Her blue eyes met mine, ” Will you help me and L this Halloween please? Dad just said to wear a black bag and a mask, but I, we don’t want to. So I thought you would help dress us up? Will you? ‘Cos you said you would last week, ‘memeber, when you kept hitting off the dressing table telling me to be quiet, when you were being really, really loud and… ”
I sighed, rolled my eyes and looked at her.
”God, why can’t you just wear a mask and have it over and done with!” I sat down, turning on the TV , I knew this was not going to be the end of it.
“You’re so mean!” she stomped her foot.
”Jesus! Will you piss off already” I turned the volume up.
“No. And I’m going to tell dad you said the ‘p’ word too and that you’re being mean to me and I bet he won’t let you go out to C’s house then, I bet ya!”
“Will you turn down the TV Mac, Jayous, I’m abroad in the shed and I can hear it” he observed her, standing with her hands on her tiny hips, eyes glaring at me. I straightened up, ready to defend myself and to beg to be let out to C’s house, if necessary.
“She said” we both began.
“One at a time, Jayous Christ Almighty” he put his hands in the air.
“Geraldine said she’d help me dress up for Halloween, ages ago, and now, now she’s saying she won’t and” our father cut her off, ” Baby how many times, take a breath, you’re talking too fast”. I rolled my eyes. “Don’t think I didn’t see that Mack’een either” he warned me. She piped up again, “That’s enough! Geraldine will help you baby” he patted her blonde hair, looked at me, “Won’t ya Mack’een, the craythur’een, look at her, asking her big sister for help, can’t ya help her, can’t ya”. I mumbled “Fine” as she stood there, my dad doting on his last born, rubbing her perfect little blonde hair, tied perfectly up (by me, earlier that morning) while she smiled sweetly at me. He smiled at us both and left.
I turned up the TV. “I’m sorry” she sat beside me, her legs dangling. ” But you did say you’d help. You always help” her little face looked at mine. I smiled, truth was Baby had us all wrapped around her tiny finger and we all knew it too. Later that day, we began ‘our’ Halloween costume preparations.
“We can’t go on together with suspicious minds…” we sang as we tried to get to sleep. “Tell me about Elvis again” she bounced on our double bed. ” Shhh” I grabbed her leg, dragging her back into the bed. “Quiet”. I could hear our older siblings and parents downstairs. “Mam is home” I whispered. “It’s late Baby, go to sleep”, I took her little legs, placed them across mine and began to sing “In the Ghetto”, hoping this would help her drift off into sleep. ” Geraldine, Geraldine” she poked my head with her chubby finger. ” Is Elvis really dead?”. “Baby, I’ve told you all about Elvis, you know he is”. “That’s awful sad. Mucker said he died eating food and that he was fat and that he wasn’t even a real King, and that he was dead long before he died, which I don’t really understand and” . I put my hand over her mouth, “You are worse than me for the talking! God will you just shut up and go to sleep, please. I’ve school in the morning” I turned my back to her. ” Geraldine, Geraldine…” she tapped my shoulder. “Geraldine, this is the last thing, I promise, Geraldine…Geraldine are you awake” I could feel her hands on my face. “Jesus. What. What is the last thing?” I rolled onto my back. “I’ve school too in the morning, it’s ok, we can still get up on time, I promise. Will you tell me about Elvis again or maybe about our Halloween costume ideas”. ” Go. To. SLEEP.” I gritted my teeth. Silence. “Baby, being in second class is not the same as being in transition year, I’ve a lot of worries, you have none, so please just go to sleep. Love ya, Goodnight” I turned back on my side. ” Good night so. Halloween is soon. I’m just letting you know. It’s on my mind like”. I rolled my eyes, sighed heavily and began the story of Elvis Aaron Presley,(again).
“Done” I placed the eye shadow brush down. Proud of my work, I handed her the mirror.
“Wow Geraldine, I look great, I look really scary. Wow.The green works really well on my skin…I think..”she studied herself.
“You’re 8 Baby, it’s monster make-up ,it’s not like mams!” I laughed.
“I look like a boy” L sulked. It had taken us days to convince L to be the ‘groom’ in our ‘Frankenstein and his bride’ Halloween costume~ which was Baby in her Holy Communion dress and L in her brothers Holy Communion suit, with added bit’s of blood and gore.
“You’ll be the bride next year L. We all know you’re not really a boy” I sighed, my patience was wearing thin. “Like I’ve told ya L, its Halloween, everybody dresses up! There are no such things as monsters yet boys and girls dress up as them. You are dressed up as Frankenstein, the greatest monster. Ever.” I watched her frown turn into a smile.
Thank f**k, I looked at the clock, one hour trick or treating with these two then home, a quick change of clothes, up to C’s then off to see the lads, I was excited.
“Will you stay for awhile Geraldine? We could eat all our sweets, ‘cos of all your hard work we got so much more than last year. Dad said I could stay up too with you and Mucker and Oliver. Dad said he’ll even let me watch one of the videos you got from ‘Xtra-Vision’, will you stay with us?” I looked at her little hands, full of all her sweets, her mouth motoring way faster than normal, clearly the effects of her ” I only had one”, sweet.
“You’ve eaten loads haven’t ya?” I laughed. She nodded. “Don’t tell dad”. I had surprised myself, when I smiled and told her I’d love to stay in and watch movies with her and our brothers. Dad had heard us, “I might sneak out to meet mammy so for a pint” he winked while putting his coat on. “Go on, will you bring back chips please?” I knew he would.
Our parents never stayed out late and only ever had the one, so you were always guaranteed chips upon their return. I quickly rang C’s house to tell her how sick I was and I sat with my little sister in her ‘wedding’ dress watching “The Gremlins”.
Yesterday, Baby rang me. The line wasn’t the best as she is living in Perth but was holidaying in Phuket . ” Ger? can you hear me Ger?” she shouted. “Yes Baby, what’s wrong? It’s late there, is everything ok?” I yelled back, my heart racing a little faster than normal. “Marry.. I said Yes” I could hear that much. “Oh my God. Oh my GOD!!!! CONGRATULATIONS, OH MY GOD” I squealed with absolute delight. I was jumping up and down on the spot, trying to keep the connection steady but not managing too, probably due to my jumping..I know, I know.
~My Baby, our Baby ‘Myth is getting married~
I will be reminding her of her first ever wedding, her fabulous green make-up and her sulky ‘groom’, (obviously) when she arrives back on our Irish shores this July.
I cannot wait to smother her in kisses,to see her and her husband to be, for the first time in nearly three years.
Love you both xx
** Craythur – Irish slang, meaning someone who deserves sympathy or empathy.