Meshed Up
2002-04-28 12:29:36 (UTC)

gemma's pain

*NOTE* i do not wish to offend anybody with this entry. i'm just
writing down what a person told me. i have nothing against japanese
people, nothing against australian people, and nothing against other
people of different races. i welcome multi-culturalism.


i was in the queue waiting for my turn to get dinner at
6.45pm when i met a girl. a woman to be more exact. she's
from my country, around mid-30s, with a 2-year-old
daughter. her name's maria gemma. i'll just call her gem.
her daughter's name is samantha.

gem's a single mum. she's been in australia since 1990. her
irish-australian husband left her three years ago. samantha
has beautiful eyes. greyish green eyes. her hair's a mess
and she can only say 'ca-ca' and 'mama'.

so gem started talking to me and we conversed in our native
tongue. her language was very crude.

'i'm a christian y'know. a very good christian. oh what's
your name again?'

'my name's candice.'

'candice...okay. are you christian? i'm a christian y'know.'

'yeah i am christian.'

'really? oh that's wonderful. i'm christian y'know. that's
why i'm reformed. do you want my number? my number is
040...oh samantha! come here! it's 040... hey how long have
you been staying here?'

'uhm..i've been staying here for less than a year.'

'what are you doing here? try to get yourself to become
smarter? do you want my number? it's maybe i
should give you my house number. but we might move out
soon. samantha!! psst! do you want my mobile or my house

'mobile should be all right.'

'okay it's 040...i used to be a lawyer y'know. back in our
home country, i was a lawyer. that's why i talk so much.
but when i came here i just became a maid of some sort.
taking care of children. samantha! but i used to be a


'samantha! come here! i've been through so much ever since
i got here. good thing i'm a christian now. i'm reformed.
you know what, christians are very good people. i mean look
at us, we're all so decent. i'm very decent you know. so is
samantha. i mean look at her. isn't she pretty? that's my
prayer to god actually. that when samantha grows up she'll
be very pretty. i'm christian you see.'

'samantha is pretty.'

'she is isn't she? her father's irish-australian. but he's
in another state now. he's such a mother fucker. he just
fucked me and knocked me up and left me.'

'how did you meet him?'

'okay i'll tell you. it's all in the past now and i've
moved on. but i'm going to tell you. it's all in the past
but i will tel you. you see... how old are you?'

'i'm 17.'

'17? oh my goodness! you're so young! you seem so mature!
you study a lot don't you? that's why you're so mature.
kids nowadays are so mature. do you have any other friends?
christian friends? cuz i'm a christian you see. i want
christian friends and i wanna look for another partner.
somebody christian so that maybe our relationship will
last. if you hang out with non-christians you just get all
fucked up. like my husband. even when we fight and even if
we're not on good terms, we still had sex every night. he
loves sex. not like me, i don't like sex. i'm very feminine
you see. i'm christian. i used to be a lawyer that's why i
talk too much. you know why he loves sex? you know why
australians love sex? it's because you can get condoms
anywhere! go to a vending machine and you get condoms of
all shapes and colors and flavors. do you know that?'

'no.. actually i don't.'

'well i'm telling you now. you should be more careful.
somebody like you. do you have a boyfriend? surely a lot of
guys go after you. it's impossible if nobody's after you.'

'uhm no nobody's after me..'

'well be careful! you know what? i have a cousin who lives
here. she told lies about me you know! she went to social
services and told lies about me, saying that i'm an unfit
mother and that i can't take care of samantha. she just
wanted samantha so that she could get the money that
samantha gets from the dole. i hate liars. i mean, she told
lies about me. she said i'm an unfit mother. look at
samantha! oh my goodness she's so noisy! she's so friendly!
it's not good is it? she should be more reserved and quiet.
if she's too friendly some guy might pick her up and rape
her. i don't want her to get raped. i'm christian.
samantha! come here! be quiet!'

'no that's okay. she's only 2 years old. and it's not a bad
thing to be warm and friendly.'

'it is a bad thing to be warm and friendly. australians
love sex and if you talk to them too much they'll pick you
up and rape you. you know why they love sex? it's because
you can get condoms everywhere! even from vending machines.
you just get condoms. i don't want samantha to get raped.
i'm christian and she's christian too. i really hate my
cousin. she told lies about me y'know. she said i'm an
unfit mother and she wanted to take samantha from me.'

'oh no...'

'she's annoying. do you have any christian friends? tell
them about me. tell that i'm christian and that i'm a very
decent person. i used to be a lawyer you know. i hate
liars. i really hate them. my cousin told lies about me.
samantha! she's too friendly! she should be more quiet!
hush! samantha i don't want you to get raped! do you notice
that australians love sex? not like the people from our
country. they're very nice. australians, all they want is
sex. they invented one night stands! they invented polygamy
as well. but it's in the past now. i'm just telling you
now. i've moved on already. don't you think the people from
our country are way nicer than australians?'

'no i...'

