The Fetility Statue (part 2) - prt 1 posted yesterday  

LifeThruALens 42M
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8/30/2006 9:18 am

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8/30/2006 12:09 pm

The Fetility Statue (part 2) - prt 1 posted yesterday


Hello again, fraid I was too distraught to finish my last blog. Had to go to the pub and vanish into a bottle of Jack. I’m back now. The dredging up of memories; though painful is at least cathartic. When last I wrote I told you of my wife and I trying for a child. We’d failed and to reignite the spark of our relationship we’d turned to swinging. For a time it had been a joyful, eye opening (and popping) experience. But then we’d discovered she was pregnant. I’d hoped I was the father. That was until I got a night visitor…

Tim was quaking (did I mention his name was Tim?) as I handed him his drink. He’d realized my wife was pregnant and had come round, at this late hour, to tell me something. I’m sure I, as you, was probably expecting Tim to admit to being the father but, once again he’d changed tact. “Do you know ‘Knight’s Past’ in Coronation Row?” he asked. I stretched my mind out (I just wanted him to get to the point) and remembered it was an unassuming antique shop near Manchester’s Chinatown. I told him this and he agreed. He went on to say he’d been there today and come across something unusual. Without further ado he took out a small photo. Like many niche market old shops it sold a collection of withered and yellowing photographs from the past and he handed me one of these. I glanced at it with only a partial interest (I was now more than annoyed at Tim’ constant changing of topics). I looked. I looked again. There it was. A photograph of a handsome married couple, probably taken in the early 1900’s. To anyone else it was nothing, a historical document at best. It had no doubt been passed by countless individuals as they browsed the pictures in “Knight’s Past”. Yet the photo was about to blow my world apart. You’re going to say you don’t believe ‒ that this is fiction. Some of you will stop reading right now. For those of you that read on you’ll just need to take my word for it. The photo was of me. Not only that but, there in the yellowed photo, was a likeness, a duplicate of my own wife. In the picture, as now, she was pregnant.

I’m sure my mouth dropped open. I accused Tim of making it in Photoshop (look at my photo on this site ‒ I know that it can create pictures. I actually laughed, I wondered why he’d waited to such a late hour to show me, perhaps for dramatic effect, but I still laughed. Tim wasn’t laughing. He drank his drink and defended his own honesty and technophobia. Certainly it wasn’t like him. Tim was single; he hadn’t created an identity for himself as a joker or an artist. He was just plain ol’ Tim. I cajoled him to tell me the truth. He stuck to his facts. I sat down and drank heavily from the drink I’d poured for myself. He retold the story again and again, and once I began to accept it he let more slip…

Tim had been in the shop for awhile before he’d encountered the photo. He said the shopkeeper had a running gag with the other 2 customers who’d bought other old pictures “Do you know the people in the picture?” (The shop keeper laughed more than the customers who offered only a polite smile). The shop owner he described (in a rather off-hand manner) as looking similar to the one from Mr. Benn. Tim said when he decided to purchase the picture (after examining it for sometime he owned up) that he handed it to the store owner and rather than share his usual joke had fixed Tim with a gaze and said “Do you know these people?”. Tim had shook his head and went to take the picture from the owner but, gripping on to the corner of the photo, the store owner had bid him to stay. The store owner then described to Tim the picture and drew attention to a statue that rested on the mantelpiece beside the posing couple. “This statue, very interesting…” he had said. “It is an African fertility symbol, it was said to imbue its owner with great sexual power…” As Tim recounted his story I stared at the statue. It was garish, a phallic monstrosity of a creature, its beak angled high like the wrenched apart end of a male member. The store owner then described what the statue was said to do for its owner. But he wasn’t done yet. At the end of the tale the shop keeper, while still holding one corner of the picture gestured behind him. There on the shelf was the very same statue. With that he’d let go of the photo and Tim had retreated…

The dawn was rising now and Tim’s story ran its course. I could hear my wife shuffling around upstairs (morning sickness). I looked at the picture. The woman in it was heavily pregnant but looked like my * none the less. And the man, the same close cropped hair, the same uncomfortable grin, the same face a figure I looked at in the mirror each day. Tim had left but his words swam in my head. I couldn’t face seeing my wife, showing her, or recounting the story. I phoned in sick (they were unsurprised ‒ I’d done it often by now) and before * was even up I left the house- bound for Chinatown.

