Lying in bed with my hand on her arm, kind of ‘natural’ like. If she responded at all I’d respond back.
His hand is on my arm, but I know that’s just habit. He doesn’t really want me, I know that. Why would he? I’m old, overweight; I was never a model size, now I’m the size of three models. He has an erection, I can feel it against my lower body. I wonder what he’s thinking about? That Eva Longoria – was that her name? In the film we watched tonight. She was sexy, I could see that, and not even too thin. He told me once he fell in love with Marlene Dietrich when he was fourteen; she must have been ancient even then but she was in a black and white movie and he said she was just amazing. Maybe he still dreams of her, in some imaginary film world. I dream of being ravished by a young policeman. I mean literally dream about it. I get stopped and he tells me to get out of the car and I say I’ll do anything to avoid getting a ticket. I usually wake up as he turns me round and bends me over my bonnet. Once he had my pants down; I wish I could get to the end of the dream without waking up. Is that weird?
She must be able to feel my erection against her side. It’s happened before. I can’t help it. I don’t want to help it. I think about sex with her every day; okay I also think about sex with that girl in the office who slinks along like a catwalk model, and that woman yesterday on the underground whose jeans sort of gyrated up and down mesmerically as she walked – I imagined bending her over and fucking her senseless – and, well anything with hips and tits. I’m a man for fucks sake. That’s part of my genes, even now; but I’ve never, ever actually even tried to be unfaithful. Well, okay, not since we were thirty and I asked that beautiful shopgirl for lunch; thank goodness she said no – she was really nice about it and thanked me for the offer. Anyway, I probably couldn’t go all night, I need my sleep. But I do imagine making love, not fucking, not with Angela, she’s my wife and I love her; fucking is rude and crude.
I suppose it was when we were about fifty. I was ferrying our youngest to ballet classes and gymnastics and working full time to help pay for our oldest at Uni. And Jim was working away and tired when he got home. Weekends were for catching up on sleep; we’d lie on in bed, but not to make passionate love like we had when we were in our twenties. I was a virgin when we married! The last woman in Lancaster to be a virgin when she married! I bet I was. Jim and I had rubbed each other and all, but I wouldn’t sleep with him until we married. Was I stupid? I found sex wasn’t that special, but I enjoyed hearing him, and feeling him inside me. Oh Sundays! They were amazing! We’d be late for church sometimes and I’d sit in the pew and feel my pants getting damp from the stuff leaking out. Once or twice we’d go home and do it all again after. It felt right. The miscarriage didn’t help, I suppose he’s forgotten. I think about that baby I never held every day.
In my mind he was Thomas James; after my granddad who was at Dunkirk and died on the beach. Angela knew how special he was to me, I never knew him but keep pictures of him. She was surprised when our second was born and I didn’t want him called Thomas. To me that name was already used. Appropriate I suppose; a granddad I never knew and a child I never knew; both with the same name. I think about our baby a lot now. Angela has got over it of course, two more lovely children grown up and leaving, slowly; still bleeding us dry I say – I’m only joking. I would give my last penny for them; really I would. I never knew that until we had children. I never understood how someone could be willing, and know they were, to die for another willingly. I do now. But I still think about Thomas. Sometimes, in my hotel room, something on tv, an advert maybe, not one of those stupid emotional ‘dramas’, but just a look, just a picture, and I’ll cry for Thomas, the child we never had.
Perhaps that’s when it started to go wrong, maybe I wasn’t supportive enough. I know she started to see sex as a way of having children rather than fun it itself. But we were 50 when it all stopped. She was tired, I was tired; we had ‘that’ argument. She wanted another child and then went into menopause and I didn’t know what to say. How does a man respond? It’s like asking why a man doesn’t ask how your periods are going. You just don’t. She said ‘well what’s the point of sex if you can’t have a baby’. It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. We should have made up. Never did, I went back to the project in London and somehow we never had sex again.
He’s not a bad man. If only he’d be a bit more forceful. He seemed to just lose interest ... or maybe I did. I don’t know. We just seemed to stop. I wanted him to push to make me accept him. Or did I? I’m not usually a pushover like that. Everybody says I’m a control freak. I’m NOT! I just like to see things organised.
