Hang on to your stockings kids, Christmas is coming! And don’t sleep on the cookies because Santa is a cult leader…
by Miniq Brown
‘I, Honey Marie Saks, take you, Gerard Butler to be my husband.’ He pulls me by the waist toward him and then flicks his slick gelled hair toward the congregation. I’m wearing a white sequinned jumpsuit and platform heels.
‘That’s groovy babe,’ he says in a cheesy American accent. ‘But your mom and I have that shotgun thang going on.’
‘What?’ I follow his gaze down the aisle to where my mother stands in a Madonna ‘Like A Virgin’ style white mini-dress with a balloon-round pregnancy bump and lace gloves.
‘Come to Mama,’ she says, and then barges past me and grabs Gerard’s beautiful stubbly face and lays one on him.
I snap awake and gag. If I didn’t think so before, now I know: I need therapy.
My mom is pregnant, and it doesn’t bug me. She’s forty-two, it should be scientifically improbable, but whatever, it doesn’t bother me. I am a perfectly happily, newly married, well-adjusted young woman, and her pregnancy does not irk me.
It does however fill me with an ever-present, mindbogglingly violent, borderline schizophrenic, murderous rage.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fantasize about dropping her in the same hole I left The Wench (a.k.a. Jezebel), but the body count is getting pretty high in there. Plus, that kid will be my flesh and blood!
Married life… Sigh. Daks wrote me a letter, an actual honest to God letter (#OldSchool) asking for relationship advice, and what can I say? It’s not like I’m an expert in love. Take my husband for example. Whit has become the master of avoidance. I’ll say-
‘Whit you idiot you turned on the extractor fan not the override water heater.’ And he’ll say-
‘You left a plate upstairs take it down.’ And I’ll think- What the hell has that got to do with the extractor fan, and, I clean every inch of this bloody house from floor to BHS lampshade, and, what the hell do you do other than kick off your shoes after work and play X-box while your clothes are still lying on the floor. But then I might have said that because then he says-
‘I paid for the damn thing.’ And now I’m really ticked because I say-
‘There wouldn’t be a damn thing to pay for if I hadn’t fronted the eleven hundred pound contingency deposit to begin with! You’d still be living with your parents.’ And he doesn’t like that so he says-
‘I’d just have taken an extra year to move out is all.’
‘You’d have lived with your mommy and daddy until you were thirty-five because you’re a procrastinator without an ounce of responsibility!’
‘Just take the plate downstairs.’
‘Just take it downstairs.’
‘Put your clothes away.’
‘If you take your plate downstairs.’
‘I’m not taking my plate downstairs.’
‘Because I don’t like the way you asked me.’
‘Well that’s crap because you talk to me the same way.’
‘Only when you talk to me like that first.’
‘Why can’t you just take it downstairs?’
‘Why can’t you just put your clothes away?’ And on we go until one of us storms out on the other, usually me because I have to smack him on the arm for him to stop blocking the door, and I am forced to initiate freeze-out mode.
All because he turned on the extractor fan (#ThisIsWhyIDrink).
In hindsight I may have been a little harsh with the dig at his personality thing, but I’m borderline obsessive compulsive and he called me messy. He might as well have called me fat and got it over with.
So, Darling Daiquiri, no, I am not an expert, but I remember when I was seventeen… being avoided by boys and girls alike, desperate for attention and creating my own alternate realities in which I was pixie royalty and lived in a tree house and wore shorts all day… Daiquiri is having her very own Danarty Newsham experience.
Danarty Newsham, yes that is his real name and he was a member of the committee until we vetoed his ass out, besides he made everyone call him Dan. He was the worst type of player; the type that you know is a player so your guard is immediately up, and then they take weeks, sometimes months, systematically proving to you that they are nothing like their persona and that you should feel guilty for stereotyping them in this way. Then they turn around and smack you in the face (#Rihanna). So this is for you Daiquiri, and all girls like you.
10 ways to recognise a PLAYER when you see one.
1- He flirts with you. He is not shy in letting you know he’s watching you.
2- He is a Katy Perry song. He completely ignores you. You might have had a fantastic conversation on the phone or he may have flirted with you relentlessly the day before but all of a sudden he’s lost interest. Take this as a MAJOR warning.
3- He reacts to you in front of his friends. This comes in two forms. A) he is nice to you and ignores his friends to talk to you making you feel special and important. Or B) he cajoles you and makes you feel lousy and unworthy so that later on he can build you back up again.
4- He is suggestive. If he licks his lips slap him and run away for his sheer LL Cool J tackiness. He touches you every chance he gets and talks to your lips rather than your eyes.
5- He is illusive. You never know where you stand with him. You have a feeling that you don’t have the whole story.
6- He confides in you. He will tell you a secret and beg you to keep it to make you feel valuable and ultimately to manipulate you.
7- He is a mysterious place that nobody goes. As well as telling you a secret he will keep you at arms length and have unreasonable boundaries so you can’t ever see what lies beneath.
8- He appeals to all the facets of your personality, he’ll pretend to like whatever you like and be opinionated to appear intellectual. Do not be fooled if he constantly disagrees with you, this is to create conflict so when he does agree you put your guard down.
9- He’ll give you a glimpse of his family circle to make him endearing or make you feel sorry for him.
10- He has the word A$$H0L3 tattooed on his forehead! (#ImAThug #IAintGoingBackToJail!)
I missed the train by three point two seconds. I’m so angry, I ran from the 151 (a.k.a the most unreliable bus on the planet) bus stop and the train just pulled away (seven seconds early I might add).
