Rent

On Thursday morning it rained unexpectedly. The deluge disappointed the daughter. The flamenco top for after school street streeling was all she had clean. She balled it up and stuffed it in her school bag. The mother lay in bed doing her kegels with a full bladder and a heavy period. The daughter made her way down stairs to flitter about the kitchen thinking to line her belly with something. The dog snored and stretched beside the mother. The cat licked the open wound on his neck, scraping his sandpaper tongue along the scratch until it bled. The mother got up to get the salt and witch hazel mix again, but sidetracked by the inviting available bathroom, she relieved herself of fluids unwanted while listening to the daughter managing a bite or two with half a pint of tap water while admiring her reflection in the big mirror. The fact of the rain pissed her off and she was trying not to look like a big sulk when her mother came into the kitchen looking a bit like a dung heap of death. The daughter hated her fugly middle aged mother in that moment, hated the weather and the house and the bus and wanted more than anything to live closer to the action of town, not the stretches of golden sandy beach her nut job parental type deemed more fitting to growing a girl child. The mother blinked sticky eye snot lids, scraped dried drool from her lips and searched for replacement fluids. She managed to fill the kettle and set it boiling but couldn’t find the tin of coffee beans when she realised the daughter was acting fucked up. She watched the daughter trample something into the bottom of her school bag, re-check her image, her screen, her image, her screen, her image, her screen.

I watch dispassionate from the space above my body where overall understanding lies like the wisdoms of my ancestors. I ease into the stars we are inside and call to the atoms of my child to be still and step away from the magic box of wonders to engage brain and sense.

She sees pix of Boyz dix mixed with tests in history and physics. She sees fake rape vids from Porn Hub. The mother sees the violations sweep the daughter as asteroids nearly unsettling her orbit, watches her steady her feet, clawing into her shoes to grab at earth not quite there.The daughter sees the intrusions as disturbances, flicks again her hair to focus on physics dynamics, sees the trash heap of maternal bliss and just shoves her to the floor.

“Look at yourself, listen to yourself, have you seen or heard yourself?” Says the daughter and stomps off to school. I, the mother know the ways of pushing shoving stomping bullyingofearthlingsin pain.

Homelessness has permeated the daughter’s life, ever afore she was born, it’s a legacy of a something quite undefinable which cannot be shook without the aid of strong magic and deep healing of the land here. In other times the mother sees the daughter with bow and arrow, barefoot wild on Scottish Highland hills, whether an age passed and gone or to be had in times to come, the here and now of it is that the daughter desires to be rid of this stinking beach hut, the high maintenance of it and the distance it is from the pool. The mother that is I lies on the floor and knows this. 

Moving home is a thing we do. I pack it up and put it out like lifting the clothes off of the floor. It is second nature. I move along, go, shift as I am bid, taking my daughter, hound and manky badness the cat where we end up. I love my home. I love the beach and the assholes. The more the small men have fenced me in the stronger I have become. The stronger we have become. The mother has packed away and picked up again to place once more the stuff of a lifetime made. The furniture strong enough to dance on, the drawn on tables and chairs, the favourite glass with the little fish, the sheepskin she slept on, free to suck all night, if she wanted, ’til she was three.

They are rootless trees, single mothers with nearly grown daughters. This pair are fucked off with the weather of not knowing where to go next. They are the strongest of trees, this mother and daughter pair. They have withstood with a modicum of grace, the winds of ice from toxic ne’er-do-well’s with agendas of heroic poison. They have danced and burned the stings of betrayal and learned from the lessons. 

The daughter sits in stinking seats with bitchy nonsense dramas making noise on the test practice instructions and the daughter pictures the mother and says to herself “I am not ending up like that” and the mother on the floor hears it, sees it in her mind’s eye and is thankful for evolution, that one generation learns from the mistakes of the previous.

The mother has been shoved to the floor for a long time, in all sorts of interesting ways. Here in this place the shoves came with shouts, often screams of insults and accusations, threats and intimidations. For over a calendar year, all sorts of folks have, for little or no reason become nasty when the mother straightens her back to say no no no no no. The daughter is teaching her how to scream it, yell it, stomp it, dance it, own it. The daughter is the mother’s greatest teacher.

Homelessness is a stress not showing on the daughter’s face but easily visible in her actions of insecurity and anger. Homelessness, the threat of it, the time it takes, the energy involved, the physical actions of it are all written in the mother’s deepening wrinkles. Homelessness, the starting again, finding new work and folk who don’t gossip, drains the senses in a constant subconscious fear nibbling scratching like mice.

The mother gets up from the floor and sits still so still on her fifteen year old meditation cushion, on her magic mat gifted to her by her birth partner as the only tools she needs to get through motherhood. The mother sits in the beans to breathe into the root of her to make her feet grow roots to bury straight through the earth to the heart of Mother. The mother straightens her shoulders to align her chakras the best she can and she sits and she sits and she sits until breath is all there is.

Threats of eviction are the rights of landlords in this country. This mother and daughter are being evicted for reporting repairs. Again. 

This woman, that is this mother, which is I, Orly Boggy, is learning to say no. My daughter does not like it. My daughter does not like change because homelessness has permeated her life like the backdrop of a movie set, it’s a never-ending cycle of evictions, notices to quit, threats of allsorts. I know you look at me and think I must be bringing this on myself, that I must be somehow to blame, or at fault, that I must DO something terribly wrong to be so consistently evicted. The truth is I am boring. I have no debt on this property. I maintain it to the best of my ability. I protect my home in prayer and ceremony each moment I can spare. I am actually, a model tenant. The issue is the law allows the abuse of tenants in this manner.

And those tenants, the length and breadth of Scotland are mothers just like me, with daughters just like mine, experiencing the same life. We need a new law, we need a new law. Landlords should be prosecuted for punishing tenants for reporting repairs. It should be called the Burnett Law.

The mother sits and dreams of nirvana knowing the stress of the threats of homelessness need special care, needs to be handed to the realms where wisdom meets life’s next journey. The daughter endures, just wanting to be held.

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