The shop wasn’t where I thought it was. As a result it was open by the time I got there, it was early and when I walked in the store was devoid of customers. Indeed even the store owner wasn’t about. I allowed myself a smile as I thought ‘maybe he’ll just appear@ like in Mr. Benn’. Then I saw it, it wasn’t as prominent on the shelf as Tim had led me to believe. The statue itself was at the back of a stack of objects behind the counter. I half expected it to be glowing, but, like the picture, time had diminished its luster. As I hoisted my self up onto the counter to get a better look I heard a cheery voice shouting “Hello?”

A man appeared, he was dumpy with round features (and disappointingly without a fez). “The statue” I splurted without saying hello. “Ah” he said unoffended. He reached it down for me to look at (crucially he didn’t let me touch it but hovered it, out of reach, behind the counter). “Do you know it?” I momentarily took the question the wrong way and believed he was playing games. I suddenly realized he was actually inquiring if I were a collector. I told him no and, as he had with Tim he went onto describe its “powers”. I waited patiently for him to finish and when he did he at last handed it to me. I felt a shock of static discharge (or was it my imagination?) as he passed it to me. I ignored it and braved the question “Do you know of its previous owners?” He said he didn’t but he could tell me about the couple who brought it to England first (presumably the couple from the photo that now burned a bizarre hole of mystery in my pocket. “Serviceman John Ryan Turnkey (no relation to me I knew of) returned with it from his tour in the army in 1902. He returned to find his wife, whom he hadn’t seen in 14 months 7 months pregnant”. I accepted this like a man who’d reached the end of his rope might view an oncoming car. “But” the store owner added, “the peculiar thing was that though his wife had admitted infidelity during his absence, when the child was born it bore a striking resemblance to Turnkey himself. Indeed…2 he went on “the child was afflicted with the same bow-legged complaint that had plagued his father in early life.” As if guessing my next question the shop keeper added smiling “How do I know this? Well it’s mentioned in numerous scientific (and admittedly) unscientific journals of the day…” I nodded like a man who was pretending to believe a lie “Really?” But the shop keeper was adamant (he even attempted to search for the photo of the couple to prove it but, of course, that was already in my pocket. Eventually he tuned “Would you like to buy it?” Without asking the cost (and it was more than you might believe) I said yes, purchased the statue and returned home. The shop keeper waved me off as I left.

When I got home I told * all about it. Honesty is great in our relationship (or it was) so I told her the incidents as you’re reading them now. I’ve never been that spiritual but a drowning man will clutch at straws and I cleaned and restored the statue. All the time my wife staring at me, looking down her nose at me, judging me. We never used to fight but now this object 9she described as demonic) was now a lightning rod for our anger. She tried to throw it out (I refused) she knocked it off the shelf (accidentally of course) but it did more damage to the floor than anything else.

Her disbelief in its power grew, for her it was an embodiment of how much we’d grown apart and how much I didn’t want to believe the baby she was bearing was mine. For me it was an object to place hope in. The events that lead to its purchase was enough to make me believe in, well, something.

I realize I’ve gone on but can’t bear to cut down my musings. You want an ending. An answer to the mystery? Well young Michael Ryan was born on January 31st 2005 at 7lbs 8oz. Its hair was my colour, it had my eyes, and (some say) my crooked smile. They say he’s just like me, but I only get to see him on alternate weekends. You see the pressure of the pregnancy, and that added to by totemistic belief led to our divorce in March this year after a trial separation. In the settlement she got the house and I got the statue. I’m looking at it as I type this. And it is looking at me…

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