Devjani Bodepudi crafts a plethora of emotions running through the mindscape of an ideal housewife.
I worry about my son. He’s young, impressionable and naive in so many things. I don’t like the way his friends talk around him. The kind of things they say about the girls in their class. The world is a horrible place! Just the other day, on the news I heard about a seven year old girl being raped by the bus driver who took her to school every day. It is a scary, scary place, the world.
I go back to my job at hand, packing a lunch. I make sure there’s fruit, dairy, protein and carbs. I want him to be as healthy as possible. I never pack chocolate or chips. I’ve seen the other mothers and how they bring up their children, I’m glad I’m not like them. I mean I smile at them and we have a joke and a laugh and they always tell me how much of a great mother I am, but they are not my friends. I do not wish to be like them.
My husband walks in. He grunts at me. It’s a term of endearment, I tell myself. It’s our special code for, “darling could you get me my coffee?” I smile back and pour him a cup. I mean, marriage after a certain time isn’t all roses and romps in the bedroom, right? I mean, marriage after 14 years is a battle of wills and wits. It’s about not always winning. It’s about knowing that even though one of you is seen to have lost, you both actually win. The oldest cliché in the book: it’s about compromise.
I’m digressing. I’m getting distracted. I just need to concentrate on one job at a time. I know a woman can multitask, but to be honest it’s better when you don’t.
The mornings are like clockwork. I’m always on time. I check my son’s hair is not over-gelled, I check his shoes don’t need polishing and I’m satisfied. Homework and his bag have been taken care of already, the night before. I don’t like last minute scrambles. I kiss him goodbye and he leaves. Barely looking back, he mumbles a ‘bye Mum’ and I know he’s out of my hands now.
Back in the kitchen, I plate up my famous Spanish omelette…it’s light, fluffy, packed with flavour. It’s perfect. I even garnish it with tiny diced tomatoes and some chopped parsley. I know it sounds like boasting, but I am a perfectionist. And then I notice something on the plate. A hair? No, it’s not a hair. It’s only a crack, thank goodness! I let out an involuntary sigh and I find another plate. It’s fine this time.
I find myself humming. It’s bright and sunny outside, the washing which I hung out before the boys were up, will be dry in a couple of hours. I’ve already put another load in the washing machine. I use the hypoallergenic softener. It’s much kinder to our skin. I find ourselves to be overly sensitive sometimes. Perhaps it’s the sign of our times.
“The juice is too sour!” A call comes from the breakfast table. I hear the glass slam against the wood and then the door slam, shortly after. I missed the goodbye that time but the plate is virtually licked clean with just a few leaves of parsley around the edges. I clear the table, wash the remaining dishes and set about setting the house in order. The beds are made, the surfaces and knick-knacks dusted. I replace everything in their unchanging positions. There is no need for change, I believe. The vacuuming is completed in record time and the chores are done for another day, well, for another morning at least.
I contemplate baking some muffins. High fibre, fruity goodness, I think. But then I feel a little lazy. There’s a familiar niggle in an unnamed nodule, somewhere at the back of my mind and my fingers tap out imaginary letters against my thigh. My phone is on silent and I think about all the missed calls I might have had.
I know there are at least two people who may want to get a hold of me. One is the new organic grocer who wants to set up a regular order system and the other is the lady who I’m baking a birthday cake for. She wants a ‘Frozen’ extravaganza, complete with blue sugar ice shards for her brat of a daughter. But I like to avoid people on a personal level. Face to face, I feel that I don’t really have anything to say to them. Don’t get me wrong. Some people call me the life of the party. I know everyone and I’ve been told I have a wicked sense of humour. But when it comes to saying anything of any value, what I’m truly thinking? Well, you know the old saying; “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” I tend to clam up in front of people.
Usually, there’s a lot going through my mind. There’s so much that the other person should know, but it’s just not the time or the place to mention anything. You know the kind of thing. You hair looks terrible! Your child needs rules and discipline, not more chocolate. I mean, the last thing on earth they need is chocolate! Your child has obesity issues on a whole new planetary level. But as an acquaintance, someone who only meets them at birthday parties and at the school gate, it’s not my place to say, is it?
In fact, I think about my life, the people in my life and I realise that I don’t have any real friends. I don’t have anyone I can be completely honest with, other than my husband and my child. And even then, would I want to be honest with them? Do I want to see my opinions be crushed into the carpet which only I vacuum? Do I need to see myself reflected as a mere shadow in the corner of their vision? No thank you. I’m useful to them. Let me continue to feel useful. They don’t need anything else from me. I keep order and peace in the house. This place would fall apart without me.
But the niggle returns and I have to get on to Facebook. I love Facebook! I have 278 friends and although I don’t know all of them personally, I know a great many of them from school or my old work (I used to be a cashier at the local bank). It’s great for keeping in touch with people. I love seeing what people are doing.
There’s this one person I particularly love checking up on. Her name is Lorna Peel. It would be no great exaggeration to say that she used to make my life a misery when we were at school. She would be there to bully me incessantly, every single day, without fail. I was a little fat back then. I had teeth like Bugs Bunny and ears like Dumbo. I probably deserved it. And I’m not one to hold a grudge. I love seeing pictures of her baby. I loved her in her wedding dress and I simply doubled up in empathy when I learned of her husband cheating on her.
LOL! Of course, none of the above is true. I do hold a grudge! I thought her baby looked like a retarded, blotchy, ugly blob with all the charming personality and sparkling wit of its mother. And when I saw her in her wedding dress, my first instinct was to track her down and slash her fake-made up, lip-stuck smile, from ear to ear, a bit like the Joker, but much funnier. I wanted to see the blood trickle down her neck and onto her dress and leave intractable marks on something so fucking white, so fucking perfect! And when I heard about her husband’s infidelity I wanted to laugh in her face and tell her she deserved nothing else. What a bitch! Her, not me.
The phone rings, just as I log on and yes, it’s the ‘Frozen’ mother.
Yes, Sweety, that won’t be a problem. Of course I’ll drop it over to yours. You want what?
But you do realise that Elsa and Anna were the main characters not your daughter and her dog. Let me get this clear, you want me to make your daughter look like Elsa and you want me to turn her dog into the snowman?
Yes, technically everything’s possible…and you’re sure? OK. We’ll go with that.
I disconnect the call and find a whole arsenal of profanities rise to the tip of my tongue.
I look on my newsfeed and there’s Lorna. She’s pregnant again, this time with the child of her new boyfriend.
I click on Instagram and there she is again. I’m not myself here. I’m someone else. Someone with a symbol in her name or his name. I’ve got a Twitter account too. I love the Internet!
Yes, it brings me pleasure.
She; Lorna, deserves no pleasure.
You fucking whore. The baby you have spawned is the devil child and you will burn in hell. The baby will be born deaf and dumb and ugly and limbless and you will cry as you bleed. Your boyfriend, who is blind, as well as stupid will leave you and you will hang yourself in grief. At least you should! You complete waste of space.
I have another account. I log on to that too and I type:
I hope you lose the baby, you stupid, evil, cow!
One more account. I type:
I hate you. You make me sick with your fake smile and fake life. Stop pretending you’re happy, you fucking, worthless piece of shit!
I look for some pregnant celebs. These I care less about, so I just copy and paste.
I hate you. You make me sick with your fake smile and fake life! Stop pretending you’re happy, you fucking, worthless piece of shit!