"Kick higher! Harder girl, harder!
Don't worry about what people think, just get in there and fight!
I need to see anger; I need to see determination; I need to see the real you emerging."
The real me. The REAL me. The real ME.
Who is the real me?
Is it this 41 year old lunatic, brandishing a kitchen broom dressed in her old karate outfit and wearing the scarf from her old straw gardening head around her head? Trying to do some threatening moves in front of a dozen full and reeking wheelie bins without kicking her thongs off?
Is it the chocolate addict who really, truly does dream about the stuff and, on most days, eat it for breakfast? Who can now go all poncy on you and tell the difference in cocoa content and origin whilst blindfolded yet still crave a Kit Kat Chunky when the chips are down? Who can reverently place unwrapped blocks all over the living room like sweet brown porn but take longer to photograph it than the time taken to film an entire X-rated feature?
The runner who tells everyone that she's only doing it to keep the cocoa fat from permantly affixing itself to her arse and making her resemble a human acorn but privately loves the challenge and the solitude? Being reacquainted with pointlessly joyful pop music and managing to hear her own heartbeat above the volume and the gasping? A lonely place inside a tiny dusty workshed with a mere slab of chipboard in front to look at but where ideas and solutions always arrive?
The proud local who sometimes creeps out neighbours by whipping out her camera when she walks past? The weird woman who has taken photos of litter, graffiti, pet gravesites, TV aerials, roof gutter grass, pigeon poop, ants, elevators, weeds and historically significant buildings?
I don't generally, as a rule, photograph people and this means that sometimes there are wonderful scenes that I can only re-imagine in my head, such as last week. Sapphire and Love Chunks were playing tennis, and on the lawn outside the courts was a father and his toddler daughter. She had a pretty little dress on, all covered in bright cartoonish flowers and was wearing a pointy party hat on her head and clapping her hands.
Dad was wearing a party hat too. Just him and her; playing together, surrounded by a constant stream of innercity power-walkers, dog lovers, cyclists, tennis players and strollers. I remember thinking, "That guy has more real man in him than any roided-up wrestler or Zoo reader."
The Dummy who's now available in Germany as well as the United Kingdom and Australia? The woman who tries to be considerate and drops a fart at the front door only to have it follow her all the way through to the living room and yet can utter a serious quote or two on live radio when required to plug work-related topics?
The deranged dog lover who still gets amazed by the fact that her own canine is always - without fail - utterly thrilled and overjoyed to see her when she wakes up every day? Who, after kissing her on the head and ears, still wishes that she could take Milly's place of simply living to be admired and adored?
Sapphire left this drawing on the desk for me to find. "You're a monkey in the Chinese zodiac mum, so that's why there's one up on the top left there, you make funny faces and do silly voices which is what the happy and sad masks are for; you're a Scorpio and my Feng Shui book says you are connected to the moon but are an earth sign."
Her view of me is probably more concise than anything I've been able to figure out.
Or so I thought.
Last night, as she finally crawled into bed and awaiting her good night kiss, I walked in to an overpowering mushroom cloud of Chloe perfume.
Despite being able to rent my schnozz out as a warehouse it's not going to put any drug sniffing airport beagles out of Schmackos any time soon. No, I recognised the fug as Chloe because it's the perfume I have worn since 1989. A few dabs each day and I feel complete. No make up or fancy jewellery but smelling nice is my indulgence.
"Sapphire, have you been using my perfume?"
Her big blue eyes widened as she lay there, shaking her head No.
"Sapphire, you can't lie to me. Just tell me the truth. Why do you stink of Chloe?"
"I don't know Mum. I did use the toilet spray just before, maybe it's that."
I stood back with my hands on my hips, deliberately pausing for a few moments.
"Sapphire it's Chloe. I've been wearing it since I was twenty years old; it's part of me now. Did you spray some on?"
She shrunk below the sheet so that only her eyebrows were visible. "Ughmb gumpgh mumph yes," she mumbled. Guiltily. "I just wanted to ---- to ----- um, just look at the things that you have on your dressing table; the things that you love and use every day."
And here's where I lectured. I finger waggled. I went on about being disappointed in her not owning up in the first place; to going through my private things; to wasting an expensive item. I stormed out, not kissing her goodnight and slammed the door. High and mighty.
In the retelling of the saga to Love Chunks my eyes suddenly got misty. "I actually can't believe that she wanted to look through my things," I said quietly, softening. "I feel kind of flattered and touched that she wanted to know more about me." I remembered too doing the exact thing to my mother's dressing table, looking through her earrings and scarves, bringing them up to my face and breathing in her fresh scent. I adored her.
LC arched an eyebrow. "Then that's what you need to tell her."
So I did. Gradually Sapphire's face emerged from under the sheet and a giggle or two slipped out when I told her how Mum knew I'd been in her room when my attempt at applying lipstick had extended to my chin and nostril edges in fire engine red.
We've made a date with each other for tonight. She wants to see my wedding jewellery, hear a summary of the ten books that are stacked on my nightstand and for me to show her the dresses that I keep but never wear. I'm really looking forward to it.