The poltergeist

My teenager (one of them) is a poltergeist.

Mainly invisible, his presence is only made known by the movement and disappearance of items in the kitchen, a damp towel on the floor and by following the occasional screams from his siblings.

He shuns the light, preferring to live as a denizen of the darkness, rising at night to pilfer snacks and stomp through the house. Sometimes, you may hear the dulcet tones of YouTube, the clacking of a keyboard or the chiming of a WhatsApp notification.

I can only laugh. I was exactly the same. Teenage angst was my middle name. I lived entirely in my room, playing melodramatic, soul searching music and reading Nietsche (why?).

I haunted my home like a wraith, stopping to only to drop pearls of wisdom in front of the ignorant swine that were my parents. (Sorry, parents, but it’s just a metaphor).

They could never understand the depth of emotion that I was feeling, how put upon by the world I was and how it was impossible for them to ever plumb the depths of the trauma of being such a spiritually enlightened teenager.

Now, I erupt in gales of laughter with my long-suffering parents over my utter self-indulgence, but it’s all part of being a teenager.

So, I’ll let him sleep and dwell on the deep existential questions of his time. I’ll stock up on snacks and feed him on demand. Periodically, like some hothouse plant, I’ll drag him into the sunlight and open the curtains of his room.

One day he will emerge like a butterfly and hopefully not as a twinkly vampire with illusions of grandeur.

In all honesty, I’m quiet enjoying it. It makes a difference from his younger years when I was unable to pee by myself.

Of course, these days, the only downside is that his poltergeist senses can sniff out a hidden chocolate bar like a beagle can a fox.

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The Holidays, the Futon and the Treasure Trove

School holidays are here. Greeted with joy by my children and dread by me. During my school holidays from the age of 3, I was shipped off as an unaccompanied minor to my grandparents in another city. Now, I am left with three small people under 10, untapped potential for chaos and a lack of wherewithal for holiday programmes.

Both small boys also have a mountain of homework to get through. I have deadlines looming like Armageddon and although I am looking forward to sleeping two hours extra in the morning, lay awake half the night wondering what on earth to do with my offspring for the next month.

I think I may have a partial solution. I am drawing up a timetable and have offered Small boy aged 9 R50 a week to teach his brother and Small boy aged 6 the same if all his homework for the week is done. It is not bribery. I’d end up paying a tutor far more. Ah ha! Another solution represents itself. I have a friend looking to make some easy green. Maybe I can co-opt her in to childcare? Is our 30 year friendship worth risking? I shall have to mull over that for awhile.

In the meantime I have to unearth my futon from underneath about 10 tonnes of boxes. It is going to a new home. I slept on the blasted uncomfortable thing for years, until my doctor told me in no uncertain terms that I needed a fancy mattress that cost more than the national deficit. One night on that mattress and I’ll never sleep on another futon for as long as I live.

The reason the back killing bed has lain around unused for so long is because I am a packrat. I’d like to blame it on my star sign, but that would be a cop out. The fact is that I keep everything and on rare occasions like today throw things away in a demon-possessed frenzy. Then I find something and get totally sidetracked.

I found a box. Inside the box was a treasure trove of letters to and from friends, and the motherload of teenage angst ridden poetry. Some of it isn’t too bad, although extraordinarily painful to read, somewhat due to my aversion to punctuation. In some ways I feel totally removed from the girl I once was and in others as though I haven’t changed in the slightest.

Much of the writing dates back to my first battles with depression and its crippling isolation. There’s a lot of quasi-religious rambling, some plainly hallucinogenic Ken Kesey cum Aldous Huxley stuff and quite a bit of broken hearted blood stains. I can’t trash them. One day my children will find them and maybe they will realise that I was once human too.