Mary Marion Marjorie by AL Bowden

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Mary Marion Marjorie
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Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me Is only one person and also is three. Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me Split mind, three masks, complex trinity.

Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me
Is only one person and also is three.
Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me
Split mind, three masks, complex trinity.
I was born in Maidstone,Kent in 1965 to Ted and Marion and christened Mary Marion Marjorie Maypole. My mother said she had felt incomplete not having a middle name, so she gave me two for good measure. For anyone in authority catching me misbehaving, shrieking "Mary Marion Marjorie Maypole!" was a sure-fire scene stopper, and an effortless one. No need to strain the capital letters, unlike shouting Freddy Brown. Nor did they have to add, "What do you think you are doing?" my name was statement enough.
The tactic wasn't employed until my secondary school years. I was sweet-natured, nursery-rhymed Mary in primary school; the apple of my mother's eye. When puberty hit, bringing with it boobs, boys and hormones and a desire to grow up faster than my body would allow, I dropped Mary like a stone and entered Marion. Or Marion entered me. Mary was the name for a child or old woman or virgin. Marion was grown-up and chic and flirted with boys and took sneaky drags of cigarettes behind bike sheds. Marion got dragged off down an alley by Frankie who French-kissed her. My mother refused to acknowledge Marion, so Mary left for school in knee-high socks and a knee-length A-line skirt and passed through the school gates as Marion in hunched down socks, hitched up skirt, riskily unbuttoned blouse and pale pink lip gloss. This 'Wonder Woman' transformation took place undetected by my mother, or she feigned not noticing to avoid confrontation and the tricky job of parenting a pubescent.
Nowadays, it's less Wonder Woman and more I wonder where that woman went? My formative years weren't very informed. As a single parent with a dependant toddler, my mother was in her element. When I turned teenaged, she seemed to wake up perpetually stunned and incapable of coping. My father disappeared to goodness knows where when I was three years old, contacting me sporadically with an often late birthday or Christmas card containing a book token for ten pounds. If I was ever struggling with school or relationships or at all upset about anything, rather than delve the depths of the murky pool of muddied water that my tortured teenage mind was, mum would give me fifty pence and tell me to go to Woolies for a bag of pick n mix. Un-parented and unprepared, Mary was naive and easily led by Marion who ran off with a raw and sexy and deliciously tempting bad lad she'd fancied herself in love with the moment she set her eyes on him.
I don't hear him come in, the bad lad. He's earlier than usual and in a mad moment, Marion had tricked me into doing the twist around the living room waving a can of polish and a duster wildly while I should have been polishing the sideboard.
'No wonder the place is a bombsite. If you spent less time twitting about, you useless tart, my tea would be on the table. Look at ya. You're no bleedin' twiggy prancing about on your two left feet. You're no bleedin' good any anything, you.'
I stop dead as soon as I hear his voice. The brief moment of joy escapes my heart like air from a balloon, leaving my heart to drop heavily like a stone sinking into a pond and resting on the bottom where things exist rather than live. Marjorie turns to face him.
'I'll put it on now,' I mutter at the floor.
'"I'll put it on now."'
His mocking tone makes Mary want to head for the safety of the cupboard under the stairs. Marion is nearly riled but Marjorie holds her back, recalling painfully what happened last time Marion made an appearance. As I slump over the sink and peel the spuds, Marion bickers with Marjorie over how weak and pathetic she is and Mary drops a tear onto my face.
After tea, I slip my mobile into my pocket. '
I'm taking the dog out.' I say into the hallway.
He doesn't reply. I know he's heard me through the open lounge door but football's on. From a park bench I call my mother. Now re-married, she's found a new strength.
'But will you come this time, love? John waited an hour at the station last time, worried to death when you didn't show.'
My mother's initial "You've made your bed" attitude, as I miserably reported rows early on in my marriage, changed a few years later when on a rare visit home she fussed over a scarf I was wearing. The scarf fell away before I could catch it and her hands flew to her mouth, 'Jesus!' I slowly re-tied the scarf as she fought back tears, 'How long?' her voice betraying guilt. Marion managed a semi-defiant glare through Marjorie's soulless eyes, 'Can I come home, mum?' whispered Mary. My knees buckled under the weight of years of deceit and all three of us fell into my mother's arms.
Over the past year a plan had been hatched, aborted and re-hatched. Here I was again repeating words I had used countless times before.
'There's been a change of plan.'
I could hear the frustration in my mother's silence. 'Rita's going to drive me up after he's gone to work. I can bring Bella. I can't leave her, mum.' At the mention of her name, Bella nuzzled into my feet and grunted a contented sigh.
'Ok, love. I'll see you around lunchtime. I'll do your favourite.'
Mary smiled at the thought of beans on cheese on toast with dollops of thick brown sauce. Marion rolled her eyes at the offer of a children's meal, but Marjorie politely replied, 'Thanks mum.'
'So, I'll see you tomorrow?' she checked.
'Yes. Yes, you will,' I said, feeling my heart rise into my chest and regain strength. Because this time, we meant it.

