Monthly Archives: February 2019

The ‘go safely’ part (of the water throwing) works. And I make it home with their money. I find a safe place to hide the bag. Then I do a little celebratory dance around the living room; my parents are out of my hair for two whole weeks!

I decide to throw caution to the wind. And invite Jake over for dinner. Tonight. There’s no stopping me now. Spontaneity is a rare luxury for me. And I’m going to make the most of it. Then I realise that I have nothing to cook.

I rush around the supermarket like a demon; opening a can of red bull for extra fuel as I go. Then I notice that there is a 'buy one get one free' offer on a bumper pack of condoms. That’s forty eight condoms in total. I pick one up. And check the expiry date.

I am about to drop it into the trolley when I hear a heavily accented voice behind me “You must not do that”. I drop it in, take a sip of my drink and pick up another one. Then I hear that voice again “You must not do that”. I turn around.

Fuck.Is that the voice of my conscience? No. It’s the voice of the security guard. I hold up the box of condoms and say “Excuse me?” He points to the can of red bull “You should not drink something before you pay for it” I laugh “Oh I see. Don’t worry; I’m going to pay for it”.

I walk away. But he follows me. I ignore him. And continue to sip from the can. He tells me to stop. People are starting to stare. I notice a member of the Mummy Mafia from Mia’s school amongst them. I follow her eyes down to my trolley. And the two bumper packs of condoms perched on top. That should give them plenty to talk about on Monday morning.

He asks me to give him the can. I refuse. And explain that it is only theft if I leave the store without paying for it. He can’t argue with that. But he continues to follow me. I’m feeling a little mischievous; I decide to have some fun with Mr Jobsworth.

I walk forward a couple of steps. Stop abruptly. Then take a couple of steps backwards. I do this several times. He stumbles a little but manages to stay with me. Then I stop by the panty liners and pick up two packs “What do you think? Which ones should I get? Are the own brand ones any good?” He looks suitably embarrassed.

I suddenly realise that I don’t have time to play games. I have a dinner to cook! I put the panty liners down. And head to the checkout. He follows me. And doesn’t move until every item has been scanned and paid for.

I hold up the can of red bull and tell him that it "gives you wings". Then I demonstrate by breaking out into a run until I pick up enough speed to jump up on to the trolley. I wave to him as I go whizzing out of the supermarket (narrowly avoiding a head on collision with an oncoming trolley). I think I may be a little hyper.

I get home, prepare the food and put it in the oven. Then I have thirty minutes to get ready. Shower or make up? I don’t have time for both. I opt for a shower. I can get away with minimal make up if I get the lighting right.

He turns up looking absolutely edible. Our hands touch as he hands me a bottle of wine. And I actually get butterflies in my tummy.

I lead him into the living room which is lit entirely by candles. I may have gone a little overboard. It looks a bit like a church. I just hope he isn’t carrying any Catholic guilt; that could really screw things up.

I tell Jake that we are eating furunda makarina. He says that sounds very exotic. Then laughs as I admit that the literal translation is “pasta in the oven”. He follows me into the kitchen. I open the drawer to get a corkscrew. He is standing so close that I can feel his warm breath on my neck. I am giddy again.

I can’t find it. I start emptying out the drawer. Then realise that I have pulled out the condoms I bought earlier. Maybe he didn’t see them. I steal a glance. He is looking directly at them. “They were on offer. Buy one get one free. And they don’t expire until 2013 so we have plenty of time”. Shut up Kitty!

He looks a little flushed. I hand him the corkscrew. And two glasses. I think we could both do with a drink.

We sit down to eat. I raise my glass and make a toast to “living in the moment”. I have decided not to think too much. And just follow my instincts. I am happy that I decided to see Jake again.

There is something wonderfully liberating about entering into a relationship that you know doesn’t have a chance in hell of lasting. You don’t have to reveal yourself to him gradually; keeping the less appetising parts of your personality back until he has fallen in love with you.

And the pressure to ‘make it work’ just isn’t there. I am free to act exactly as I want because (for the first time) I have absolutely nothing to lose.

