You might like to get in the mood first with this wonderful song
Maybe leave Thus Spoke Zarathustra until later ...
Nietzsche, my darling
You want me to come right out with it and confess?
Okay then. Yes, it probably happened because I fell in love with Nietzsche. That's right, the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Don't look so surprised. I know he's not the average woman's idea of a pin-up, but then I'm not an average woman, am I. Perhaps I should've been someone truly terrible ... like Hitler. But so far I've only killed one person.
Nietzsche. I put his picture in an oval frame and beside it a little china vase of flowers. Always fresh ones. Just lawn-daisies, once, when that was all I could lay my hands on. No-one turned a hair, assuming it was a great-grandfather, I suppose. Didn't even recognise Nietzsche. That's what they're like around here.
It helped me to cope, that picture. When people came round - after David ... went - and started on about all the traffic coming through the village or the food at the Hotel de Caca or wherever they'd just got back from, I'd simply glance at those burning eyes in that oval frame and the tune of 'Once I had a secret love' would fill my head and drive out their silliness.
There was a day when Anita Dunlevy ('Neighbourhood Watch') paused in front of the frame. My heart leapt with hope. Had she recognised him?
'Must've made kissing very difficult, those big, bushy moustaches back then.' That's all she said.
It was probably disappointment that dictated my reply. 'Perhaps they didn't waste much time kissing back then. Maybe it was ... you know ... straight in.' (Explicit gesture.) 'No beating about the bush, so to speak.'
She just put the 'Watch' leaflets through the door after that. Fine by me.
Nietzschean Rule Number One: be yourself, utterly.
Nietzschean Rule Number Two: maintain only discriminatingcontacts with other human beings.
As you yourself said, my darling, 'Have about you people who are like a garden, or like music on the waters in the evening.' Anita Dunlevy? I don't think so.
I crossed her off the Christmas card list, along with old Mrs Purkiss who'd died soon after David. (Roads to freedom.)
And anyway, my darling, I love the feel of your huge moustache against my hairless woman's lips when you press your face into my imagination - when we lay together at night and you enter me with all your possibilities.
Disguise. I want nothing more to do with it.
I used to dress myself up, over and over, as one of the botched and bungled of this world. The door-mat type. Not any more. Not now I have Nietzsche - my hero, my comfort, my philosopher of the dangerous perhaps.
Yes, I know someone has to clear out the world's cupboards. But not me - not any more. The expense of spirit in a waste of being-what-other-people-think-you-should-be. Their regurgitated ideas. 'Cathy Sick-Pot, This Is Your Life.'
Not any more, it's not.
Once, my darling, there was a planet dancing in my mind.
I had the pick of the star-bright masks made for youth. I wore one for a while, smothered in the golden stars of future. It was called 'university'. It's where I first set eyes on you, my darling - though only in the distance, then. A nod and a smile. Friends in common. I never suspected how much you'd come to mean to me.
For three years the planet danced seductively, outrageously with and in my mind, teaching me to tease the seven veils from the world. I got about as far as number six.
'Quite a catch.' My family's verdict on David. I was "the first girl in the family to marry a doctor" - they didn't say "the first girl in the family to go to university"..
A village practice to start with. Just a stepping-stone.
I taught for a while at the local school. Then I was pregnant.
Next it was all that earth-mother stuff - healthy country living, fresh air for the children, property cheaper than in London and having got the house just as we wanted it. All so terribly reasonable. Irresistible.
Twins then Tom. All boys.
I remember learning, at primary school, how they used to collect rubber from trees by cutting into them and attaching little cups for the rubber stuff to run into. The trees bled whitish latex. I remembering wondering if it hurt - whether the trees got used to it.
He died trying to overtake a tractor. Head on into a meat lorry.
He always was impatient.
One of our little jokes. A doctor who was im-'patient'.
Everyone very ... supportive. Hoped I'd stay on in the village. Knew I would. Knew I'd put the children first - wouldn't 'uproot' them at such a time.
Leave their roots securely in the earth. With their father.
I was, apparently, much admired for how well I was coping. Subtext: 'Why aren't you broken by this tragedy? Why not throwing yourself on the funeral pyre?' (Übermensch, dears, Übermensch. Even then.)
Excerpt from Nietzsche, my darling from Talking it over with Genghis Khan by Heather Reyes, published by Oxygen Books, 8 October 2015.
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