My first clue was leaving garlic out of the bolognese. My second was only mentioning how tired I am three times while we were eating it. My third was saying, ‘Let’s leave the dishwasher until the morning. I’m just popping upstairs, come and join me soon?’
When we were first married, it was spontaneous. I always had shaved legs. But this morning I decided it was time, and gave them a quick going over in the shower. Never mind that they have a five o’clock shadow now.
Standing in the bathroom, lady groomer in hand, I find I have to lift my milk-stretched breasts out of the way to see the parts I’m meant to be grooming. Did it always look like that down there? An image sidles into my mind of my dad going at the privet out front with shears.
That thought is not conducive to getting me in the mood.
I’ll have to clear all this debris up in a minute.
That thought isn’t either.
Grooming and sweeping complete, I rummage through my underwear drawer and find a lacy slip thing that you once removed from my body with your teeth. I suck in my new paunch and squeeze it over. Stuck in the middle, it’ll only cover my belly button, like a scrunchie round my wrist.
Starkers it is! Well, you’ve seen it all before, and the process will be over faster that way.
I remind myself, that is not the point.
(But it sort of is.)
I arrange myself in a seductive pose. I’m all curves and wild hair these days, and I tell myself I’m like a goddess in a Renaissance painting. Until I get a glimpse of myself in the mirror. But I know you won’t care.
You’re not coming upstairs yet, and there’s only an hour until she’ll want her next feed, so I dispense with subtleties and text you an aubergine emoji, then start scrolling while I wait.
The next thing I know, you’re tucking a blanket around me and it’s completely dark outside.
‘Sorry. I fell asleep,’ I mumble, as if you hadn’t noticed.
‘Don’t worry,’ you reply. ‘I nipped to Tesco and got the nappies – and an aubergine.’
Katie Holloway has a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia (UEA). She’s had careers in publishing, office administration and activity coordination in a nursing home. She is fueled by strong tea and can’t help herself writing short fiction over breakfast.
Twitter: @KatieLHWrites, Instagram: @loseyourselfbooks