He asks me about my writing. I tell him that I am working on a novel. Obviously I don’t mention the blog. We discuss literature at length. Then I find myself telling him about all the poetry that I used to write years ago. And how I keep it all in a box under my bed. He asks me if I can read some to him. I can’t remember the last time I looked at any of it, let alone read it to someone. But I surprise myself by saying yes.

He is sat on the sofa. The sexual chemistry between us is so potent that it is almost tangible. I don’t trust myself to sit next to him. So I pull the beanbag away from the sofa a little. And lean against it as I open the box. I close my eyes, rummage around and pull out a poem randomly.

It’s called “Mecca”. I read it to him;

I can never escape
I hear it at night
Whispering urgently in the darkness
Covering my naked soul in caresses

My head screams blindly
I dare not open my face
Memories tease me with time;
I’ll have to leave a life behind

Can a bird with stained wings fly?
Her sad ashamed eyes reflect in the moon
He hid his tears behind the mirror
I looked to the sky for silence.

Shadows on the wall are dying for me
My pillow becomes a stone
The room my court of injustice
Which way is Mecca?
I never knew.

I am more than a little embarrassed by the amateur nature of my writing (and the cringey teenage angst). Jake says “That’s so.....” I interject with “terrible!” I check the date. I was sixteen. And a goth. That figures; it was written during my ‘dark’ period.

Actually that was one poem that I decided to share with my parents. I think I must have been stoned at the time. But it was completely lost on them “Of course you know which way Mecca is! We’ve told you enough times!”

I go through the box looking for something a little more upbeat. Then I see little white balls cascading past me. I turn to see where they are coming from. I have pushed the beanbag against one of the candles. And set it (a little bit) on fire. Jake leaps into action and puts it out.

I open the windows to let out the smoke. Then thank him. He acted fast so the only damage done is a large hole in the beanbag. The floor is covered in little white polystyrene balls. We blow out the rest of the candles. And put the light on. The romantic ambience is ruined somewhat.

I decide it’s time for coffee and dessert.

I carry the tray into the living room. And find Jake sat on the floor reading more of my poetry. He looks engrossed.

I put the tray down next to him. He looks up. Our eyes lock “I have never met anyone like you Kitty” I have butterflies in my tummy again. And I want to rip his clothes off.

I try to lighten the mood by asking him if I should be offended or flattered by that. He looks at me in a way that makes me feel incredibly desirable.

Then he pulls me down on top of him. And we kiss. Our bodies fit together perfectly. Everything feels surreal; dreamlike in its intensity. I think I could really get used to this ‘living in the moment’ thing...

Nothing else exists. It is just the two of us. And I am totally caught up in the moment. Then I hear “Oi, are you getting in or not? I can’t sit here all fucking night waiting for you to finish eating each other’s faces”.

That certainly kills the romance.

I turn to get in. But Jake stops me and tells him to go. He kisses me again. He obviously wants to whisk me off to bed. I tell him that I would love to get naked with him. But it's too soon. He agrees.

I’m confused “So why did you send the taxi away?” He says that the driver was aggressive. And he didn’t want me getting into his taxi.

I should be offended; he is implying that I can’t look after myself. But I find it really sweet that he cares. I want him to look after me. Oh dear. What is wrong with me?

He hails another taxi. And we part reluctantly. I smile to myself as I sink back into the seat.

Then I start playing a silly numbers game; when I was graduating from university, he was still at primary school. And when I was leaving primary school...... he hadn’t even been born.

This is so unfair. Why can’t he be older? I stamp my feet, clench my fists and actually growl with frustration. I become very much like a petulant child when inebriated.

The taxi driver can’t help but notice my little tantrum “You alright love?” I respond with “No, actually I’m not. I have just had a wonderful evening with a lovely man.” Then I put my head in my hands. And growl a little more.

“That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing love!” I explain that he is thirteen years younger than me. And I don’t want to look like a ridiculous older woman having a midlife crisis.

