I pull into the driveway and park the van. My head is throbbing with the beginnings of a headache. I lean back on the seat’s headrest and close my eyes. Just for a minute. Only a minute.
My eyes shoot open, an electric shock jolts me and my heart pounds in my chest. I feel a wave of blood moving through my body. I’m getting light headed and dizzy. What the? I turn and my son’s face is looking at me through the driver’s side window. I put my hand to my chest breath deep and push the button to open the window, nothing happens. Right. I turn the key in the ignition and put the window down.
“Aiden. You scared me. What?”
“Aren’t you coming in? You’ve been out here for almost an hour.”
An hour? I look at the time on the dash. It’s been almost an hour since I parked. The groceries! I panic. Meat, frozen pizzas, milk, cheese. I flick the switch unlocking all the locks on the van and the back door rises up.
“Grab some groceries and take them into the house. Where are your sisters?”
“Awwwwe do I have to?”
“Yes. Your sisters?”
“I don’t know. Inside.”
I grab a few bags and yell for my three daughters to unload the van and put the groceries away because I’m running late. They whine while doing it. I don’t care.
“Well if you hadn’t fallen asleep -” Aiden starts and I just glare at him daring him to continue. The boy’s not dumb, I’ll give him that.
I have to get ready Gus will be home soon.
I run upstairs to jump in the shower, shave, wash my hair, the whole nine yards. I have less than an hour to look gorgeous. Not an easy feat at 40. After 22 years, four kids and an extra 100 lbs I am not the slim beautiful 18-year-old girl my husband married. I know Gus still loves me. He says my curves and stretch marks make me that much more real and attractive to him. More cushin for the pushin he teases me and I try to believe him, I do.
My husband doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him, thanks to good genes and a physical labour job as a contractor, he even still has most of his hair. I see the women lingering around him, flirting with their eyes, trying to get my husband’s attention. He claims never to notice because he only has eyes for me. Ha. I just bet he didn’t notice when Melissa Rempkin walked right into him at church and then looked up with puppy dog eyes.
“Ooops sorry Gus. You sure are a solid one aren’t you?”
I could have ripped her eyes out and I would have too if the pastor hadn’t walked by at that very moment. I mean, I can’t have him thinking I’m a jealous, violent, irrational, woman, now can I?
I get out of the shower, look at my naked body in the mirror and cringe. I’m plump. Round. No, not rounded, round. My waist is larger than my hips and my hips are round. Remember in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, when the girl eats the gum and becomes a big fat round blue berry and needs to be rolled out by the umpa loompas. No, not the Johnny Depp one, the original one, the one made before, before I was born. The one with, what was his name? It’s been so long since I saw it. Gene Something… Simmons? Hackman? Oh I don’t know.
“Moooooom.” My son’s voice coming through the door.
“You forgot the Nacho cheese dip. How are we supposed to have a movie night without the nacho cheese dip?”
“I don’t know. You have to make do. Now leave me alone or give me your game system.”
I start getting dressed. Nothing fits the way I want and I hate how I look. After trying on four dresses and a pantsuit I settle on a black sac of a dress. It might as well be a tent. My hair at least is cooperating. I wished I’d had time to go to the hairdressers this afternoon and get it done up really nice, but with driving the kids around, the groceries, getting the house cleaned up, laundry, the list is endless.
There that should do it.
I dig in the bathroom closet for my make up box. I hardly ever wear any, there is little to no point. I rarely go out and when I do, no one cares what I look like. Lack of daily practice is making a mess of things and I feel like a clown. Too much eye shadow and the lipstick is too bright.
“Mom. Aiden is being a little shit, you have to get him under control.”
“Language Alexis, watch your language.”
I turn to see my eldest daughter looking gorgeous and dressed to the nines in a blue patterned skirt with a matching blouse and her hair cascading over her shoulders. She’s 19 and looks a lot like I did when I married Gus. I look at my slim daughter with her indented waist and perky breasts and sigh.
Just wait I think, twenty years and you’ll look like me.
“And where do you think your going tonight?” I ask.
“Out with Cameron.”
“Which one is Cameron?”
“The blonde with the pick up truck. You know he goes to the University, he’s studying to be a lawyer one day.”
“Oh right him. What happened to the one whose an electrician or something? I like him.”
“Dan? I’m seeing him tomorrow and before you ask I went out with Richard last night.”
“How do you keep them all straight? I can’t even imagine dating more than one man. You’re not sleeping with them all are you? Don’t forget you can catch diseases and worse they’ll think you’re a whore and no man has ever fallen in love with a whore. You really should just pick one or else people will think you’re a slut or something.”
She has heard me say these things a hundred times already and I can see from the glaze over her eyes that she isn’t listening. Why do I bother? I just want her to be happy. Not like her aunt Charlene or worse Charlene’s new friend Lindsay. I wouldn’t worry so much if she’d just find a nice boy. A boy who is like Gus and would take care of her, protect her. It’s a dangerous world for girls. It just is.
“Mom. Enough. Aiden. That little spoiled shit you call a favourite.”
“I do not.”
She rolls her eyes. I hate it when she rolls her eyes.
“Everyone knows he’s your precious little boy and that he’s an entitled pain in the ass who at this very moment is trying to make nacho cheese sauce in your kitchen with your favourite pot. Thought you might want to know.”
With that she turns on her heel and walks out the door.
Trying to make nacho cheese sauce? Oh no, what does that mean?
I hurry downstairs and there is my son with cheese all over the counter and a pot of burning cheese on the stove.
“I wanted Nacho Cheese sauce. Gerry likes Nacho Cheese sauce and I told him there would be some.”
I grab the pot off the red-hot stove element. Right then, the smoke detector goes off and Gus walks into the kitchen.
“Ready to go on our date honey?”
Purpose of this Blog
This blog is a look at the characters in a new novel about being a 40+ year old woman in today’s world. The novel, like all literature, draws from real life but embellishes it, changes it, and merges it together with fantasy. You won’t find a 100% true story on the blog or in the novel. I welcomes any parenting or dating stories you would like to share for the book, but please understand the story will only be a jump off point as I’m not about to publish anything exactly as it happened. Email her today at Shannonpeel01[ at ]gmail [.com]
And yes…. Dating stories about women behaving badly are welcome too, as my characters are flawed and handicapped when it comes to dating.
Shannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?
For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com