'Take-Aways and Cigarillos' by Sharon Birch
I’m sick of being good, of being straight, of being staid and serious. I want to be trashy, have lots of sex with unsuitable men, get drunk every night, eat take-aways and smoke cigarillos.
I want to lash on lots of black mascara and wear red lipstick. And high heels. And leave out the panties. I want to listen to Michael Bublé whilst I get ready to go out and enjoy myself and come home to my singleton flat with a stranger and we’ll order an Indian meal to be delivered. With a side dish of sag aloo. Just to be different.
I’m sick of being a crap housewife that gets in a big bad temper every time I clear up after my family. I’m sick of being a mother, to have to chastise errant teenagers who would prefer to be out smoking and having sex. In an alternative world.
I’m sick of being me. I’m bored. Like that long-ago advert on television when Charles I says ‘I’m bored, Nell.’ So she says ‘Pass me an orange, Charlie.’ What was being advertised? Who knows? The sketch has been stuck in my head on a fruit-loop of boredom for years. And I don’t even like oranges. Much.
It doesn’t help that my best friend is Tracey. Sharon and Tracey. How different is that? Common. We’re just common. Like two vajazzled Essex girls. First impressions count so why would I introduce myself as boring, common Sharon with perhaps a secret vajazzling habit?
And now the family is calling. It’s tea-time and they’ve made my favourite - cheesy bacon pasta with mushrooms and a side-salad with chopped cherry tomatoes. A bottle of rosé wine is a light delicate accompaniment, my son says with a flourish of a dirty tea-towel. They say they will run me a bath afterwards and have already lit the scented candles. They say they don’t care what my name is, they love me anyway, and if I wasn’t here to keep them in line, they’d be feral kids, running the streets, getting tattoos and smoking dope. They don’t want me to be different and they promise they will help with the housework.
I ask them where they get these ideas from and the youngest, almost-but-not-quite a teen says she saw the first two lines I’d written on word document as she passed my computer. She thought I meant it. The oldest read the rest and they all worried.
Maybe I should tell them it was really a story, one about a woman who for a moment wanted to change her life. That maybe it was fantasy and maybe a tiny bit real. I’m not sure it hurts sometimes to let them know I’m real too.
Perhaps I’ll leave the cigarillos until they’ve left home.