He laughs “You looked around the same age to me love” Ordinarily his consistent use of ‘love’ would grate on me. But he is being complimentary so I let him continue.

He speaks in clichés all the way home “age is nothing but a number”- “you’re only as old as you feel”. In short, he says everything I want to hear. Clearly this man has great wisdom and insight. I will see Jake again. I thank him.

I am about to get out when he says “You’re welcome love. Now if you don’t mind me asking, who are you going to be voting for in the next general election?” I really don’t want to get into a political debate so I tell him that I'll decide closer to the time.

Then he completely throws me by saying that he thinks UKIP have lost it since Farage resigned so he will be voting for the BNP. And that I should vote for them too. He is black. The BNP are neo-Nazis. Clearly he is joking. I laugh “You almost had me there!”

He assures me that he is serious. Apparently immigration is getting out of hand and the BNP are the only ones willing to tackle it.

I explain, as gently as I can, that if the BNP were ever to get into power, he would be amongst the first people to be deported. I suggest he reads their manifesto very carefully.

But his mind is made up. And his high level of stupidity obviously negates all the relationship advice he gave me.

I send Jake a text, home safely – thank you for a lovely evening. Then he calls. And tells me he would love to see me again. I hesitate. He asks if his age is an issue. I admit that the age difference concerns me.

We talk effortlessly for one hour and twenty three minutes. It would have been longer but my stomach started cramping quite badly. And I had to leg it to the bathroom. I don’t think those prawn shells agreed with me.

I am woken up by the incessant ringing of the telephone. It’s my mother. She wants to know why I am not there yet.

I arrive to find her baking for an army. They are flying to Cyprus tonight. And it is custom that family and friends come to see you off when you are going away. Custom also dictates that you feed them. This has always struck me as being both inconvenient and inconsiderate.

My mother sits me down with a glass of water. She smiles sadly whilst brushing my hair out of my eyes. Then she cups my face in her hands. And breaks the news to me gently, "Kitty, I'm afraid there hasn't been any interest in you from the wedding". I almost snort with laughter.

Then realise that she is genuinely concerned for me. I manage to keep a straight face as she tells me that I mustn’t give up hope. She kisses me on the head. And almost chokes me as she forces her freshly baked olive bread into my mouth.

Then she says “We will be making enquiries in Cyprus so all is not lost yet. You never know, we may even come back with a surprise for you!”

That 'surprise' is likely to be the village idiot.

It’s time to stop playing along. I tell her that I have more to offer than a British passport. And that marrying an inbred villager is the last resort for hopeless cases. She agrees. Then asks me to give it serious consideration.

“I know you were born here, but you are a Turkish Cypriot. It is not nice that you are so dismissive of our people”. I tell her that I think Cyprus is a beautiful island. But I find the people primitive and insular.

Apparently a lot has changed since my last visit. That wouldn’t be too difficult; I’ve haven’t been back for twelve years. She says I should be ashamed of myself.

I blame the long absence on my fear of flying (particularly take off and landing). And as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus doesn’t ‘officially’ exist, you cannot fly there directly. Therefore one round trip involves four take offs and four landings.

She points out that it has been possible to fly directly to the South and cross the border into the North since 2003. I can’t argue with that. I munch silently on the bread while I think of a diversion.

Then I remember that my penultimate trip to the motherland (when I was fourteen) had resulted in my parents banishing me from the island. I triumphantly remind my mother of that minor detail.

Her attention is successfully diverted. And she launches into a full blown rant “Oh the shame of it. You went and had all your beautiful hair shaved off and dyed green the day before we went. You looked like a punk. Everyone was staring at you. Then you decided to walk through the village naked....” Her face is red. This could go on for some time. I tune out.

I should mention that I didn't actually walk through the village naked. I was wearing a tiny string bikini that I had somehow managed to squeeze my prematurely developed body into.

Admittedly it was a step too far when I decided to go into the ‘men only’ cafe where my father was playing backgammon. He was absolutely furious. I tried to argue that it was over 40 degrees and I was merely trying to keep cool. He threw his cold water in my face. Then made me wear his shirt and marched me back to the house.

