sense it even before you open your eyes. A niggling feeling that
someone is unpicking the seams of your pretty little world. In the
night you seem to have climbed inside the duvet like a sleeping bag,
the summer weight quilt tangled between your legs and goose pimples
sprinkled across your stomach like chicken pox. For a moment you lie
stock -still waiting to hear the sixth sense shuffle of your babba
waking up with you and then you remember that he is with his Dad and
this morning it is just you again. But it is too early to get up so you
lie with your phone in your hand waiting for the man you adored as a teenager to call, to return the voice message you left on his phone late last night. To text you good morning, or I’m so sorry, or you will never guess what happened last night, but he doesn’t because you told him
to run for his life and if there was a marathon for commitment-phobes,
it turns out he’d be there, swinging the gold medal round his neck,
brandishing the winners bouquet and breathing a sigh of relief.

go into the bathroom and resolve never to buy gigantic toilet rolls
again. The Daddy Long Legs living on your window ledge looks sad so you
open the window and help him climb out, chuck a slimy bar of soap into
the bin and wonder all over again whether grouting grubby tiles is a
job too difficult to contemplate. You feel a bit stupid. You feel
mildly incensed. Exhausted by your endless capacity to believe grown
men who tell you that they love you when it becomes clearer by the day
that talk is cheap. You want him so much it hurts in your tummy. You
want a cup of tea. The over sweet kind that burns your throat and
shocks you into reality. The kind that says he has called or texted you
everyday since the first of December and the only thing that has
changed is that you let your guard down. So he will call. He isn’t the
man he seemed to have turned into yesterday. The coward who left you
sitting in on a precious Saturday night without informing you that he
wouldn’t be taking you out that night after all. No, he is the man in
your kitchen stirring his soup just a few days ago. Isn’t he?

knows? You strip back the bed and carry the quilt downstairs to throw
over the line to air. Stand and drip tea tree oil down the plughole,
and slice lemon into a glass of warm water before knocking it back like
so much bitter medicine. Then you go and poke your spindly little
sunflower seedlings and tie one ailing little specimen to a lollipop
stick with a narrow strand of lilac ribbon and hope for the best. You
are cross with yourself. For two years you have resisted introducing
any man to your little boy. It is so hard being a single mummy. So very
difficult to split yourself in two. You have never let anyone stay
over. Never watched anyone else don your dressing gown and drink juice
from your fridge. Your baby and your home have been sacred. But he was different.
You sat in the midst of his truly lovely family and sensed he was
different and letting him in didn’t seem too big a risk. It really
didn’t. For the first time you felt like here was somebody you could
trust with everything you’ve worked so hard to have: your child’s’
imperative sense of security, your own sense of family, your personal
space, hard won independence and your heart. Goddamn your silly,
vulnerable heart.

You pull on your
car boot sale uniform. Dig out your red penny purse and shove it into
the bag you wear across your body, in fear of imaginary pick-pockets.
And then you get really mad. And blatantly stupid. Because perhaps he’s
dead in a ditch and not really avoiding you at all! Or maybe he has
lost his phone and is in need of an email!!  So you start typing and
before you know it you have tapped out something of a Dear John,
because your fingers work in conjunction with your head, not your heart
and your head is saying he isn’t good enough Sweetheart, this kind of behaviour isn’t acceptable from someone who professes to love you. You press send and walk out the house.

what a disappointment the world of other peoples junk is lately. Who
knew so many people owned a copy of Robbie Williams autobiography or
had kept the box their cumbersome foot spa had lived in since the day
they found it under the Christmas tree? And anyway what’s with all the
mean dogs? It seem’s like every other person is being dragged along by
a pit bull terrier foaming at the mouth and ready to bite your bum the
minute you bend over to grab a pretty plate. The smell of raw steak has
you heaving as you pass the meat wagon and before you know it you are
back in the car, heading to your Mums to drink tea and blame her for
all that is wrong in the world.

you go home and he has called. So you dial his number and listen to him
tell you that he wants to be single again. That perhaps you could be
friends and see what happens? That he just needs a little time to
decide what he wants to do with his life. Can you do that? Be friends? Well no. Not really.
You want to reach down the phone and wring his neck. Ask this
body-snatcher what he’s done with the man you were snuggled up with on
Tuesday. But you do nothing but cry and put the phone down. And cry a
bit more. And take a deep breath and call him back so you can set
yourself crying all over again and make him listen. And then you walk
out  the house for the second time that day, terrified that you might
catch sight of your own stupidity in the big mirror on the landing if
you stay in. Because he’s lying. You can almost pinpoint the day he
started seeing someone else.

You’ve never been the cinema by yourself
before. For a while it is just you sitting in the dark, waiting for
friends called Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte to join you. And
then you are surrounded by giggling couples and you are squashed down
low in your seat, eating tears and reading a text from your real life
Kath, "The Git!! I’m so sorry Hon, get yourself lost in Sex and the
City for a few hours. C. U". So you do. You lose yourself
totally in a world where the only cowardly bastards are called Big and
the clothes are to die for. And it is everything you hoped it would be.
And just like you are supposed to, you find yourself in everyone of
those women. In all their worst fears, about ageing, and loneliness,
and authenticity, and trust. And you get it. That in the end there is
just you, staring at your worst nightmares head on and coming out the
other side, with or without a man and an over-sized floral corsage in

You go home. Your little boy
arrives clutching a bunch of flowers, his Dad trailing behind him
carrying chippy chips because he has guessed you won’t have eaten. So
you go upstairs and wash your face because your curly topped little
angel must never know that it was his six foot two and a half
super-hero who made his Mummy cry on this wet Sunday afternoon.

There is a bit of you aching to be sitting in
front of your laptop making sense of the day on virtual paper,  and
there is another bit of you terrified of looking silly, of being she
who wrote that she was letting herself falling in love with Paul just a
few days ago, and who now has to report that just like that it
is all over. Have to acknowledge to yourself that just as one reader
pointed out a few days ago you are in danger of turning into nothing
but a second rate Mills and Boons author, all heartbreak and hectic
social life filling the gaps where decent, inspirational writing used
to live. You wonder how much more even your most dedicated of readers
can take. You worry that once again your sexual tourettes will get the
better of you and you will offend someone else with another reference
to a crudely named cocktail: another acknowledgement that  we are grown
women who have sex and don’t have to pretend that life is a one
dimensional round of laundry and lavender. Surely.

You switch the computer on and start writing
because writing is your drug of choice, the only panacea your daft,
trusting soul understands.

At seven o’clock he calls, but you miss it. You will miss him.  He doesn’t call again.

  Perhaps he never will.