Dear Joanie,

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Got lost, this morning. Burke’s fault, for pointing out to me that I’ve gained two pounds since last year. I was horrified, and decided to walk to the village in the morning, instead of going by car.
First time I’ve ever done that – it’s only a few hundred meters, but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me which path to take, and which one not to, amid all those wretched vineyards here in the Bordeaux area.
Reminds me of a time in Russia with Peter. We’d had another thunderous fight, you know how temperamental he was, and I resolved to walk off by myself – let him stew a little. Like meat, men get tenderer and more palatable when left in the pan for longish whiles. This was in the swamp lands south of Suzdal. Suzdal is a touristy spot, but guess what? The swamp lands under Suzdal are not, as it turned out!
And of course the Russian peasants living there didn’t speak one word of English, so it was all rather disastrous. I believe I’ve been walking round and round, in the scorching sun, for five hours. Very bad for the complexion. I came back so exhausted and unnerved that the wholesome effects of stewing were completely lost. Peter lay perfectly happily zapping Russian television in our hotel room. You can imagine how furious I was.
Lots of mosquitoes, at the moment. And they always go for the better quality of blood, don’t they? Pulled the sheets completely off of Burke, last night, as he slept on his stomach, his bare back forming the perfect landing area. And still those wretched creatures went after me. Isn’t it always like that?

Dear Joanie,

Thursday, 8 September 2011

I’m thinking that what I really need is a widower. Burke is wonderful, of course, but he’s a serial divorcer, and though I don’t think for a moment he would want to ditch me (one has to be modest, but what man in his right mind has ever ditched me?), it makes for a difficult experience.
They get so contentious, don’t they. Divorc├ęs, I mean.  The widower, on the other hand, is saddened by his loss, humbled by fate as it were, and eternally grateful to find a new mother for his children. Even if his children are 45, as Jason’s were, when he so forcefully pursued me. The widower knows the value of life and of love, and doesn’t want to waste another minute arguing. Which, preferably, results in him agreeing with me in most things. Or at least a damn sight more often than Burke does. 
If you think of it, Burke, through his many combative marriages, has been trained to fight. And he has been trained by one of the best in the field – I am speaking of Alice, of course. So his neurons are lined up to get argumentative and heated at the drop of a hat. Which means I have to be the mature party, and though as you know I pride myself on being very tolerant and wise, in spite of my precocious age (“old as a sequoia, young as a fawn”, I once wrote in a poem about myself), it takes a toll on my nerves to be the adult. If I wanted children, I’d have them the ordinary way, you see what I mean?
If divorc├ęs are hardened combatants, Burke is a Green Beret. He ambushes, he snipes, he carpet bombs. I am getting severely fatigued from being the adult. Perhaps I should encourage him to take up a hobby. Like Thai boxing or oil wrestling, what do you think?


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