A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

The Resurrection of Amanda Patterson

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The small, tanned woman stood in front of the rectangular panel recessed into the building’s wall and grinned when she recognised her name among the thirty of so others. “Amanda Patterson”. For once, it wasn’t on the front page of a daily newspaper. For once its wasn’t screaming from early morning news program or the hot subject of the morons from talkback. She heaved a sigh of relief and then turned her personal key in the post box front.

Amanda, of the pearl and twinset; Amanda of the Liz Walker clique; Amanda Patterson who sported Vuitton and Rayner, now dressed in op-shop cardi’s and tattered Levi’s she had rescued from her boys laundry. Her shoes, once Molly M were now Commando plimsolls. But, the funny thing was, Amanda didn’t give a toss. In fact, she felt more herself, rather than someone’s image of who a successful businesswoman, a mover and shaker should be.  Now a successfully home- cooked casserole (she had to learn how to cook for heavens sake) was more enjoyable than a meal at Bouquet Garni, where the lambs tongue on a bed of raspberry juice sent your taste buds and pocketbook to heaven.

At first the boys had been aghast. Although no longer living at home, being at Uni and flatting, they were still dependent on good old Mum for the weekly wash, feed, or handout. Amanda often gulped as they arrived with large bags, not bearing gifts, but dumping them on her and expecting them to be washed, ironed and returned by the next visit when they would arrive with another ’present’. She estimated they had collectively cost her more when they lived away from home than they did when they were there. She was sometimes tempted to bundle up their offerings and include a box of soappowder and fling it back at them.

Oh! Her parliamentary colleagues had laughed and jeered when she said she was going to live in a small rural community where the winter lows were –20C and the summer highs +40C. They doubled with laughter when she told them of the 100 year old cottage she had bought and they could barely restrain themselves when she produced the photos of a run down, rat and sheep infested building amongst a stand of out of control trees that she was to call home.

Now she had her new venture.

At first it had seemed preposterous. She had been idly flicking through the Internet as she waited for her future to be determined by The Minister. In Government circles it was always The Minister (in large letters) who ultimately determined your fate. Amanda had carried out one too many indiscretions and the writing was on the wall. She had tried to distract herself by surfing and she came across these couples in America, England, Holland, and Australia who had forgone the rat race and now had supposedly successful businesses over the Internet. Trading in pottery, old books, buttons, virtually anything. Amanda couldn’t get a fix on how much money could be made but suddenly her plight didn’t seem quite so bad. And she knew exactly what she could sell, and where.

The first person she had met was Mel. Mel the postmistress, come shopkeeper, come publican, come everything. She struck Amanda as someone you would describe as a rock. Tall and willowy, Mel favored trousers over frocks, a FWD over a boxy economy car. Her frizzled red hair she stuffed under an unbecoming cap, her hands were permanently enclosed in fingerless mitts –even in the height of summer. She had sought out Amanda, introduced herself, and made sure that Amanda was ofay with ht workings of mail, food, and local law. She was the repository of gossip and within a fortnight Amanda was hooked up with George for fresh fish, Sam for vegetables and amazing tomatoes, and Old Bass for odd jobs. Old Bass was a bit of a misnomer because Old bass was not old although he could be described as down to earth.  She remembered her first conversation with him.

“I won lotto a few years back,” he started off while digging a hole to make a start on the fence that would run the width of her new cottage and protect the roses and delicate flowers from passerbys.  “Two hundred and fifty thousand bloody dollars. Had to share the first prize with three other punters. They were nice enough but I couldn’t help saying to myself that I wished they had been out of the country on the night or lost their tickets. I spent in all in a year. Fifty thousand on booze, over a hundred thou on gambling, but I wasted the rest of it.”

Amanda had thought that this really summed him up. A nice enough but harmless man who had wasted away his life with drink. Probably some painful, long forgotten affair there which had led to the drink and gambling. She was in for a few surprises as her knowledge and exposure to Old Bass increased.

