For SB, inspired by the amusing poem ‘Big Fat Kaffir Whore.’ Life is messy.
Only a few days ago it seems,
I was a lovely lady,
Bereaved of my mother,
Honorable, sweet, kind
Young for my age,
Imaginative, intelligent, positive
Looking forward to the future
The future without more pain
Careful about what I ate,
Careful about what I wore
But now it turns out
I’m just a
Big Fat Kaffir Whore!
Discarded as useless
“She is old kaffir whore.”
“Why are you saying this? Are you jealous, little girl?”
“Why would I be jealous of that old fat bitch?”
“It’s always the same. I don’t know what they are thinking when they respond at all. Either they are slappers, they think I’m big enough to handle whatever bullshit they throw at me, or they think I am useless and my feelings don’t matter anyway.” Lydia sighed. “I don’t know why I bother trying anymore.”
“Well you didn’t actually try this time.” Tom laughed. “It kind of happened without you.”
“Yeah, I don’t remember chemistry like that. I remember being attracted to unexpected people, I don’t remember throbbing all day or hearing myself hitting on people when all I was trying to do was have a conversation about work. Most unfortunate, and most embarrassing. Never mind, I will try and get out of being in the same room with him, since it is now even more uncomfortable than it was before. It would be nice to come home from work not crying for once. I can’t afford to lose this job.”
“You still care too much, and you are still painfully shy.”
“What sort of useless statement is that? It doesn’t help. Life just keeps getting worse.”
“Maybe you worry about it too much?”
“Worry about it? What else can you do, when it puts you at risk, no matter what you do for people? He forwarded my email to his stupid bosses, and I still recommended him. I have done everything I can think of doing for this moron. The only option at this point is to remove myself from the situation, and it is the only ladylike response. What the fuck do you expect me to do?” Lydia was irritated. “I was confident enough to be planning the Lucifer project when I started, and now look at me. This is miserable, and a poor excuse to fail to help my friends. The dude is obviously hopeless, so I’m not waiting around for the third strike if I can avoid it. If I get much more crap at this job, they will fire me just to make me feel even worse, and who the fuck cares what happens to me? Nobody.”
Expectations are easy. They are easy because they involve rules, doing what is expected of you. Looking right, taking the obvious route. Expectations do not involve magic, or character, or anything in the way of actual thought. Nobody complains as long as you live up to their expectations. Expectations are a bore. They are what cause you to wake up one day and realise you have locked yourself in a cage you cannot leave, because you saddled yourself with other people’s expectations. Stupid people like expectations, because it removes any need for thought. “Put a bun in my oven and wash the car.” Fuck expectations.
“You fed the Prince of Luxembourg?”
“Amongst other people. He was nice. I liked him.”
“Why don’t you ever talk about it?”
“It’s just normal life.”
Istanbul smelt of flowers, exhaust fumes and the smelly Bosphorus. Lydia almost skipped as she walked from the hotel to the hall where they were holding the Backgammon tournament. Men of varying ages and dress stood silently waiting for their numbers to be called. Lydia held her number in her hand. She was very nervous. Backgammon players from all over the world, some of whom she had probably played all waited for their initial games.
“You are too young, and the wrong gender. Where is your husband?” Ahmed frowned and growled in an effort to intimidate Lydia. “You shouldn’t have wasted your money.”
Lydia beat him, of course and proceeded to win third prize, which paid for her trip. “Fuck you, Ahmed, see you in Marrakech!” She took a horse and carriage around the city until she got bored taking photographs and returned to her hotel. She would be flying to Muscat for a few insect filled days before heading back via Morocco.
The taxi driver tried to rip her off as usual at the airport. Lydia sighed. “Must we go through this every time? I am not paying 250 dirhams for a fifteen minute trip.”
“Ah but it is fun to haggle, no?”
“Not really. Give me the real price and let’s go.” Lydia at least managed to raise a smile from the taxi driver. Marrakech as usual smelt of rotting fruit, but she always felt better there, despite the constant chatter.
“Shakira! Good to see you again!” Lydia waved to an apparent old friend as she got out of the taxi and headed to her apartment. Lydia looked pretty much like everyone else in Marrakech apart from the hair. Scruffy creative types maintained the level of mess Lydia preferred.
After a few days, she played Ahmed and various other friends again, but failed to win this time. Money was now fairly short. She would have to do better in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv bustled. There was no actual tournament here, they played private games. She did OK, enough for the next flight to New York, where she had an appointment with a banker for a game. “I don’t do sex with strangers.” Lydia cautioned the small but beautiful man.
“Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.” he said hopefully.
“Let’s get drunk.”
They ended up lying in Washington square, stargazing after a long night of staggering from bar to bar playing more and more backgammon. It was nice not to gamble for a change.
The next day she flew to Pittsburgh, where a rebel Amish man who played online had an apartment. They played and he made some half hearted attempt at banging her before she took off with a gang of bikers, travelling around Pennsylvania for a week. It was nice, but Lydia realised she could never live in America.
By the time she got to South Carolina, she was sick of gamblers. Lydia did not like gambling, she liked backgammon, and the game for her was chatting, scoring points and seeing how long you lasted. Her friends in SC were both keen gamblers and lived in a tree house. Lydia spent most of the week watching multicoloured birds flying up through the tree.
“Look at her skin! How do you get your skin like that! Look at it!” Lydia quickly grew tired of being pawed in America. Chewing gum for the brain. She much preferred the pre-Islam middle eastern mentality, not as hard to find as you might think from watching your conformist TV.
When she returned to New York, the staff at Icelandair saw that she could not deal with the heat, and gave her a free ticket home. Glacial, unsmiling, gorgeous blonde people with plane seats. How Lydia loved them for doing that. She returned home early, glad to leave the USA.
When she got home, her father was ill. He had not cared about anything since he stopped work. Lydia was glad of the dog, who made sure her father at least walked every day. He had probably got an extra six years from that dog. Her mother, not a nice person, was horrific for the next four years, constantly reminding Lydia how useless she was, how she had no friends, how she should live. Lydia was patient, because she knew that unless she took care of them, nobody would. It was hard, but Lydia was so glad not to have to deal with violent and stupid men that she did not mind. Most of the ones she ended up with were one of the two. The others were just more bullshitters.
The only job that paid decently that Lydia managed to land, as jobs were in somewhat shorter supply in Scotland when you were restricted due to your family issues, was senior management at a bank. She was sparing with details about herself, because she was aware the other contractors had very restricted lives, travelling from contract to contract. She felt too much information would frighten them.
The day after this job ended, her mother had a stroke. A month later her father starved to death, drugged by the NHS.
Ten years later her mother was killed by the NHS, also at the palliative stage. Lydia fought them off for eight months before they managed it.
“She canny live on fruit, dear. You don’t know.” the old nurses said as they tried to start the death process at home.
“She lives on 100 different herbal ingredients from all over the world which have kept her infection and pain free for months, unlike your bullshit medicine. What is wrong with you? Why are you in my house talking this rubbish?”
“We have tae look after you, too. You can’t live like this.”
“That’s funny, because I’ve had to hide for twenty two years from my asshole siblings. I seem to have survived without your intervention. Please leave us alone.”
Four days before Christmas Lydia saw her mother die from stupidity and people ‘just doing their job.’ What happened to ‘first do no harm?’
Inevitably, the asshole siblings discredited Lydia at the hospital, which hugely assisted in their decision to just kill her. They didn’t even bother to hide it this time.
Lydia is useless, and nothing she does will ever be meaningful in comparison with your bullshit expectations. Fuck you.