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Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me Is only one person and also is three. Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me Split mind, three masks, complex trinity.

Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me
Is only one person and also is three.
Mary, Marion, Marjorie; me
Split mind, three masks, complex trinity.
I was born in Maidstone,Kent in 1965 to Ted and Marion and christened Mary Marion Marjorie Maypole. My mother said she had felt incomplete not having a middle name, so she gave me two for good measure. For anyone in authority catching me misbehaving, shrieking "Mary Marion Marjorie Maypole!" was a sure-fire scene stopper, and an effortless one. No need to strain the capital letters, unlike shouting Freddy Brown. Nor did they have to add, "What do you think you are doing?" my name was statement enough.
The tactic wasn't employed until my secondary school years. I was sweet-natured, nursery-rhymed Mary in primary school; the apple of my mother's eye. When puberty hit, bringing with it boobs, boys and hormones and a desire to grow up faster than my body would allow, I dropped Mary like a stone and entered Marion. Or Marion entered me. Mary was the name for a child or old woman or virgin. Marion was grown-up and chic and flirted with boys and took sneaky drags of cigarettes behind bike sheds. Marion got dragged off down an alley by Frankie who French-kissed her. My mother refused to acknowledge Marion, so Mary left for school in knee-high socks and a knee-length A-line skirt and passed through the school gates as Marion in hunched down socks, hitched up skirt, riskily unbuttoned blouse and pale pink lip gloss. This 'Wonder Woman' transformation took place undetected by my mother, or she feigned not noticing to avoid confrontation and the tricky job of parenting a pubescent.
Nowadays, it's less Wonder Woman and more I wonder where that woman went? My formative years weren't very informed. As a single parent with a dependant toddler, my mother was in her element. When I turned teenaged, she seemed to wake up perpetually stunned and incapable of coping. My father disappeared to goodness knows where when I was three years old, contacting me sporadically with an often late birthday or Christmas card containing a book token for ten pounds. If I was ever struggling with school or relationships or at all upset about anything, rather than delve the depths of the murky pool of muddied water that my tortured teenage mind was, mum would give me fifty pence and tell me to go to Woolies for a bag of pick n mix. Un-parented and unprepared, Mary was naive and easily led by Marion who ran off with a raw and sexy and deliciously tempting bad lad she'd fancied herself in love with the moment she set her eyes on him.
I don't hear him come in, the bad lad. He's earlier than usual and in a mad moment, Marion had tricked me into doing the twist around the living room waving a can of polish and a duster wildly while I should have been polishing the sideboard.
'No wonder the place is a bombsite. If you spent less time twitting about, you useless tart, my tea would be on the table. Look at ya. You're no bleedin' twiggy prancing about on your two left feet. You're no bleedin' good any anything, you.'
I stop dead as soon as I hear his voice. The brief moment of joy escapes my heart like air from a balloon, leaving my heart to drop heavily like a stone sinking into a pond and resting on the bottom where things exist rather than live. Marjorie turns to face him.
'I'll put it on now,' I mutter at the floor.
'"I'll put it on now."'
His mocking tone makes Mary want to head for the safety of the cupboard under the stairs. Marion is nearly riled but Marjorie holds her back, recalling painfully what happened last time Marion made an appearance. As I slump over the sink and peel the spuds, Marion bickers with Marjorie over how weak and pathetic she is and Mary drops a tear onto my face.
After tea, I slip my mobile into my pocket. '
I'm taking the dog out.' I say into the hallway.
He doesn't reply. I know he's heard me through the open lounge door but football's on. From a park bench I call my mother. Now re-married, she's found a new strength.
'But will you come this time, love? John waited an hour at the station last time, worried to death when you didn't show.'
My mother's initial "You've made your bed" attitude, as I miserably reported rows early on in my marriage, changed a few years later when on a rare visit home she fussed over a scarf I was wearing. The scarf fell away before I could catch it and her hands flew to her mouth, 'Jesus!' I slowly re-tied the scarf as she fought back tears, 'How long?' her voice betraying guilt. Marion managed a semi-defiant glare through Marjorie's soulless eyes, 'Can I come home, mum?' whispered Mary. My knees buckled under the weight of years of deceit and all three of us fell into my mother's arms.
Over the past year a plan had been hatched, aborted and re-hatched. Here I was again repeating words I had used countless times before.
'There's been a change of plan.'
I could hear the frustration in my mother's silence. 'Rita's going to drive me up after he's gone to work. I can bring Bella. I can't leave her, mum.' At the mention of her name, Bella nuzzled into my feet and grunted a contented sigh.
'Ok, love. I'll see you around lunchtime. I'll do your favourite.'
Mary smiled at the thought of beans on cheese on toast with dollops of thick brown sauce. Marion rolled her eyes at the offer of a children's meal, but Marjorie politely replied, 'Thanks mum.'
'So, I'll see you tomorrow?' she checked.
'Yes. Yes, you will,' I said, feeling my heart rise into my chest and regain strength. Because this time, we meant it.

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