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  • jdettmann

Some Enchanted Evening


Obviously this is not the beach we went to in this story. This is Waikiki beach, where I have also been grumpy in the recent past. 

I’m very grumpy these days. My wonderful mother suggested she could babysit while H and I went out last week, so we took her up on it, because I have this idea that maybe if I leave the house more I won’t be so crabby.

The first thing I do after leaving the house for the evening is tell H I’m in a grumpy mood. Because what if he can’t tell? What’s the point of being in a foul mood if no one knows? There’s no point sulking in the passenger seat if your spouse just thinks you’re happily enjoying the drive. So just in case my bad vibes aren’t strong enough any my sighs are mistaken for bliss, I generally announce how I’m feeling. ‘I’m in a terrible mood,’ I tell him.

‘Yes, I though you might be,’ he says.

He questions me about why and I get even crosser and attempt to fob him off by saying I do not want to talk about it. I clearly want to talk about it.

We are headed for the beach, because it is 7.30 pm and still about 35 degrees. This is fortunate because when my mood is like this the only thing to do is put me in water. Saltwater works best – though a shower will work at a pinch – because I absorb it through my feet and when I am thoroughly soaked it starts coming out my eyes and then I can talk about what’s actually wrong.

I stomp down from the car to the sand, muttering furiously about the obscene price of parking, and marched into the sea. H follows me at a safe distance and after metaphorically poking me with sticks a bit more the truth emerges.

I tell him how bored I am at home all the time. How I miss grown-up people, but how torn I am about this because I really want to stay at home with the kids while they are little but also oh my Christ it is so boring. I cry because I am so lucky to have the chance to stay at home with my babies, but I am eaten up with shame at not loving it all the time and being so very bored. Then after the shame of that eats me, I become food for the shame of spending our hard-earned (by H) money on a babysitter some days so I can Get Things Done like blogging and errands and fitness. The shame of not being productive enough on those days is vast and consuming. I tell H that I am merely the first snack in the shame food chain. I am like a whitebait, eaten by the shame tuna, which is eaten by a shame shark.

He tells me he thinks I should write more and I shout back a thousand reasons why I can’t which can all be essentially slotted into two categories: 1) My brain is broken because it is bored and b) I am very lazy. I stand up to my thighs in the water and weep that the world I used to inhabit has moved on without me, I have nothing to say or write and I don’t know what I want to doooooo with myself and the rest of my life.

Finally, I confess something that I haven’t even articulated to myself until this very moment: I do know what I want to do but it’s really hard and scary and most people who try it fail. Certainly 100 per cent of the people who want to do it but don’t try fail. The thing is so terrifying and improbable that even if I do try I will almost certainly fail at it and people will laugh at me when they find out what it is. I tell H what the thing is. I tell him I want to be a comedy writer, but I don’t know how and anyway I can’t because people will laugh at me.

H looks very confused. ‘Isn’t that the point of writing comedy?’

Then I realise I’m cold and embarrassed because I’m standing in my bikini, up to my knees in the water, crying, and everyone on the beach is watching me with vague interest. We get out and as we walk back to the car I tell H that if he ever ever tells anyone what I just told him I will kill him. He says that sounds like a very sound career development plan and that sort of comment is what makes me so lovable.

We go and get some drinks and meatballs at a bar we used frequent before we had kids and we quietly comment to each other on all the passers-by. A family with a teenage daughter walks past and H says, ‘Let’s never let May Blossom wear a skirt that small,’ and I agree, until we see the family from behind and I change my mind and say, ‘If May Blossom and I ever have matching arses as good as that lady and her daughter we are definitely both going to wear skirts like that, but shorter and tighter.’

On the way back to the car I have three ideas for funny blog posts but I write none of them down and by the next day I have forgotten them.

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