But at least it secured me a place in heaven; I have never had so many old ladies simultaneously praying for my soul to be saved.

It was another ten years before they allowed me to go to back to Cyprus with them.

I was briefed thoroughly before we went. Behave in a ladylike manner. No skirts/dresses above the knee. Do not call them thieves when they take your clothes. And only bring clothes you are willing to lose; it is perfectly acceptable for people to go through your suitcase and simply help themselves to whatever takes their fancy (including your underwear).

I was welcomed back as ‘The Lawyer’ and spent an exhausting week successfully redeeming myself.

I was relieved when it was time to go home. My mother offered to help me pack. She took out the few items of clothing I had left “Do you really need these?”

Then she packed my now empty suitcase full of hellim (halloumi). I pointed out that hellim is widely available in London.

But she insisted that they do not taste as good as the ones she has had freshly made in Cyprus. I stared at the rows and rows of white blocks in clear plastic bags. I told her that it looked very suspicious. Her response was to cover them with a beach towel.

Apparently she didn’t have room in her own suitcase because she was bringing back the figs. And the oranges.

I spent the entire flight imagining the scene at Heathrow customs as they opened my suitcase “And what is this madam?” I could almost hear the snap of the rubber gloves being pulled on as I responded with “Cheese”.

I wasn’t stopped. But I still have nightmares about being strip searched.

The doorbell rings. The goodbye committee (and their buckets) start arriving in force. And I am duty bound to stay there all day.

My mother takes me to one side just before they leave. And hands over a holdall to “keep safe” until their return. I open it. It’s filled with bundles of cash (they don’t trust banks).

I tell her I don’t want the responsibility. And suggest that she gives it to one of my five siblings. But she insists I take it because “the others have people coming in and out of their houses all the time – nobody comes to your house. It’ll be safer with you”.

The buckets are filled with water. Then we go outside to wave them off. As the car pulls away, the buckets of water are thrown after it. It is supposed to signify ‘go safely, come back safely’.

I ask them to refill the buckets and do the same for me as I drive off with my parents’ life savings.

I have to make myself look as (naturally) attractive as possible. It takes me almost two hours to get ready; sadly that is how long it takes to work the ‘natural’ look now that I am in my thirties. Then the doorbell rings.

I grab my bag and open the door. My mother pushes past me “Why is there a ‘for sale’ sign outside the house?” I tell her I’m on my way out. And remind her (again) that she really should call before coming over. She shakes her head at me “You are so English”.

I don’t want to miss my train. So I usher her out and close the door behind us. She is indignant “I can’t believe you’re throwing me out”. Then she turns to my father “Say something to your daughter”. He infuriates her further by giving me a kiss and saying “Come over tomorrow sweetheart, we need to talk to you”.

I don’t like the sound of that. But I don’t have time to ask him to elaborate.

I start walking to the station as quickly as my heels will allow. Then a middle aged woman taps me on the shoulder and points to a car “I think he’s trying to get your attention”. It’s one of the guys from the gym. I wave back at him as the traffic starts moving.

I turn and say thanks to the woman. I explain that I never look around when I hear car horns. She nods sympathetically. Then says “I know what you mean, it would be really embarrassing to turn around and find that they are beeping at a young girl behind you wouldn’t it?”

My cheeks burn with humiliation. Do I look middle aged? That’s not what I meant at all. I just meant that it happens fairly regularly. And that I don’t want to encourage the horn beepers by acknowledging them. But now that I think about it; it doesn’t actually happen that regularly anymore.

Shit. Am I losing my mojo?

I get to the restaurant to find that Jake is already there. He stands up to greet me with a kiss on the cheek. And a brief hug that makes my legs a little weak. He smells lovely.

I must not babble incessantly at him again. So I decide to pause for thought before I speak. But this just makes my reactions seem strangely delayed.

I have gone from one extreme to another. Why is it so bloody difficult to find any sort of equilibrium? Isn’t it bad enough that random middle aged women are prematurely claiming me as one of their own? And this light is too bright. What if Jake notices that I am losing my mojo?