'yes they are. i don't wanna get married again. i don't
wanna get pregnant and have another kid. do you have any
christian friends? i really wanna find a christian partner.
maybe i will have a lasting marriage if i find a christian
husband. i met my ex husband back home. i had a boyfriend
but my ex husband said he wanted to marry me and promised
that he'd bring me here. he treated me like a queen. then
we got married and he started treating me like shit. he
just kept fucking me and fucking me. we broke up. he went
to england and i found out i was pregnant. he didn't
believe me y'know. but that's all in the past. i'm just
telling you now cuz i've moved on. i'm christian. it was a
traumatizing moment for me. absolutely terrible.'

'i can imagine...'

'it was terrible! hey one day you should go to our flat.
it's very small but just call me if you're free. it's so
nice to be able to meet somebody who's from our country and
who's christian as well. hey you know what? i have friends
who went to japan and became prostitutes. they earned so
much money but they contracted so many diseases cuz they
fucked so many japanese men. i swear japs are fucking
perverts. but you have to admire our people cuz they go
anywhere and do anything just to earn money to support
their family. unlike foreigners. australians are obsessed
with sex. you know why? cuz you get condoms everywhere!'

'well i think everybody loves sex...'

'no not everybody loves sex. i mean, in our country, people
love sex but they don't force you if you don't want to.
they respect women. people here, they treat women like
whores. i was fucked over and over again y'know. but that's
just the past. i've moved on. i'm christian. i'm talking
too much. i really used to be a lawyer. oh here's a picture
of me 20 years ago.' she took out a picture of herself in a
bathing suit.

i looked at the picture. i didn't know what to say.

'i still look the same don't i? imagine that was 20 years
ago. you see, people like us, even when we grow old, we're
still beautiful. unlike them. they're only pretty when
they're around 15 and 17. but when they turn 20, they look
50! but us, even if we're around 50 we still look young.
look at me. i'm very old but i still look young. do you see
any wrinkles in my face? no. people like us will always be


'you should come to our flat one day. you should. i really
pray that samantha will be pretty. i will praise the lord
if she grows up to be pretty. i'm christian you see. i'm
reformed. i'm very decent and so is samantha. i hate her
father you know. i hate him. he just fucked me and left me
with a baby. and my cousin told lies about me. but she
didn't win because her motives were wrong. i am christian.
that's why i won. that's why i still have samantha with me.
we're very decent people. we're christians. i hate liars. i
hate my cousin. australians are so obsessed with sex
because you know why?'

'yeah because...'

'because you get condoms everywhere! you should come to our
flat. it's very small but i promise i will invite you over.
i'll cook for you. or maybe i can treat you to a fancy

'you really don't have to. you should just spend it on

'you should come to our flat! you really should. be careful
okay? there are a lot of bad guys out there. especially for
somebody like you. you be extra careful. trust me i know.
i'm old enough and i've experienced the world. samantha is
too friendly! samantha! hush! be quiet!! don't be warm and
friendly! do you have any christian friends? i want a
christian partner. do you have my number? it's 040 ...

it was around 8.45 by that time. the conversation just went
on and on around in circles. she was devastated. she went
through hell. but she was christian. she was a lawyer. it
was just the past and she has moved on so she was just
telling the stories to me.

she continued, 'do you know kathryn? kathryn knows me. she
goes to my flat a lot. do you know her? she goes to my flat
a lot you know. if ever you have trouble contacting me just
ask her and she'll tell you how to contact me. she goes to
my flat a lot.'

*NOTE* kathryn is a receptionist in this building.
reception closes at 9pm so she gets off at 9pm.

'kathryn i'm going now! you take care okay? drive safely!
i'm going now. it's already 8.45pm. i'm going. i want you
to take care of yourself okay? what time do you get off? do
you get off at 10 or 11?'

kathryn said, 'oh no worries. yeah i'll take care of
myself. i get off at 11.'

'okay. drive safely all right? candice just ask kathryn if
you have trouble contacting me. she knows me quite well.
she goes to my flat a lot. i promise you that i'll invite
you over to my place.'

so i walked her and samantha to the tram stop at around 9pm
in the freezing cold. i didn't have a jacket with me. but
it was just a few minutes so it was all right. besides, the
cold makes me feel more alive.

i feel gem's pain. i really do. she told me so much more
(so much more that i can't really remember the other things
she said) and i saw the world through her eyes. i saw her
suffering. i saw her pain. i saw her hatred for foreigners.
for australians. for, more specifically, her ex husband.

i helped her lift samantha's pram up to the tram. i gave
samantha a pat on the head.

the last thing she said to me was 'thank you candice. thank
you. it was really nice meeting you. call me okay? it's so
nice to meet somebody like you and to be able to talk to
you. call me all right?' then she gave me a hug.

i hugged her back. 'ingat,' i said. which meant take care.
and she smiled.

i walked away from the tram stop and stepped onto the
sidewalk. i turned around and saw her. she smiled a very
big smile and wildly waved goodbye. i lifted a hand and
smiled as well.

i hugged my arms and resisted the urge to shiver. could be
from the cold...could be from the night...could be from the
conversation i just had.