Remember, Darlings, life before Richard? When you could read between every line, my yearning for somone brave enough to take me and my essential madness on? When my weekends seemed to stretch eternally through hours filled with pretty nothing’s and time was my own?
Yes. Well, why, my friends, didn’t you warn me, (who had clearly forgotten), that relationships EAT time? That all of a sudden you become crazy busy being told what to do, being taken away for yummy little weekends designed to have you doing nothing other than having fun and that when you aren’t hoicking up the washing machine so he can show you where the stop tap lives, you are trapped, stroking the hair he hasn’t got, watching something obscure on BBC4 because you mustn’t move in an inch in case you wake the sleeping man on your lap?
Darlings I am meeting myself coming backwards. Essential nonsense is going untouched. Hours and days go by riddled by the sense that I should be doing something else: that the world is about to collapse because there is an email I haven’t yet found a minute to answer. That social services might be on the doorstep any minute because Sunday evening saw me popping a thoroughly exhausted child into bed with dirty knees. That guilt about goodness knows what is about to swallow me whole…
It isn’t Richard’s fault of course. It is in fact, how life is supposed to be: stuffed with a relationship that makes you smile till your face hurts, a child loving life so hard he’s rolling himself up in every dirty inch of it, entire days spent strolling around towns we have never visited before, mornings spent in bed because that is what life is about, afternoons lost to simultaneous moaning with friends experiencing all the same joys and sorrows. Concerts, theatre and soon, camping. (Yey!) Summer. Life.
And the house. The house is falling down and in days gone by I was content to let it: not seeing the tap that leaked or the fence that needed building. Now there is a bag of cement and three bags of sand sitting on top of the blanket box in my dining room. A hammer on the radiator in the kitchen. Paint brushes standing soaking in the laundry room and a list of jobs as long as Richards arm mithering his brain. He doesn’t live here and he has a list of jobs of his own. A Dad he has to look out for. A job in publishing that consumes his days. And me. Little old, demanding me.
And still he cut’s himself into twenty pieces and shares himself out amongst all that needs doing. He issues me instructions for doing what I didn’t realise needed attending to. And he ticks off the days, scheduling in far too many visits to DIY sheds and bringing me flowers, and plastering walls and forgetting to remind me not to lock myself in the bathroom. Because yes. That is what I was getting to, in this oh so modern whinge about time management in the modern day, ever so slightly countrified suburbs: last night I got locked in the bathroom.
It is OBVIOUSLY Richard’s fault but it is childish to go throwing blame about isn’t it, so let’s not go there. The thing is this: the bathroom door is one of the jobs still lingering on the list, and though I HAVE BEEN TOLD not to close the bathroom door to firmly, and to always have a phone on my person in case of bathroom crisis-es, late last night I tucked my tired old little brain up in bed, wrapped a sheet around my naked personage and headed to the bathroom, nipping in to Finn’s room on the way to remove the nine hundred and fifty bears he has taken to getting into bed with, so Pooh doesn’t suffocate him in the night.
All was well. I could hear bats chattering in the trees and the glorious hoot of the owl I imagine oversees their batty shenanigans. It was still very warm, the tea light in the bathroom just about to flicker out and the scent of the rosemary bath I had taken earlier still lingering. And I walked into the bathroom with DON’T SHUT THE DOOR TOO FIRMLY written large on my mind and then I saw a spider and in an effort to look like I was capable and in charge and prevent it running the spidery equivalent of three thousand miles to my room to cosy up in bed with me, I SHUT THE BATHROOM DOOR. And there you have it: one crazy sheet wrapped housekeeper locked in bathroom with large spider. One crazy naked housekeeper with neither screwdriver nor phone to hand.
Hmmm. Stand stock still, wondering what to do. Empty very, very pretty floral toothbrush jug and place it over spider and feel momentarily safe. Remember am about to sleep in bathroom with spider and feel not so safe. Feel cold. Worry about dying of pneumonia overnight. Worry about being found naked and dead in bathroom next day. Open bathroom window and peer out. See nothing but darkness. Hear next door’s kitchen door open and see twenty one year old neighbour walk into garden lighting a cigarette. Debate shouting him and having him run to Kath’s for keys to house, so he can open front door and let me out. Remember nakedness. Decide against it. Pop up head again and consider asking him to call Mum or Richard. Remember I don’t know either number off top of head and call would give Mum a heart attack and Richard reason to shake his head in disappointment. Decide to go for it regardless. Dive out of window in time to see Jonathan disappear into house. Absent-mindedly polish taps. Remember sleeping child. Close window and tap on wall. Call child’s name softly. Call child’s name not so softly. SHOUT child’s name. Flush the chain and bang cupboard door. Start singing “If You Like It Then you Should Have Put A Ring On It” at top of voice. Listen to resulting silence. Sit on toilet seat and wonder whether should advise Puttery Posters to keep emergency chocolate in bathroom in case of disasters like this. Sit on toilet seat and stare at bruise the size of a tin of beans on calf. Wonder what David Cameron does at this time in the night. Worry about type of wellies to buy for festival. Line bath with towels in preparation for sleep.
Freeze when the pitter patter of goodness knows what is heard. Hear loud bang then shuffling on landing. Arm oneself with bottle of Ecover bathroom cleaner and hide behind shower curtain. Shake. Watch bathroom door open and child take down pyjama bottoms and climb on toilet. Climb nonchantly out from behind shower curtain and agree that yes indeed it is probably PE in the morning and of course you have remembered to put out underpants without silly design on. Carry child back to bed. Breathe sigh of relief. Dispose of spider with stiff card under jug trick.
Blame Richard. Decide this would not have happened were it not for the fact that one year ago today he found me on the internet and it’s been bliss and total bedlam ever since.