Last night Whit and I slept on opposite sides of the bed. No-man’s-land lay between us and whoever crossed it got kicked in the shins. I could feel that Whit wasn’t sleeping well. I didn’t go up to bed until midnight, I was downstairs writing on my laptop, and he finally got a feel for what it’s like to wait up for someone.
At six when his alarm went off he was up to catch it, a once in a lifetime occurrence. I felt so sorry for him I grabbed his arm and laced it around me. He held onto me so tight kissing my neck and my shoulder and my hair and breathing in my air. It’s the first time I’ve considered I have a scent in the same way that I can breathe in Whit’s shirt and tell what kind of day he’s had. And even though I was still furious with him I let him wrap his body around me until the alarm went again and broke the spell.
I bump into my dad on the way home from Goldsmiths. He beeps at me and slows down. I jump in.
‘Hey Marie, where you of to?’
‘Just getting back actually. You?’
‘I’m going to the hospital.’
‘Anything I should be afraid of?’ He pauses, looks into his lap and then turns to me, stopping at the traffic light.
‘Your cousin Eugene has emergency open heart surgery.’ Everything freezes.
The wedding was a big fat mess and it all started with an invitation. I was tired all the time, working days and nights to save up money, so when the time to send out invites came around I wanted them all over with as soon as possible.
My father’s parents are the most typical up-themselves, wealthy West-Indian Christians. Granddad Saks is a pastor and Nanny Saks is an elder at the church. Everything has to be just so with them. I used to dread visiting them as a child: My Nan would always comment on how fat she thought I’d gotten and my mom would always knot my hair so tightly into pigtails. We always had to wear our Sunday clothes and we weren’t allowed to touch anything.
So, I’m writing out my invites and I send one to my grandparents: ‘To Mr and Mrs D Saks, Simmi and Pam’. Simmi is my father’s miserable cousin who has lived with my grandparents since she moved over from Jamaica before I was born, and Pam, I was told at the engagement party, was a part of their family too thank you very much. She’s Bentley’s godmother and to be honest I have no recollection of ever having had a conversation with her. This is how I sent their invitation unaware that all hell was about to break loose.
‘What a way the chile rude!’ Nanny Saks complained to just about anyone who would listen (I of course heard this through the never ending grape vine). How dare I send out an invitation addressed to my grandparents and the other people living in their three-storey house. Oh no Honey, you are to fill out a separate invitation for each individual person you want to invite.
‘But we didn’t print that many.’
‘So print more.’
The truth is it didn’t matter, the damage was already done. As far as Nanny and Granddad Saks were concerned I was bad-breed and had absolutely no idea how to do things properly.
‘It’s not just the invitations,’ they said, ‘you should have sat us down before any of this began and asked our permission to marry Whitaker.’
Nanny should have made all the arrangements. She should have picked the venue, catered everything herself. Picked my wedding dress, baked my cake- hell, she would have walked me down the aisle and said my vows if I’d let her. She thought it was her God-given right as my grandmother to control everything about my wedding day, even though we barely know each other and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like me. If her stipulations weren’t met she would not attend my wedding.
‘Really Nan, because of the invitation.’
Rule number one about getting married. Do not piss off the woman in control of the family. My Nan made sure of it that no one on my dad’s side of the family was involved with me, my dad (whom she blamed for everything since the garden of Eden), or Whitaker. If anyone attended my wedding they would be cut off and their inheritance deleted.
I cried for three days. My grandparents really weren’t coming to my wedding. I really wasn’t worth more than a ten by fifteen embossed cardboard print out? Twenty-five people on that side of the family has already rsvp’d. If they pulled out I’d lose one thousand eight hundred and twenty five pounds- This all unraveled over the course of three months and up until the weekend before the wedding I had no idea what was happening or who was attending.
The only person who stood by me from the Saks side was my dad’s sister, Aunt Vonney. My grandparents had stopped her entire family from attending her wedding just because they wanted her to get married later and didn’t like that Uncle Ade was African, as African as Whit is Irish might I add.
Aunt Vonney is cousin Eugene’s mother. Her family were the only Saks representatives on the day I became Mrs. Honey Marie Saks-Adams. Because of this, because of me, the Saks family has cut them off. Not a word since August 17th. And now Eugene is having open-heart surgery.
‘What happened daddy?’
‘He was fine and then he wasn’t. Vonney took him to A and E and they said he had a bleed on his heart and then all of a sudden his valve burst.’
‘It just burst?’ I’m finding it hard to take it all in. Guilt washes over me. I don’t really know Eugene that well. I was really grateful that he, Aunt Vonney, Uncle Ade, my cousins Anna, Stevie and adopted kids Niobe and Martin came to my wedding. They sacrificed their entire family to support me and we don’t know each other- all I have are faded memories of the days when the family was together and everybody pretended to love each other.
‘Is he okay? Is he going to get better?’
‘He’s in an induced coma, they’re waking him up tomorrow.’
‘How’s Aunt Vonney?’
‘I saw her this morning. She’s trying to stay strong for everyone. I told her, ‘you don’t have to be strong right now you know’, and she just broke down in my arms.’ My dad, the good old counsellor psychotherapist.
We drive on in silence and I can’t shake the uneasy feeling. What if Eugene had died? My grandparents and everyone else know what’s going on and they haven’t even called.
‘It’s not your fault Honey Marie,’ my father reads my thoughts. I cross my legs pressing my knee against the dashboard. I think, yes it is, before I tap my dad on the hand and stare out the window.
‘I love you papi.’