I’m starting to (quietly) freak out. I must say very little until I calm down. I ask Jake about himself. And just listen. Something about him feels very familiar. But I don’t know why.

I can’t take my eyes off him. He is devastatingly handsome. I gaze at him as I raise the fork to my mouth. And crunch on a large prawn that is still in its shell. Damn. Jake looks a little surprised. I try to style it out “I like the shell. It’s a good source of fibre” Then I force myself to casually eat the rest of them the same way.

I start to feel relaxed; probably because I drink a little too much wine in an attempt to wash the shells down.

Jake is wonderfully engaging. And he seems oblivious to how utterly delicious he is. I can’t help thinking that there has to be a catch. Nobody is that perfect right? We linger over dessert. I don’t want the evening to end. And neither does Jake.

He asks me if I play pool. I laugh. And explain that my pool playing skills are a legacy of my misspent youth. I was seventeen when I left home and moved into a squat in Lambeth with my best friend.

We spent our days smoking pot. And our evenings playing pool in the local bar; hustling free drinks. He smiles as he says “You are a very interesting lady, Kitty Moore”. Then he challenges me to a game at a nearby pool hall.

He holds the door open for me. Then he takes my hand in his. And it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

We sit at the bar facing each other. Then I become aware that our knees are touching. And I feel giddy. I can only remember one other time when I felt like this;

I was fifteen and had a crush on my English teacher. I was reading a lot of Jackie Collins at the time so my attempts at seduction were hardly subtle. I found out when his (27th) birthday was.

Then I checked his timetable. And excused myself from my Geography lesson. I went into the toilets, took off my bra and wrote ‘Happy Birthday’ across my chest in red lipstick. Then I headed up to the music rooms (I knew he played the piano during free periods).

I knocked on the door, walked right up to him and lifted up my sweater. The poor man had no idea where to look. He told me to put them away, bundled me out of the room and locked the door behind me.

He was the consummate professional. Although that didn’t stop me trying (unsuccessfully) to seduce him until I left. I was totally smitten with him. My heart would literally miss a beat whenever he stood near me. He was so handsome and accomplished. And he was the first real gentleman I had ever met.

He gave me a copy of Sylvia Plath’s ‘Ariel’ as a parting gift. He put a card in it that said "You may find strains that ring true in this poetry. Keep writing and don’t commit suicide (actual or metaphorical) as Sylvia Plath did”. I’ve never forgotten him.

Then I realise why Jake seems so familiar. He reminds me of my teacher. A lot. I watch him set the balls up. And I feel like a teenager again.

He lets me break. I seven ball him. We play again. I get a little cocky and attempt a trick shot. I miscalculate. The ball flies off the table. And straight into the man bits of an unfortunate gentleman at the next table. I stifle a giggle and offer him a drink by way of apology. Jake comes to the bar with me.

I am still trying not to laugh. Then Jake says “When Joanna said you were a ball breaker, I didn’t think she meant it literally!” I burst out laughing. Then I suddenly stop “She really said that?” I’m starting to dislike her “Yes, but I don’t think she meant it. She was just trying to put me off you”.

I have had too much wine to censor myself “Ha! I knew it. She fancies you doesn’t she?” He laughs and shakes his head. But I warm to my theme. “That’s why it took two weeks for her to call me. Oh my god – is she your ex? Did you actually go out with her? I hope you used protection, she really puts it about...” Jake interrupts me with “She’s my sister”. Oh dear.

I feel bad (for a nanosecond). Then I remember what she said “So why was she trying to put you off me?” Apparently she thinks he is too young for me. I laugh “That’s silly. You’re only a couple of years younger than me...... aren’t you?” He isn’t. He is twenty three. I am twelve years older than him. I am completely floored. He has the manner and maturity of somebody much older.

I decide it’s time to leave. He hails a taxi for me and asks me to let him know that I got home safely. Then he kisses me. And I melt into his arms.

But how the hell can I have a relationship with a twenty three year old?