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‘Mother’
Adrian Bridget













 





She will break the bread into pieces. She will drop them, one by one, into the coffee cup. She will eat the soaked bread pieces with a tea spoon.

Hi, good evening, is it okay if I just start speaking —

EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE WITH THIS AGONY AGAINST ALL EXISTENCE, AS THOUGH EVERYTHING WERE POSSIBLE SO THAT IT EXHAUSTS ITSELF:

I mean without giving my name or where I’m calling from or anything yeah—

I have these thoughts and I just feel like I don’t know why but I feel like I need—

Before breakfast she looks at herself in the bathroom mirror.

PRESSURISED CONTAINER: MAY BURST IF HEATED. READ LABEL BEFORE USE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. IF MEDICAL ADVICE IS NEEDED, HAVE THE PRODUCT CONTAINER OR LABEL AT HAND. KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT, HOT SURFACES, SPARKS, OPEN FLAMES OR OTHER IGNITION SOURCE. DO NOT PIERCE OR BURN, EVEN AFTER USE. PROTECT FROM SUNLIGHT. DO NOT EXPOSE TO TEMPERATURE EXCEEDING 50°C. USE ONLY AS DIRECTED.

She points the hairspray in her direction, covering her face with her left hand.

I’M EMOTIONAL I’M NOT SOMETHING YOU WIND UP AND PUT ON A STAGE THAT SINGS CARNEGIE HALL ALBUM AND YOU PUT HER IN THE CLOSET AND FORGET TO INVITE HER TO THE PARTY AND I’M GONNA TALK BECAUSE I CAN DO SOMETHING BESIDES SINGING YOU KNOW I DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO SING A SONG THERE IS SOMETHING BESIDES THE MAN WHO GOT AWAY OR OVER THE RAINBOW OR IF YOU LIKE IT YOU LIKE IT IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT YOU DON’T LIKE IT BUT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO TAKE IT LIGHTLY ANY MORE THAN I’VE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE IT LIGHTLY I LAUGHED AT MYSELF WHEN I SHOULD HAVE CRIED AND I CRIED BECAUSE I HAD EVERY REASON I’M GOD DAMN MAD I’M AN ANGRY LADY I’M A LADY WHO IS ANGRY I’VE BEEN INSULTED SLANDERED HUMILIATED BUT STILL I — WANTED — TO BELIEVE — AND I TRIED MY DAMN BEST TO BELIEVE IN THE RAINBOW THAT I TRIED TO GET OVER AND I COULDN’T — SO WHAT — I DON’T WANNA HEAR ANY RESENTMENT FROM ANYBODY ELSE NOW ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT I AM AND I DON’T WANNA PICK UP A PAPER AND READ HOW UNFIT A MOTHER I AM I HAVE LOVED AND HAVE NEVER PLANNED REVENGE HOWEVER THIS TURNS OUT IT IS BECAUSE I AM THE RESULT OF AN AUDIENCE OF A CRITIC OF CRITICS OF WHAT PEOPLE HAVE MADE ME ALL MY LIFE ALL MY FIFTY GODDAMN MARVELLOUS FEELING SUCCESFUL AND HOPELESSLY TRAGIC AND STARLIT YEARS I GET ANGRY IT’S VERY DIFFICULT IT’S ALL WELL AND GOOD FOR YOU PEOPLE BUT YOU CAN’T WRITE HOW NERVOUS MY HANDS GET OR HOW LOST I MIGHT GET WHEN I HAVE TO REMEMBER BECAUSE I WENT THROUGH FIVE YEARS OF PSYCHOANALYSIS GOING BACK OVER A LIFE THAT WAS NO GOOD TO BEGIN WITH

OR:


the way in which the face seems to pile up on top of itself, invisibly, seems, over time, self-disfiguring. How small it is. It doesn’t take more than a single hand to grab it. Like the top of the head. Fully. It was both convulsive and paralytic; an alternating black and white pattern on the tiles of the bathroom wall.


I was thinking that—

I don’t think I can take it much longer—

wait for the train half an hour at the station—

arrive at my door in the middle of the night—

THIS INSTANT COMES ABOUT IN A PERSON AND ITS ORIGIN BECOMES THIS TINY LITTLE WILLINGNESS TO WEAKEN ONESELF:


She opens the top drawer of the bathroom cabinet: a series of carefully laid traps: a collection of beauty products, nail clippers, wet tissues, and a medicine box from that one time she was too tired to put it back in the medicine cabinet, only to find out she wouldn’t be able to take it out of the drawer again.

