The hospital room faces East. I know we are there for the deathwatch, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The sheer futility of the situation exhausts me. I am beyond tears.

We do not speak. Every once in a while, one of us gets up to sponge some mint-flavoured water into my mother’s mouth.

I can’t remember the last thing she said to me. I wish I could. Was it trivial, was it important, was it a mother’s love, which I so often brushed aside as inconvenient, old-fashioned or inappropriate? No idea.

I can’t remember the last thing she said to me, but I know I can remember the last thing I say to her: I love you. I make sure of it.

I say it every time I have to leave. When I go for lunch, when I go to tutor, when I go home at night. I don’t know if she can hear me, but I hope she can.

There is no control, no justice, no reason. All there is, is love.

The C Word.

Cunt. It’s ugly. Shameful. Degrading. It has foul connotations, it is considered highly derogatory, and it sounds so, well, blunt. Right?

It wasn’t always so, although its origins are mysterious. It may have come from the Latin, cunnusm the word for the female pudenda. It may also have had its roots mixed up in the word ‘quaint’. Quaint’s first recorded usage in English was C. 1225. At that time, it was interpreted to mean “cunning, proud, and ingenious”. Apparently, it’s from the Old French, cointe, meaning “pretty, clever, and knowing”. This, I like. A kind aof testament to the power of vaginas. Geoffrey Chaucer, my boyfriend, used it in The Canterbury Tales. He was punning on ‘quaint’ and ‘queynte’. But he meant cunt. No doubt about it.

The cool thing was, back then, it wasn’t obscene. In 1230, there was a Gropecunt Lane in London or Oxford. I suppose it was the Red-light district. Kind of beats the pants off “Seymour Street” in terms of imagery and connotation, doesn’t it?

Cunt has been considered obscene since the 17th Century. Funnily enough, at about the same time, ‘quaint’ stopped meaning ‘pretty or clever’, and started meaning ‘old-fashioned and charming’. Strange, that something with power over so many men (and women, too, honestly), goes from being ‘cunning, proud, and ingenious’ (a fabulous review of the female genital area), to being ‘old-fashioned and charming’, and being considered obscene.

In essence, if the ‘cunt’/’quaint’ connection is a true one, the human vagina is so powerful, so threatening to men, that they’ve had to cutesy it up at the same time as making it obscene.

I don’t know about you all, but I always knew my vagina was smart.

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