I turned 40 today and if I have one regret it is this - I didn’t turn 50. Menopause aside, I’m craving the solitude my senior years will bring. At 50, I’ll be getting my life back and days like these filled as they are with lone parenting, blocked toilets, and doomed shags, will be a thing of the past.
For now though I’m stuck in the present — a mother struggling to make ends meet on a single, shrinking income. Hence, I’ve started selling sex. Not in the physical sense you understand. Frankly, I couldn’t give it away. But in the literary sense of writing romantic fiction.
Unfortunately with my own love life having gone the way of the dinosaurs, hot and heavy meditation was needed to spice up the limp prose. A romp down memory lane, as it were, to shake up my dormant libido for translation onto the page and into my purse. And for this I needed some time alone.
A chance would be a fine thing. These days I can’t even fart in private. Despite being single, I'm never alone. Negotiating a Middle East peace agreement would be easier than persuading my five year old daughter to sleep in her own bed. Worse than her is my teenage son. Last weekend he arrived home from a late night party and shook me awake to say it was him making all the noise and not a burglar. I screamed again at 5am when my daughter pulled back my eyelids to announce she’d wet the bed. Not even the bathroom is safe. The only time either of them wants to use the toilet is when I’ve locked the door. School should guarantee me some quality time but with children, as with life, nothing is ever easy.
Take this morning for example. The plan was simple — tackle chores, get children to school, do some writing. By 7.30, I had wrestled an epic pile of laundry into the washing machine and loaded the dishwasher. Right on schedule I hopped into the shower. Two minutes later my daughter joined me in the bathroom.
With herself perched on the toilet warbling a running commentary on poo-poo’s progress, I showered and scrubbed. Then, just as she squealed “It's hoooge!” and proceeded to flush acres of loo-roll down the pan, the washing machine spun, the dishwasher rinsed, and I was scalded into leaping out of the shower to land at her feet scaring her into a whirl of tears and snot.
Ten minutes later we were calm enough to risk flushing the backed-up toilet. In slow, Technicolor motion it inhaled its contents, gurgled gently before exhaling a rising tide, the celebrated poo-poo twirling to the fore. The only consolation in the whole sorry affair was the threatened flood receded within a whisper of reaching the lid.
Meanwhile, my son carried on snoring, oblivious to the drama and forgotten by me. It was only when I was hustling my daughter in through the school gates that I remembered him. I ran home to find him slumped in the hall looking more like a lifer than ever — shirt-tail hanging out, knuckles bouncing off the floor, jacket yanked on skew-whiff as if dragged through a hedgerow backwards.
“Why didn’t you wake me?” he grunted. “It’s your fault if I get detention for being late.” And with a slam-bang of the front door he was gone.
Peace at last. I counted to 20, poured a coffee and sat down at my desk to write a sizzling sex scene by first focusing on previous relationships. But no sooner was I back inside the tangled sheets of one lost lover than I was wondering what the hell I ever saw in him. Fast forward five years and a different lover’s hands were slithering up my legs. Our eyes met, sparks flew, and the argument we never got round to finishing kicked-off again. Hah! At least this time I got the last word in. Oh, but it wasn’t always thus. In my twenties I was enamoured with a mechanic. The no-holds-barred-up-against-the-bumpers-type enamoured. Then I remembered the money he still owed me.
As an exercise designed to get the creative juices flowing, this clearly wasn’t working. Instead of feeling frisky, I felt like a Nurofen. A change of tack was needed. Or, as Victor Hugo once said, I needed to exercise my imagination with an erection.
I went into the bedroom and stripped off back to the time when I was not a mother and getting ready to go anywhere meant dressing up. With utmost care, I pulled on stockings and attached them to a garter belt. Next, I wiggled into frilly knickers and a camisole. I looked in the mirror. Something was missing. I tied my hair back into a loose chignon, applied red lip-gloss, overloaded my eyes with mascara and climbed into a pair of high heels.
“Voila!” purred Dita von Teese in the mirror. “Any minute now a man you’ve never met before is going to come here. First, he’s going to tease you. Then he’s going to ravish you.”
Making a final adjustment to the stockings, I sashayed back to the lounge and threw myself on the sofa to wait for him.
Nothing. All this effort and nothing. Honestly, what’s the point of running round like a scalded cat if lover-boy is just going to swan in here whenever he feels like it? Closing my eyes, I cupped my breasts, relaxing under the feel of silk caressing bare skin.
“Soon you’ll hear the lock turn in the door announcing his arrival,” I whispered, slipping off the heels and curving a leg. “You’ll stand up to greet him. He’ll take you in his arms and turn you round in a sexy little dance. His fingers will feather lightly down your spine. Reaching your panties, he’ll pull you closer and murmur into your hair, ‘I want you. I need you.’ ”
I buried my face in a cushion. “You’ll tilt your head back, lips quivering at the searing heat radiating from his throbbing manhood promising imminent fusion into a single being. The Bolero drum-rolling in the background will get louder and louder, reaching crescendo in line with ..."
The sound of the doorbell choked me silent. The letterbox clattering open propelled me to standing.
“Ma, let me in, I’ve forgotten my keys!”
Jesus wept, I thought sprinting to the bathroom, you’ll be six foot under pushing up the daisies before you get peace in this life. I doused my hair under the tap in manner of shower interrupted and shrugged on a dressing gown before returning to the front door. Fortunately teenage tunnel vision blinded my son to anything amiss, including mascara trickling down flushed cheeks.
“I’m dying Ma. Must have been something you fed me. Teacher sent me home sick.”
Teacher needs glasses. The teenage son is the healthiest looking sick person I’ve ever seen. He stalled a lecture on cutting school by handing over a paper bag and a card.
“Happy birthday,” he said, flopping onto the sofa. “ What’s for dinner? I’m starving.”
I rolled my eyes and read the card — Unless you’re a cheese, age doesn’t matter. I opened the bag and pulled out a bottle of Mum roll-on deodorant.
“Take a chill pill,” he laughed, deflecting the cushion I chucked at him. “You’re still young enough to take a joke aren’t you?”
My point exactly. Still, if you can’t laugh, what can you do?