Tuesday, December 2, 2014
The True Story of the Vortex. The Conception Files. Deleted Scene from "Three Women In A Flat".
Ginger was the golden girl, the I-always-get-what-I-want princess. Well, her life at school initially was far from golden. It was in fact as non-golden as it could get, to put it mildly. Her name was actually Gala Belén Maya, but in our first days at Cheltenham Ladies I declared I refused to call her by the name of the scarlet woman who actually made Dali’s life hell, although poor
pretended to put
up with her excrements. Yes, that was exactly what I said, word by word. Salvador
She was flabbergasted. When she suggested hesitantly we could call her Maya – ‘Maya sounds good, right?’ – I retorted that maya in the tradition of Hinduism meant delusion, and she wrinkled her pretty nose. Was it because she didn’t like the term or she didn’t know what delusion meant – we will never know. Until the present day, Ginger insists she doesn’t remember a single word of that first contact. Nobody believes her, and it’ll become clear why from the next few paragraphs.
She was a stubborn one. She said it’d be Belén then. I smashed back with belena, the Russian for “black henbane”, a poisonous though beautiful plant also referred to as “belladonna”. She beamed and said shyly that Belladonna was nice, and it could be Bell for short.
I was ruthless. ‘Dear’, I said, ‘it is belladonna, but also hog’s bean or stinking nightshadow. I’m sure you prefer the former, but I’m also dead sure the girls would know better.’
Yes, I was a nightmare (to that extent, I still am). At eleven, I could probably give Hermione Granger a run for her money. By twenty-nine I mutated into a bespectacled bluestocking, a dire warning to all the know-it-alls and Mary Sues out there.
Ginger’s Messenger of the Apocalypse, however, was Rose. She eavesdropped on my little lecture and rolled on the floor with laughter. Safe with her totally common name, pretty but neither showy nor mile-long, Rosemary exulted in regaling Ginger and the rest of the school with myriad insulting variations of her quite beautiful given name. The range was unbelievable, from Hog’s Shadow to Stinkerbell to Florence Nightinhog to Stinkadonna to God knows what else.
When Rose wasn’t in the mood, it was simply Hog or Stinky, but when she felt like taunting poor Gin… well, she could become quite nastily inventive. Imagine boarding school… breakfast… girls toying with their porridge… Cue Rosemary, a malicious pixie grin on her face, starting in the creepy mysterious tones of a practiced Shaman storyteller, stressing every key word with such dark artistisme one rarely encounters in an eleven-years-old girl:
‘Once upon a time, the Stinking Maya Queen was hogging in the nightshadows… when Prince Charming showed up… But the gales of stink were so strong that the Prince’s beans shriveled and fell off…’
Then she would continue, to bouts of stifled giggling, ‘But he braced himself and kissed her… and she turned into what she really was – a Frog.’
There are probably no words to describe the hell she put Ginger through. All in all, it wasn’t Gin’s happiest school semester.
As for me, dubbed Gator, or Gate, or – in our senior years – Gates, and Rose aka the Wicked Witch of the Westside, we became the villain and the faithful sidekick, the inseparable double horror of Glenlee House. If some benefic highest power would come and purge the school of us forever, the board would gladly fill the vacant places with Pest and Famine for a light joyous change. The teachers would probably throw a weeklong drunken party with war dances and a pin-sticking ceremony featuring voodoo doll impersonations of Rose and myself.
But it wasn’t all that easy. Sure enough, it wasn’t hard to guess who Attila the Hun and the evil gray cardinal were respectively. I was more than happy with the role of consiglieri, while Rose enjoyed her limelight to the max. What we both did to the teachers is another story.
And Gin… well, she was fated to endure it till Christmas time when, after a terrifying and embarrassing collision, she became our sworn best friend. But that’s yet another story.
At that time, she forsook her given name for Ginger, a new name fashioned courtesy of Rose’s knack for nicknaming and the ex-martyr’s own auburn hair. Gala Belén Maya was for evermore ousted to the stinking nightshadows of oblivion where she belonged. And Ginger, who became known (and hated) as Firespitter, turned her righteous wrath to the girls who used to tag along in Rose’s taunts and my snide encyclopedic remarks. Must say, she proved herself an apprentice worthy of her forked-tongued mentors.
Mlle de Boussignac was fated to become Ginger; the name suited her perfectly. For one thing, it gave birth to our university-years Friday night motto, ‘Gin wants some gin’ or ‘gin for our Gin, make it neat for our honey’ sung all over the local pub’n’club scene to the Sweets for my Sweet classic, drunkenly slurred and quite out of scansion.
What were her mother’s thoughts, we never found out. When we, Gin’s two freshmen friends - or freshwomen according to Rose - met that stately, still strikingly beautiful and quiet woman on a weekend at their
estate, we were too mortified to
bring the subject up. We addressed Gin as “dear” or “luv” for the rest of our
stay. The only daughter of Señora Lucia, named after a genius’s muse and a
famous Flamenco bailarina, to be
named Ginger, or Gingerbread, or worse, Firespitter, in that exquisitely
tasteful small villa, to her mother’s face? Unfathomable. Riviera