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Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.
Marriage, death and motherhood
by Paulette Caletti
In August 2009 the one thing I was certain of, if everything went as planned, was that I was marrying Paolo Caletti in September.
From June, post Cannes, I was focused on the wedding in Italy and bringing it all together. Paolo found his suit before I found my wedding dress. It was a little flash but very Paolo. He had my approval, but now I had to pick my dress around his suit. I went for a simple, long ivory number. We picked the flower scheme to match the suit. Settling for yellow-orange and pale purple roses, because there was orange stitching in the white Marc Jacob shoes Paolo would be wearing. You would have thought I'd be sick of yellow and purple since it was the colour scheme of my film Enter the Preacher but I reasoned this was more orange than yellow and pale purple. There's a difference.
I'd spent months beautifying myself: facials, massages, yoga and a healthy diet to put me in the best shape I'd been since my early twenties. During my hair appointment, the stylist asked for all the details about the wedding. When I told them about the flowers, one of them said in Jamaica, yellow, purple and black are funeral colours.
I'm Jamaican, but fortunately haven't been to many funerals in recent years. My mother died when I was four, but I don't remember the flowers then. I started feeling a little concerned, but the other stylist assured me that they used to be her favourite colours which she wore all the time. I'm not superstitious but believe in signs.
The Tuesday before going to Italy we found out I was pregnant. This was a big shock, but hardly surprising. There'd been a baby boom in the office and I'd be the fourth person expecting. It wasn't planned but I'd always wanted children, I just needed to get used to the idea. We wouldn't be going Cannes next year. Could I still shoot my feature film in January 2010? Could I handle being pregnant? The sickness and tiredness where making me feel pathetic. I've always been tough but now I wanted to sleep and couldn't string a sentence together. Felt disappointed in myself.
Research made me realise this was all normal pregnancy stuff and I'd feel better soon - after the first trimester. We had to change our way of thinking and adjust to being expectant parents. Paolo was very happy. I was a little depressed thinking about my career and work, but I loved the baby straight away. We told Paolo's parents because they were concerned I was sleeping all the time. My cousin guessed and there were bets at the wedding when we'd be expecting. I'd had my dress taken in four weeks earlier. It wouldn't fit me in two more weeks, but now it just about did.
My breasts looked great. They'd gone from a little sagging, due to weight lost, to eye-popping!
Four days before the wedding I had a missed call from an 'unknown number'. This would normally be my brother Orville who's lived in a hospital on a mental health ward for several years - I can't remember exactly how long. Since it was late and I wasn't in the mood for chatting, I decided to call him back the next day. When I tried him in the morning, I was told he was no longer there but on the main hospital ward. They couldn't tell me anything else since I wasn't next of kin, but they'd told another of my brothers.
I called my youngest brother to find out if he knew anything and he didn't, but after calling round we found out that Orville had collapsed with a heart condition. He smoked and always had a bad chesty cough, but this was unexpected. I was torn between planning my wedding and wanting to be there for my brother. You can't help but think 'Why now?' Orville was in a stable condition on the intensive care unit. My grandma gave her approval to carry on with the wedding. One brother, my cousin and two aunties came to the wedding, so there were family in England who could be with Orville. We could only wait and see.
(c) Paulette Caletti 17 November 2009
Paulette Caletti is a film director living in London UK. Part Two follows.
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