I had to go through to Falkirk yesterday to catch up with my lovely brother who not only has HIV, he now has cancer but is fighting it well.
Mij has had various drug issues in his past and this combined with the HIV and cancer would make many a man crumble…NOT my crazy brother he is just so fucking funny and spirited…he called me last week ad actually said “Janey I worry about bird flu”
I laughed out loud and said “Mij, you have had HIV since 1986, you have came through heroin addiction, you have fucking cancer I don’t think a pigeon is going to kill you!”
He has a mad jumpy dog called Cooper whom he loves dearly and it keeps him going.
He lives alone and I worry about him being lonely so I go through to the house that is just an organised tip (but much cleaner in the past year than ever…thank God) and spend the day with him.
I got to Falkirk rail station, popped into the supermarket to pick him up some food and then jumped on a bus to his street. The bus cost £2…that’s outrageous £2 for a single short bus trip? I only get charged a £1 in London I was angry that they charged that amount. The people out there are hardly rich and that’s just mental.
Anyway Mij was waiting at the stop to meet me and Cooper was dragging him all over the pavement barking and jumping, poor Mij loves the dog but the animal is clearly too powerful for him. I love Mij’s funny stories and we stocked up his fridge and sat down for tea. Cooper sat there staring at my sandwich and wined for bit as I ate it all up, then the daft dog decided to try to shag my leg. His big sharp claws gripped my ankle and he humped my calf!
Cooper has really short white and brown hair and looks a bit like a big Jack Russell Dog mixed with a Grey Hound!
“Fucking stop it you mad bastard, Janey is your Auntie” Mij shouted, as if the dog can only hump humans who are not related! I giggled and shoved the excitable animal off me.
I remembered that I had brought the Scotsman newspaper to show him, as I had a big article in the paper that I wrote about heroin and prostitution. He was very impressed and we both chatted about drugs and women who go ‘on the game’ to provide their habit. Mij asked me if he could keep the paper, I agreed and he stuck it on his wall with all the other posters and newspaper clippings. It always feels funny sitting in his living room surrounded by my face in various different shaped and sizes.
Mij and I chatted about his grand kids whom he loves dearly, they live far way and he really misses them. We talked about books we had read and then he spoke about our mum and my book. Now my autobiography really does blow the lid off our family and the sex abuse I suffered from an uncle of ours and it also charts Mij’s demise and his violence towards our mum who died in 1982.
He has NEVER spoke about the book and I had no real idea how he felt about it, and he told me he hasn’t read it but got second hand information about it from a mate.
“I feel so guilty and awful about how I treated my mammy Janey, I hit her” he mumbled through tears.
“Yes, I know Mij but she created that relationship with you, she cultivated it and you were a product of her spoiling you as a child, you were the first born and she doted on you. When dad left she became very angry and she somehow enjoyed fighting with you in a strange way” I replied.
“I think what you did was very wrong, you bullied me as well and I know that you loved me, you told me that many times, but I think your depression even back then was clearly apparent, I am not excusing you Mij but there is a bigger picture to this, you never beat her and left her crying, YOU both fought and she took part in that and goaded the fight because she needed somehow to express her shame at dad leaving”
I added and I believe that.
Mij sat there in silence and I believe to this day that kids who hit their parents or physically fight with them are reacting to ‘learned behaviour’.
Mij never did walk in, beat up my terrified mother and make her do stuff against her will, mum and he both scratched, punched and kicked each other, she would run at him and throw things and fight till he reacted and then would sit and cry and hug him. Both of them crying and being sorry to each other. It was very disturbing for me as a kid.
I explained to him that that’s how I wrote about it in the book.
As we sat there in silence I looked down to Cooper who was now lying on his back showing me his white stomach, the pink skin showing through and there crawling up the short white hairs was a FLEA…..I was shocked but immediately reached down and plucked it from his flesh and threw it straight into the gas fire and heard it crack.
Much in the same way my mother used to do when she plucked fleas from my skin as a child.
“What the fuck was that?” Mij screamed.
“A flea, fucking hell Mij Cooper has fleas” I screeched and jumped up scratching my legs.
“He has been staying at my mates house and he has cats, I have to leave him there when I get chemo, they must have given him fleas, I will go get the flea treatment from the bathroom and we will do it to him” Mij jumped up, Cooper barked and we all ran into the bathroom to get the magical flea killer drops.
Cooper sat quietly as we put the drops on him and then both Mij and I started scratching ourselves. Cooper lifted his back leg and scratched his tummy with an awkward claw upwards…it was so funny as the position was so clumsy looking. There we were all three of us clawing away, I scratched Cooper in the places where he can’t reach and he was really loving it, he stood there and let me run the sharp metal brush through his back, if a dog could have smiled then he was doing it!
So I finally made my way home, and Glasgow was very dark when the train pulled into Queen St station.
Husband and I went shopping as soon as I got home and I was exhausted to be honest, but last night as I finally climbed into bed, I recalled that horrid flea and have spent the whole night clawing my flesh and had dreams of being a kid with insects and lice creeping through the folds in my skin at the back of my knees! YUK…
I woke up this morning and had what can only be described as a ‘Rape Shower’ I scrubbed every bit of my skin and stood under a blasting hot shower till in finally felt clean.
Goodness knows if I actually have fleas, I will die if I do!_