Our maison de campagne has no bathroom, no toilet.
It has four rooms. Two bedrooms upstairs.
One salle de séjour downstairs on the left side of the front door.
And a kitchen on the right side. There are stairs in the middle and a big barn behind.
There's an attic with strange noises. I think there are ghosts.
When my stepfather has to travel, my mother and I stay here alone with a gun behind the front door. My mother says she will never use it. So I practice shooting on empty cans. I always miss.
When we are alone my mother hears a horse on the front steps. In the distance a wolf.
Marie Louise is posing with her friends behind the tractor. She is wearing a chemise. So are her friends. The chemise has a flower pattern. I didn't have the patience to draw the flowers. A chemise is worn on weekdays, over a shirt perhaps, no tights. A chemise covers up any bodily shapes. Stains too. When you are a cook, like Marie Louise, you even wear your chemise on Sunday.
Marie Louise would wash herself every day with a cologne soaked wash cloth, at the mirror by her open door. I have never seen her brush her teeth (except with a knife).
My mother would say that people here look like they had fallen from the puppet box.
From 1979 until 1983 I lived in France with my mother and stepfather. Somewhere in the centre of rural France, where no highways went, where old people lived on small farms without toilets.
This is my mother, probably aged 30 years with our neighbors, Monsieur Robert Debelut and his housekeeper Marie Louise, who was an excellent cook and who had wobbling teeth that she cleened with a knife (!). He was stiff from arthritis and would defecate standing up behind the shed. Beautiful blackberries would grow there. His pants would always have dark stains. Marie Louise would give me a piece of stale brioche every day after school that I would feed secretively to her dog on a leach. She emptied the chamber pot on her front stoop. In Summer the smell would mix with the blossoms of the wisteria that grew abuntantly above her door. In the pouch around her neck, my mother kept her pills against anxiety and depression.
Maybe I am too lazy. I make a drawing like this in 10 minutes. And then I feel like I am done. Like I have done enough. But it's not enough and I am not satisfied. But it is one drawing a day. I said I would do it and I did. So? It's a tiny accomplishment, but it is one step at a time.