It’s the 25th and we’re reading “Morgana Malone and the Promise of 1000 Tomorrows” by Matt Potter.
[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist: “Fear of tinsel may be lessened with a soup of garlic and clove, though Freud claimed otherwise.”[/cryout-pullquote]
“One big fantastic time we be having,” Ludmilla says. Greasy grey-brown hair sticking out from under her bearskin hat , she sucks on her Christmas cigar . Clouds of eau de old-shoes-left-for-too-long-in-a-mouldy-wardrobe puff past my face.
“Christmas in July in June ? No!” Now Ludmilla stomps her feet on the grey paving then throws her arms out like she’s about to break into a show tune. “No no no! Christmas in December in Paris!”
Who would have thought?
on Christmas Day!!!
Morgana Malone and the Riddle of the Search for Meaning has been all kinds of intense, from belly-laugh boisterous to cry-me-a-river sad. Through it all, the semi-sinkable Morgana Malone careens from one adventure to the next seeking her true self, finding her roots as it were. As we gradually learn, she has built a hyper-life from scraps of herself and baubles suggested by others: a name changed in jealousy, hair color to please her lover, who was himself a distorted reflection of another. Only gradually, as the collateral damage mounted, disastrous relationships, aborted re-marriage, craziness at every turn, did she begin to understand that her only real escape was to become herself again.
Last month she was finally able to let go of pretense. The one man who appreciated her for herself had died, and the funeral set her free… to a point. Her hair had grown out, her name was back to Susan, and she was facing up to her uber-controlling ex-husband, Grigor, just fine. Then Grigor’s twin brother, Barry, came in, and everything shifted. Barry was why she got into this mess, the man she loved before she had sex with Grigor (an honest mistake–they have matching Porsches) and ended up marrying him. It was Barry she had wanted. And now she learned that he still wanted her, the real her from before the madness. If it all sounds a bit convoluted, it is. Deliciously so.
Now, here we are in December, and Morgana finds herself in Paris at Christmas. But why?
On our two-week anniversary Barry bent down on one knee and said, deep brown eyes looking straight into mine, “Susan , you can sing carols at Christmas dinner for my homeless mates at the Whitmore Square Shelter, and I’ll organise a screen for you to stand behind so you won’t see their faces watching you while you sing” – which was tempting – “or we can fly to Paris on Christmas Eve and have croissants by the Seine on Christmas Day. You choose.”
Romantic, you say? You’re glad it worked out so well? Have you forgotten that this is Morgana Malone? Nothing is easy in this poor woman’s life. It wasn’t Barry waiting for her at the airport, but Grigor.
“Where’s Barry?” I asked. I would have fluffed my new hair except it’s so short there isn’t much to fluff and my hands were full holding my new puffy coat (bought just for Paris) and my carry-on luggage heavy with the three layers of winter clothes I’d packed to change into on the plane.
“In hospital,” Grigor said, his deep brown eyes looking straight into mine. “Having a bit of a Christmas episode.”
It turns out that Barry attempts to fly to Paris every Christmas. He hasn’t made it yet. He’s sent Ludmilla as his replacement.
“Barry give this for you,” Ludmilla added, and handed me the padlock and key. The padlock was engraved with Barry and Susan 25.12.14, inside a heart. “He say, Tell Susan, Go! So I think you be this Susan.”
And so Susan-who-was-Morgana flies to Paris with her crazy former housemate-slash-fortune-teller, Barry’s golden love-lock clasped in her hand.What she does with the lock, however, will leave you howling. Romance is overrated. I think she gets that now. It’s a pitch-perfect ending to the series, and though I will miss Morgana, I am glad it worked out.