The incident that led to M’s less than symbiotic relationship with food occurred on the day of his wedding to the woman who was to become Daniel’s mother.
The logistics of arranging for the transportation of M’s mother-in-law in her bubble were complex enough, but the security required for his psychotically deviant American sperm donor father-in-law did rob the occasion of some of its romantic sparkle. Then there was the issue of Bernice, M’s mother. M was certain that the lack of any guests who were major characters from the world of science fiction would ensure that she did not feel compelled to off anyone before the best man’s speech, but she was still about as safe around the general public as a hand grenade without its pin. (There was a cousin on the bride’s side who bore a passing resemblance to an Orc but he was seated on on a different table from her).
M had few other relatives to invite - there were of course apologies for the absence of his father - not surprising given that M had executed him, Mafia style on the day of his 10th birthday. M’s brother Clive and sister Bathsheba - or ‘uncle drunk’ and ‘auntie mad’ as Daniel fondly came to know them in latter years, were more than enough family for anyone.
Since M and his fiancee had no room for friends or social graces within the imploding dwarf stars which masqueraded as their lives, it fell to Clive and Bathsheba to organize the wedding. They embarked on the project with great vigor, never previously having been entrusted with anything more demanding than wiping their own arses and within a week they had identified a venue.
“It looks like the South Mimms service station at the intersection of the M25 and the M1 just North of Watford,” said M nervously thumbing through the photographs he had been supplied with.
“It isn’t” replied Clive.
“Thats good” replied M.
“Its the triangle of waste land formed by the intersection of the two motorways, across the hard shoulder and crash barrier behind the service station” Clive explained.
“I see” said M. He was shaking in the way that lions do before a kill - that ecstatic inner waltz in anticipation of an act of violence that is so pure, it is almost exotic. He knew that allowing his brother and sister (people he might hurt but would never harm) to assume the pivotal role in what would be an event of unparalleled importance in his life was essential if he was to avoid an overly punitive response to disappointment. M was like a mole but it was empathy rather than vision which he lacked. His body had compensated for this deficit by increasing his indiscriminate sense of contempt for humanity to an almost superhuman degree.
“Why? Asked M, his hands opening and closing as if he were a marionette in a livid puppet show.
“I love cars” replied Bathsheba, earnestly. “Have you ever really looked at a spinning car tyre - they all resonate at different speeds sending sparks into the air that are the colour of passion and treachery. They will lead a rainbow of Sprite’s on a path over your heads as you give your vows and they will tie a web of golden jeopardy around your wrists which cannot be broken by the harlots of time.”
“Although parking might be a bit of a problem” added Clive.
M breathed through his nose. He wondered if his brother and sister’s heads would fit inside a vacuum cleaner.
“As wonderful as this sounds” said M, “I was looking for something a little more...conventional.”
“What if we chose a different stretch of motorway?” Asked Bathsheba, crestfallen.
“No motorways, no cars, I want an ordinary building accessible by road with a nice garden, a decent bar and toilet facilities.” said M.
“Does such a place even exist?” whispered Bathsheba as Clive led her away by her bejeweled arm. “I suppose it must” replied Clive in disbelief.
M’s bride to be sat on her bed, staring at her reflection in a mirror that had witnessed her face grow from tortured youth to bereft adulthood. It was her face that offered the context for change - the wall remained the same - gray, opaque, kissed by the window that was always just out of frame - as did her expression - loss - lost.
She ran her fingers along the spine of her journal, hard, green, replete with years of awkward somethings. She opened it at the latest entry titled “The 10 things I hate about M.”
1.I believe he is planning to kill the President of the United States of America with an axe - a sharpened golf club would also do the job. This would have to be at close range. I have no evidence to corroborate this but he looks like the type who might.
2.I have woken late at night to find him standing by the window in the nude. He has a diagonal scar from one side of his chest to the other - he runs his finger along its length as if it is a musical instrument. He will not tell me how it happened only that the person who did it is dead and he killed him.
3.I love him.
4.He took me to Raynham Hall for my 22nd birthday and he watched the staircase intently for 9 hours in case we saw “a misty form.” He did not go to the toilet. He did not buy a sandwich despite being offered one on three occasions by the woman from the British Legion. When he was asked to leave he asked for his money back and when the guide refused, M dragged him into the toilet and stuck his head down it until the man apologized for not providing a ghostly apparition. He did not wish me happy birthday. There was no cake. There were no balloons. This is not acceptable behaviour.
5.Everything must be in 5’s. 5 is very important to me.It is the number that stops the shouting when it is at its worst. M deliberately sorted everything in our bathroom into groups of 4. In response to this I smashed him in the face with a flowering cactus (Cumulopuntia boliviana). This was not good for the cactus.
6.He has told me that I am more of a prisoner than my mother who lives in a bubble. This is true but he has the key to my cell and he will never give it to me.
7.His favourite film is “Its a Wonderful Life.” He has watched this film over 3000 times and he has made me watch it over 100 times. Each time he watches it he cries continuously until he is hysterical and does not stop crying until he falls asleep snoring. He will not tell me why this is. Last night, we watched “Its a Wonderful Life” twice and during the second viewing I recited the entire script at the same time as all of the characters, assuming their voices. My Donna Reed and my Lionel Barrymore could do with some work, but I believe my impersonation of James Stewart is uncanny. M told me to stop and when I refused he waited until the end of the film, kicked in the television and was sick down himself before falling asleep on the sofa. This is not the way I envisaged I would be spending the night before my wedding although it was fairly close to it.
8.We are getting married on the main concourse of Cliftonville Railway station. M explained that this was (a) because his sister liked trains (b) that this was as good as it was going to get and he had rejected his brother and sister’s other ideas which included runway number 3 at Stanstead Airport, the landing site of Apollo 11 in the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon, the Bridge over the River Kwai and Hull (c) there are excellent toilet and catering facilities and (d) according to his sister Bathsheba, trains sing to you at night with the voices of the children who live in the waves.
9.I think that his father broke him in a way that can never be fixed. You could reassemble M but there would always be three pieces left on the side which you could find no use for; these would be his conscience, his sense of morality and his ability to experience happiness.
10.I fear for us if we were to have a child but most of all, I fear for the child.
She stood, put her journal away in a draw she would never open again, straightened her wedding dress and made her way towards the rest of her life. There was a single word written on the journal, it was “romance.”