It is Alison’s 50th birthday, her first birthday since her divorce from Brian. Adam and Chloe are her children; Pippa and Bev are her friends. We join her at evening time as she is about to go out for a celebration meal with Pippa and Bev.
The Fifty-Year-Old Divorcee
I did a twirl in front of the long mirror in Chloe’s bedroom. Not bad for a fifty year old, even if I say it myself.
Benjamin Bear was stretched out on Chloe’s pillow. I thought she’d taken him to university with her but I guess there’s not enough room in the bed for Chloe, Benjamin and Tryboy. I must try and remember what his real name is instead of using the nickname Brian gave him when he scored a try in a rugby game. But I mustn’t think of Brian now, not on my birthday. I must think of other things.
Oh-oh, but not Chloe in bed with Tryboy. I definitely must not think about that. Our roles have been reversed: Chloe is an adult having sex; I am a naughty child who forgets her manners in public.
When I was her age sex was barely on the agenda. Will it ever be again?
Very very very late
‘Snot fair, not my birthday any more. I love birthdays. I love Pippa and Bev. Love Adam and Chloe. Love Brian. NO, no, don’t love Brian. Brian is lying cheating ratbag. Don’t love Brian. Brian has dimples when he smiles. Doesn’t smile at me any more. Only at bimbo. Brian left me for a bimbo. Bimbo, bimbo, bimbo. Don’t love Brian. Love me. Am new woman. No, Pippa and Bev are making me new woman. That can’t be right. Don’t want new woman, want Brian.
I am a fifty year old divorcee with a hangover. I might as well go the whole hog, bleach my hair, buy a black leather mini skirt and hang round dimly-lit bars.
John Morris, my favourite client, an old gent with old-fashioned manners, who always pays me a compliment, came in this morning. He looked me up and down and said, ‘You look different this morning, my dear. I hope you’re not going down with something.’
I was tempted to tell him it’s too late, I have already succumbed. I am old and unloved.
I once would have thought that forty-nine was ancient. Now I would give anything to be forty-nine again. I mustn’t be so silly; I’m just feeling bad because of this long-lasting headache – which almost certainly isn’t a brain tumour. I am very fortunate. I have my health (so far), family, home, and a job. I should be grateful. There are worse things in life than being fifty and divorced. I will pull myself together.
It appears that undesirability has rendered me invisible. I was in Eatz, waiting to place our sandwich order, when a young executive-type came in. Jeff looked up from behind the counter, where he was buttering bread, and said, ‘Good afternoon, sir, what can I do for you?’ I was so amazed that neither had acknowledged or even noticed my presence that I said nothing until Moira came out and served me.
I crept into the loo to check my appearance when I returned to the office. I was definitely older-looking and less attractive than I remember. I wonder how long I’ve been in decline. Probably ten years at least. The only wonder is that Brian stuck it out so long.
This is an excerpt from my first novel, This Time Next Year, available from Amazon. I am currently writing a sequel – by popular demand! In the run-up to the launch I am planning to narrate and broadcast This Time Next Year as a series of podcasts.
This Time Next Year
The Dog-walking Club
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