A Day In Provence (French Chronicles) by Matt Carlson

Jie Jie Sola-Binna sat at her desk, in her illegally built wooden house in the countryside outside the village of Cou-Poux (neck poop) where she lived. She had had it built by her son Tony and his friends, from the left over monies of her dead husband Jackie. It was a modest house, but well put together mostly, though the tin roof made it insufferable during the summer months. She wrung her big old hands together while staring at her computer screen, the arthritis taking a toll on her hands the more she aged. She was close to 70 years old now and had on occasion thoughts of death. She knew that that day was coming and she wondered about her existence, had she lived a life worth living? Hell, no! Of course not. The fact that she hadn’t already killed herself or one of her two children when they were young had always amazed her. Now, of course, she was glad that she hadn’t, she loved her grand kids who lived next store, or at least the youngest one who still lived there. It gave her something to do, something to ease the pain of her own painful thoughts. Life had seemed like that: just a series of painful memories or realities in progress. She alone knew that she suffered from BPD (borderline personality disorder) but she had pretty much control of that today – or so she thought. Nothing was perfect or forever.

 
To her,  her whole life seemed like something that should never have been. I mean, her own Mother hadn’t even wanted her, so she grew up living with her grandmother, and a private Catholic school, always feeling a sense of being abandoned, of not being worthy of love. So she never really learned how to love, or to show it. No one had shown her! What could you expect? You can’t wring blood out of a stone, she thought. Later on, she pushed away the feelings that she had for other girls. It was considered wrong to love other girls like herself, and yet the other girls liked her for her masculine side and look. She was a bit comforting, until you got to know her. She’d always kept her hair short, never wore make up and just wasn’t like any of them. She wasn’t feminine at all. But took up the role, the only one this world had offered up to her: a woman. Then she got married to a man she didn’t love, had his children, worked as his secretary and then when he died, she was relieved. He played the guitare alright, was a good provider, drank himself to sleep every night over a bottle of wine, had an erection whenever it was necessary and then ka-poot! He died. And in any case, he hardly ever spoke, for God’s sake, so conversation sucked big time. He spent most of his energy working with his hands or on graphic projects; he’d been a graphic artist. Still today people didn’t know exactly what that meant. To Jie Jie, they had carved out a decent life together, but a modest one. She still wondered about her missed out life as a lesbian. and at least now, if there weren’t any conversations, it wasn’t due to the fact that you had nothing to share with your significant other.
 
Jie Jie wasn’t a happy woman, she never would be and had decided that she could live on, knowing that. She loved her kids now, her grandkids too, tolerated her daughter-in-law Dee-Nuh, and still managed to maintain a friend or two, or three. Her sons, Tony and Bertrand were good kids, though they too had their demons. The oldest was very technical and good with electronics, trying these days to make some extra money in landscaping , cutting trees and such. He was a bit slow in the matter of understanding relationships and so on, but so was Jie Jie, so was Bertrand. They together had no love, but they had blood. For the three of them, it was the same, they had never leanred about love, so didn’t know how to show it, to express it. All too stressful that. It was easier to talk about mundane things, or things outside of oneself, like culture, or  work, the house. Anything too personal was avoided. Love would remain an intellectual concept far from their realities.
 
The youngest was the gay of the family, artistic (well they both were) and was attempting to work as a hypnotic-therapist. Well, at least he had been. He wasn’t able to do anything anymore. She thought of Bertrand’s ex boy friend and how much she hated him. That whole relationship had been a mistake, she thought. But in reality, it was mostly because the ex in question totally had had her number and would have nothing to do with her. She hadn’t been able to manipulate him the way she had the boyfriend before. And now her poor Bertrand was still a mess (three years practically) after the break up. She remembered that day when HE (the ex boy friend) had come over to her house, without calling and run off with Fee-Fee and Fantabulous, the two Yorkshires that she’d been baby sitting together with Bertand for five months (Bertrand was recovering from his back “ ak-si-dent” she would say). True, her and Bertrand had kept them initially temporarily (the boyfriend was working in England) but then, when her Bertand had had that back “ ak-si-dent”  (again due to the ex!) well, she just didn’t want her little precious boy to suffer anymore. The dogs had to stay! That she had lied to the Gendamerie about everything didn’t faze her. That she had said he had broken into her house, while they were bother there didn’t faze her either, that she had said he had attacked her either…didn’t faze her. It was all about the result, not what you did to get what you wanted….And of course he hadn’t hit her physically, it was the emotional cost that he had put upon her that she would make him pay for! And in reality, it wasn’t about her son, it was about her ego and the abandoned feelings that he had brought back – the ex had revived all that by breaking up with her son and then the gall of running off with Fee-Fee and Fantabulous! Those dogs, yes, she had really loved them! 
 
She would make him pay, “Elledgmother-fucker-cock-sucker-in-hell-bastard-theive-hateful-hateful-hateful-black-hearted-son-of-a-bitch,” her rampage began and ended before she realized she was still at her desk, with her painful hands irating alone there…
“Oh, I think I’ll make some tea,” she sighed.  The BPD had roared its ugly head yet again; the sleeper has awakened.
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