She had come to depend on Old Bass. A mans work, Amanda believed, should always be a mans work. When a drain was blocked or firewood needed cutting it was Old bass she turned to. In exchange, she provided him with women’s work. God of her former colleagues could hear the word she was using they would have an apoplectic fit! Mans work, woman’s work. The roles had never been that defined in the heady world of politics. You scratched in whatever patches you could. Old Bill Bass hadn’t been too impressed with her first lot of woman’s work. She had followed her mother’s recipe for cheese scones but they had turned out to be rock hard and boy were they salty. Teaspoon, tablespoon; Amanda hadn’t known the difference then. She was that far removed from her ‘natural’ life skills. The first rabbit casserole had equally been a disaster. Old Basss had thrust the bloodied corpse at her and indicated that if she could turn it into something useful then he would have no problem fixing the leak in the front window. She had to skin the disgusting thing first and then what do you do with a mangled, bloodied, pink/red piece of jelly? She vaguely recalled that bacon and red wine went with rabbit from her t days dining at Bouquet Garni, but when she rang the chef he seemed to have a hard time recalling first who she was then, what rabbit recipe he did that was sp exquisite.

‘I don’t cook rabbit Madame. I produce lapon de    . I do jugged hare once in a while for a stuffy English visitor. Now if you want an interesting recipe for Poisson or spatchcock…..”

Amanda had switched of the connection hoping against hope that he would think it was just a bad cell connection from some Godforsaken hole in the South Island.  Old Bass had grunted as he took the first bite then he had vanished to the bathroom and wasn’t in the slightest bit hungry when he returned. Still, he had fixed the window

The incident with the possum was potentially even more embarrassing but fortunately she didn’t have to tell it in its entirety so she was spared the full humiliation of it all. It had been one of those days that the locals spoke of as ‘close’ Temperatures in the mid thirties and very. Very muggy. Amanda had retired to bed early after a few two many white wines and threw off her clothes and covers in an unaccustomed abandon. She must have dreamed because she woke up with the red eye of the bedside clock clicking over 2:15 AM, and she felt horny and dry mouthed. She wandered, naked, into the kitchen the moonlight lighting up her pale body with its shock of jet-black pubic hair. She pulled open the refrigerator door and the light shone over uneaten leftovers, fruit, yogurts and the cold milk. She straightened and hungrily drunk from the bottle when she was distracted from the coolness of the milk sliding down her throat and over her neck and breast by a sound. She turned, and sitting on the floor gazing up at her with as much interest as surprise was an opossum. He must have come in through the cat door was her first thought and then she screamed and dropped the bottle. The possum turned and hightailed it back through the cat flap and Amanda was left standing looking in terror and the slowly swinging flap. She had asked for it to be disabled in the morning and the grunts and grins only conformed to her that she was awash in this place. She omitted the nakedness, as she though that Old Bass would think this was improper. Improper, citified, womanish. All the things the new Amana Patterson was trying to get away from.

“I could kill it for you. If you like” What” Amanda replied, distracted by what he might picture if she had said she was naked – and horny.

“The possum. Lay some bait or a trap. Cut it’s bloody no good head off”

Amanda shuddered at the image of a headless corpse lying on her tiled floor, her standing above it with a dangling head in her hand.

“I’ll just stick with the cat door, “ she said.

“But you can see where they’ve been. Little tight turds all over the place, half eaten fruit, stripped branches.”

So that’s what that is – thought Amanda. She had been religiously burying it all, in the hope that, out of sight out of mind.

“I’ll stick with the cat door thanks.”

.

Oh Val! My life has just turned around. I came here and I must admit it – I was a bitch on wheels. I would eat men alive and come back for seconds. Now I just feel so alive. It’s the small things first .I noticed a change in my reading habits. I can only read TIME from the back page to about halfway. Curiously the front half no longer interests me. Then it’s the bigger things. And men. I must admit that my feelings for one man in particular are quite different to the way I have felt for years. I feel as though I am unleashing changes within me, flying to heaven on once broken wings. I know it sounds silly, and poetic, and totally different from what I have ever felt before but it’s just, just, wonderful.”