After breakfast she will contour her lips in a way that makes them look slightly smaller, then apply a soft pink lipstick.


maybe I should say that I have been thinking a lot lately about well how it would be if—

how did it go again—

I always thought about it but lately I’ve been like every hour or so I think about it every hour or so—

I can’t stop doing it not now—

I don’t remember what I was going to say—

please don’t hang up on me—

I can hear everything I say with a second’s delay or so—

it sounds horrible—

can you hear me—

Before breakfast she looks at herself in the bathroom mirror. Half of her face is covered in the shadows of the arms of a second woman. The second woman smiles. At the forefront, left, the third woman’s eyebrows echo the shape of her turban and leopard coat. The mouth barely holds itself on its corners. The fourth woman tilts her face, in profile, with combed hair and the blackest eyebrows. The fifth woman turns her back to a bright spot of light that is reflected in the mirror. The sixth woman is blonde, and wears a black coat. She tilts her head, no colour on the lips. The seventh woman stands towards the centre, with a long neck, black leather gloves, white pearls hanging form the ears. Her hands are inside her coat pockets. At the back, the eighth woman is barely visible: face, wrist, and neck. The light fully hits the ninth woman, to the right. Her hair doesn’t move. A cycle of provocation and retort.

it feels like there are children watching me behind a glass wall and then they go blind and their parents buy them small sunglasses at the shopping centre—

maybe this was a mistake—

I’m calling because I started having these thoughts and how different it would be I guess—

it didn’t come to anything—

A RAISING LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS OF WHAT THAT STATE IS ENCOMPASSES A NOTION DESTITUTE OF ANY UPLIFTING CONNOTATION:

So I think she felt desperate and started screaming and I just couldn’t get up and hold her. No. I stayed in the same place and looked as she screamed and felt embarrassed for her. No. Not like that.

in the shopping centre the parents carry their children on their shoulders and browse through the shop windows—

The face in itself is excessive, structurally. She wears a silk scarf around her neck. And rings on multiple fingers. And earrings.

I think what’s happening is, it’s ripping those wounds open again.

wait for the train half an hour at the station—

arrive at my door in the middle of the night—

“it starts when I realise how small you are and I’m afraid of how small you are and I hate how small you are and I’m sick of how small you are and I don’t know when you got that small but it’s when I notice it that it starts breaking (…) you were crying when you rang me at night and you told me you didn’t need to tell me what had happened and I said no and you let out another cry and I said but what happened exactlySO BADLY LOVED SO BADLY LOVED SO BADLY LOVED and you hung up and then called me again and I said (…)”

can you hear me—

WHEN THE WORLDLY TUMULT IS SILENCED, SOME KIND OF PAIN WHICH CANNOT BE REMOVED COMES TO THE SURFACE:

You can’t evaluate the line between a temporary reaction and a long-term change before the long term goes by. And even then, you forget that’s not the way it always was. Until something happens that makes it clear, it makes it clear that it is not the same anymore.

The risen Christ reveals himself to his disciples while breaking bread in an inn. Saint James’s arms spring out in amazement. Another disciple is halfway out of his chair with shock and the inn keeper has no idea of what’s going on, nor do we at first. The bread, which you would expect to be the focus of the picture, is eclipsed by Caravaggio’s favourite fruit basked, perched there on the edge of the table.

I don’t know what I’m going to do now—

but I am every hour or so—

do you know what it’s like—

when somebody loves you so much you can never see them again and you tell them it’s because you don’t have anything in common—

Do you want to show more reaction? Like choking. A naked woman choking on a low rise carpet, white, worn out, can’t be helped, because she has needles standing upright that grow out of her skin everywhere where there is skin on her body. And she’s never been able to put her arms down. Or cross her legs. Now that she’s choking, THE PRODIGAL SON can only watch her. And all THE PRODIGAL SON could ever do was watch her. THE PRODIGAL SON watched her brushing her hair, standing up because she could never sit down. THE PRODIGAL SON watched her trying to hold up the needles that yielded from her eyelids to try and open her eyes somehow, just so she could look at him from time to time. The eyes barely make their way through the sagging eyelids that ate away the lashes and the eyes.

can you hear me—

I don’t want to go back inside ever again—

when I had a door—

how did it go again—

I have been thinking a lot lately about well how it would be if—

“I can’t pretend you stand in front of me (…) I can’t see you standing in front of me anymore (…) I’d say there and I’d say don’t cry I’d say you should put that aside I’d say there’s nothing you can do about it I’d say yes I’ll get you a glass of water and I’d say please don’t say things like that and I was so fucking tired but I’m so sorry and yes I’ll get you a glass of water and I would get a glass of water and place it on the nightstand next to the cross I was so fucking tired I don’t know where they are yes I can get them but I don’t know where you store your pills but please tell me more and I’d say here”

A woman has fallen to her death from a balcony in St Paul’s Cathedral. The Cathedral was closed for the day after police were called to the building at 10.30am on Wednesday to reports that someone had fallen from the Whispering Gallery. Paramedics and police joined first-aiders there within minutes, but were unable to save the unidentified victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

THERE IS ALSO NO DOUBT THAT A HUMAN SELF FUNDAMENTALLY PREFERS THE FATALISM OF BANAL EXPERIENCE:

THE PRODIGAL SON: I’m going back into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I go back, I brush my teeth. Then I put cream on my face. Then eyeliner, black, usually. Black eyeliner. Mascara. And lipstick. Wait. Brush my teeth. I open the drawer. And the cream is inside the drawer. Then the cream on my face. I apply eyeliner and mascara. The lipstick. And then, after I do this, I finish fixing my hair. The hair spray. Then her perfume. I spray it near my ears, and neck, and wrists. Then I leave the bathroom, to put my shoes on.

























2018





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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

The paper Hotel is designed & typeset by Niall Reynolds

Hotel
is edited by Jon Auman, Thomas Chadwick & Dominic Jaeckle


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The lead images on the home page are by James R. Hugunin, excerpted from Re:Treads (1974); two photo-translations appear in Hotel #4

Hotel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License           



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2018
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