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the fucking, I just don’t always enjoy being Patrice.
The fat, blonde, adoptive mother has gone away today. She returns later, I think she’s working. In my care she has left her new toy. It is a little black baby.
I mother it, bathe and change it, in between my duties I dig my nails into its back to hurt it and pinch the skin of its arms as hard as I can. It reacts but it does not understand. It trusts me when I am kind and fears me when I am cruel.
I know I should not hurt this innocent creature but it’s too easy, tempting and pleasurable. I try to limit myself and behave properly.
It may not be a baby at all but a cat. A small, black cat with thick, soft fur wearing red gingham pantaloons and a matching top. I put it in the bath, it tries to stand but the water is too deep - and it’s also too hot. I have already checked the temperature five, six, seven.. so many times that I became tired of repeating the action. I even checked with my elbow, what a caring mother figure I am, I know so well how to act properly at every stage. The water is not boiling, not at all - but it’s still a little too hot. I let the water out so the kitten can stand. What a silly mistake to leave the bath so full, goodness me - there, all better now.
The adoption agency left her here just 24 hours ago and already she is unsupervised and in danger. The system has failed her already; the system left her alone with me. I tell myself she wasn’t my responsibility; this helps me to excuse my behaviour.
I rub her fur and dry her just in time for her stupid mother to come back from work and claim her fluffy, clean, new baby. We both coo over her. Then I find myself on my own. I look back on the day and consider the ways in which I metered out my sly, confusing cruelty. Feel revulsed and saddened.