He’s quite kind really. He bought me masses of flowers for my birthday. Not just a bouquet. I didn’t want any more clothes or earrings or books. Well no, that’s not true; but I like to pick my own earrings and books. His taste and mine (in both) are different. And he bought the flowers and hid them; he was heading for the project in London early next day but he got up even earlier and the whole downstairs had bunches of flowers all over the place! That was nice. And he’s here with me now.
I’m overweight. We both are. Not a lot, but enough. I know my boobs are saggy now, and my bum is bigger than it should be and my pants are comfortable rather than sexy and I’m 11 stone instead of 10. We both try and lose weight. But he’s a man. Men look at themselves and say ‘yeah, not bad’. Women look at themselves and say ‘who would want that!’ and then we eat chocolate to make ourselves feel better.
I know she’s overweight, hell, so am I! I look in the mirror in the hotel room sometimes and see the sagging stomach and the big arse and I think of my father and how I despised him for not taking care of himself better. Of course now he’s dead I can’t take that back. But I do try and lose weight and I try and go to the gym. I haven’t had a pint for 2 months, nor any chocolate, nor biscuits. I don’t make a big thing of it; but it is so bloody frustrating to see the evidence of age and a lower metabolism in front of you and that means no more fun foods. I do try and lose weight, but then wonder if it’s worth it. Who am I doing it for? Me? I like walking and losing a bit of weight would help I know, or Angela, but then ... if she isn’t interested in me what is the point?
I won’t let him see me with nothing on anymore. He walks around in the bedroom with nothing on, and sleeps in the nude. He is so confident! I envy him that. He still looks good too, a bit of extra flesh I know, but then when we married he was a skinny rake who disappeared behind me. I, on the other hand, look awful. I try losing weight but who am I doing it for? Me? Or him? He isn’t interested in me really and why would he be?
I’ve never thought he was unfaithful, so I guess he’s just lost interest in sex. Like he has in skiing and motorcycling. Too dangerous anyway. He talks about them, but really I know he’s not that interested. We’ve become a bit boring I suppose. Oh God! Like my parents! I don’t want to be like that!
She thinks I’m not a risk taker, I know that. She wanted to work abroad and – in one of our arguments - she said I should get a transfer to Denmark or somewhere. She doesn’t understand; I feel such a charlatan sometimes. I’m terrified of being found out. Am I good at my job or am I good at pretending to be? I don’t know. I really don’t. And I know she works full time now the children have left but her salary still isn’t a patch on mine. Not her fault, that’s the fault of the system that pays women less; but it means I’ve always felt responsible to make sure we had food on the table and roof over our heads. Some days, when the kids were small, I was terrified we’d lose everything. I mean terrified, not worried, not concerned, but sleepless nights terrified. And she didn’t help. That time I did get made redundant, she didn’t say ‘we’ll be fine’ she said ‘what the hell will we do?’ When she lost her job I put an arm round her and said ‘don’t worry, we’ll cope’. She piled on the pressure; didn’t mean to, but she did.
On the other hand, I think we’ve become boring. I want to get a new motorbike. We sold hers when the children arrived. Mine is in the garage. Triumph Bonneville. We could get a newer one for her, I said, and get mine going again. She’s scared. And we’ve stopped skiing now the kids are too busy to come. She was only doing easy runs anyway; but once she would do intermediate, once she was doing parallel turns; now we think a 3 mile walk is an adventure!
I so want to pull her nightdress off and her pants down; like the stories I read! Just thinking of doing it makes me stiff again! Three months ago I bought some KY. I was going to come home at the weekend and carry her upstairs like Rhett Butler – oh, okay I probably couldn’t carry her 10 stone upstairs - and make passionate love to her. I know she probably isn’t as lubricated as she used to be – and she used to be a regular Niagara! That’s why I bought the KY Jelly. Of course I came home and we watched Have I Got News For You and read our books in bed and fell asleep! The tube is still in my wash bag, unopened.
And then she mentioned this weekend. Visiting her parents. They are not easy. I said I’d come if she liked, to help out.
.... There is more of this story ...