Jealously, brats, plus ça change.
When I was a child my Gamma came to pick me up from school on a regular basis. This arrangement suited everyone. I would willingly go with Gamma where as I would kick up if my mother came to pick me up. It got Gamma out of the house and she entertained herself by being a condescending snob to all an sundry who hovered by the gate and down right rude to the head master whom she despised, owing to the fact that he once corrected her on some trivial matter (had she a gun, she would cheerfully have shot him where he stood in his George Webbs)
I was in baby infants, which means I was about 4. Now Gamma, being Gamma, was a great believer in being soft hearted with me and annoying the shit out of my mother. So naturally the easiest way to do that was to stuff me full of sweets before dinner. This was our little secret.
On this particular day I was playing with my now oldest friend. We were building some sort of fort in the sand pit and although Gamma had called me I- empress that I was- would come when I was good and ready.
I'm not sure at what juncture I looked up. But I do know what abomination met my eyes.
There was Gamma- MY Gamma- smiling and talking to some jug eared lout from the year above me. And -GET THIS!- she had given him a packet of Rollos!
MY PACKET OF ROLLOS!!
It is both a gift and a curse to be able to remember back over thirty years. But remember I do. I remember the twisted coiling sensation as rage, utter unbridled rage, enveloped me. I remember standing. I remember marching, pudgy legs pinwheeling, sending sand flying. I remember crossing the grass, I remember pulling up alongside this treacherous pair. Gamma with her tightly curled perm and silk shirts in scarlet with ruffles, her pearl earrings, her croc bag with the gold clasp ( where on earth did that bag ever go?) I remember that ugly boy with his buck teeth and hand me down clothes, ( mine were too, but some of his were so tattered a scare crow might baulk)
I remember he turned to me and I could see chocolate around his mouth, toffee in his teeth, He was in ecstasy, he made 'myomp myomp' sounds. He looked up at Gamma-my Gamma!- and beamed at her.
He was eating my chocolate. That my gamma had give him. Mine.
So I did what I thought best suited the occasion.
I kicked him as hard as I could in the shin.
Oh the sickening crack.
Oh the howls.
Oh the tears.
Oh Gamma's anger.
Oh she had a second packet of Rollos in her hand bag.
Actually the reason I remember it all so clearly is not because of the violence I meted out to that poor boy, but because of the lecture Gamma gave me all the way home. She used 'I'm very disappointed in you.' Which is the one thing, the ONLY thing that ever got through my defenses as a child. If my father said it or Gamma said it I was bereft.
Naturally I roared crying all the way home. But not for being sad over what I'd done but because I was a bully and a brat, filled with outrage and because my Gamma had been nice to that horrid boy. How dare she? And now she had used the dreaded disappointed line. How dare the world treat me in such a despicable fashion!!
My Rollos tasted bitter that day... actually they tasted chocolaty, but with that poor fool's snot filled hiccupping tears ringing in my ears and Gamma's disappointment I knew I had discovered something within myself that was ugly and ought to be tempered.
Jealously, bad, acting on it, much worse.
It wasn't until I reached about thirty that I became relatively contented with my lot in life. There is something about hitting the big 3 0 that cuts through the bullshit. Suddenly I cared not what others thought, I figured I was quite comfortable in my own skin, I didn't need stuff I thought I did. I was content to drive the car I drove, work the job I worked.
That's not to say jealously doesn't rear its ugly head now and then. You can know something about yourself and still suffer from it. Only these days it's not so much jealously I suffer from as a mild coveting of things. Shoes say, houses on Temple Road and Orwell park, that sort of thing.
Certainly I have evolved past kicking the shins of people and taking what I consider ought to be mine.
Or so I thought.
Because as Marmalade is my witness, as soon as I saw the photo of Christina Ricci and that puppy, my leg shot out and and an imaginary shin was shattered.
Her puppy, me wants it.
Labels: Mine. Mine I say.