My old grandmother was very religious. She attended Church each Sunday and often organised events to fund money for charity. As much as I love her, she looked like a wizened monkey in a tight black dress.
She used to read from her black leather Bible to me every night. I was almost a little scared of this book. Never would she read me something normal like a fairy tale or a nursery rhyme, instead she liked to tell me tales from the Good Book. More often than not, she would read aloud to me her very favourite stories about ancient Biblical bad girls such as Jezebel, Delilah and Salome.
Though she’d always tell these stories with a pursed look upon her face and with a stern manner, I think that she saw, as I did, a kind of resilience in these women.
I remember, as a wee seven-year-old, nabbing her silk scarves, and spinning around her bungalow as a pint-sized version of the Dance of the Seven Veils. “They’ll bring me skulls on silver platters and I will build a throne from the heads of my enemies,” I dreamed. “I’ll grow large breasts and have the unholy power to cloud feeble male minds!”
Suffice to say, I was a strange strange little boy. I think my mother may have had me tested. She had a bee in her bonnet about me being in some kind of closet but I don’t know what she was talking about.