Amanda threw her arms into the air and spun around.

“I’ll tell you something Mel.” Amanda shifted around the coffee table so that she was edge on to Mel. “When I first started out in politics after my first husband left me I bought this really expensive peignoir. I swore that one day, when I met the right man, I would put on that peignoir and ravish him in a way that he had never been ravished before. Oh! There were many nights that I thought that this would be the right man but I never put that thing on. It stayed in the bottom of my chest for years and years. I thought that it would never see the light of day or, when I pulled it out, the moths or something would have got to it and it would be but a pale imitation of the article I had bought. Guess what Mel? I pulled it out yesterday. I think I have found the man to wear it for.”

Mel grimaced and looked away.

“What is it? Why are you avoiding me,” muttered Amanda, a tiny bit of anger flooding into her voice.  “What are you keeping from me?”

Mel slowly turned around.

“The fact of the matter is Amanda that you are a really desperate bitch who make most men want to run a mile. You are too intimidating, outspoken, rude, devious, and arrogant that no-one would even want to see you in a shroud with a paper bag over your head.”

Well the nerve of that woman. You only see who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.   Growing into a woman, embracing my adulthood, encircling my womanhood, and having fun with my sexuality. Mystery meat and fries used to be favourites. Now I turn my nose up at anything that I haven’t seen butchered and dressed by my own eyes.

“There’s been a plan to do this for years now. The National coalition Government originally put forward the plan in the eighties but it didn’t come to anything for a variety of reasons. It has lingered in the background ever sine. They planned to damn the   Leigh River and build an artificial lake there. That about two miles on the east of here. So you can see what the natural history of our little community will be.”

Amanda nodded. “Probably this will be Lake Leigh or some politician’s name.”

“You got it love. The big advantage would be that it could be also a reservoir and, more importantly, a source of irrigation for the orchards and farms around the region. This could become one of the best pip fruit areas in the country if there was enough water and the farmers have relied on an ancient and efficient water race system for years. If they could get water piped to paddocks and water under pressure they would be in heaven. On the face of it the scheme has lots of merit. However, and it’s a big however, none of this would be free. Most landowners just haven’t got the resources to pay for it so what will happen is that the damn, the hydro station will be built, the community destroyed, and no irrigation scheme will be built because it’s, in the words of the private company which will get the contract to build it for the government, be unprofitable. Then the company sells it back to the Government and makes a huge profit.”

Amanda was familiar with the story. It was a new way that overseas Governments got costly public projects completed and the private sector loved it. They made buckets of money and sold it to poor communities as a way of providing employment and progress. Most potential employees didn’t think what would happen to them when the job was finished and the company moved on to a new project, leaving them without a job and a family now temporarily used to a higher standard of living. She looked at Karen.

“Well why don’t you do something about it?”

“What can you do? It’s a handful of people against the might of the Government and large multinational corporations.”

Amanda looked at Karen and a plan began to form.

Although she had not planned this in any way Amanda had come to the realization that her life up until now had been a life of deceptions. She had played at life rather than lived it. Her friends were only for expedience. Her beliefs were only what was the hype for that day, week, or month. Here, in Hicksville, she had found a realism that, up until now, had been missing from her life. She remembered back to that childhood dream of the cloud obscuring the sun, and she now saw it to mean not fear, but a new beginning. Amanda gazed at the perfect sun lowering itself behind the perfect, thyme scented, hills and she thought what tomorrow might bring, with a sense of complete bliss.

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2 Comments»

  Nouvel Humiliation wrote @

Keep on the good job! Nouvel Humiliation

  The Resurrection of Amanda Patterson – wear wrote @

[…] Go here to read the rest:  The Resurrection of Amanda Patterson […]


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