This is a quirky short fiction story I wrote at a time in my life where I was asking myself the question of 'who am I' these days. After having two amazing children, I felt lost as to what I wanted to do with my life.
It began as a serious piece but as I wrote more, it ended up more of a comedy piece which I hope you all enjoy because what followed for me after this was a double degree at university in my mid 30s. The saying, it's never too late certainly rings true for me.
Slight warning, some language in this piece may offend some viewers, but it was appropriate for this one.
THE YOUNG ONES
We are the young ones; so Ellie keeps reminding me. Let me explain: It’s what our band was called back in the days of Countdown and MTV. A mix of pop and rock in the 80s. We had it all back then. It was a time when a simple gesture of kindness to our fans gave them hope, and us, so much clarity in life knowing that what we were doing was exactly what we were meant to be doing. All of it. The performances, parties, backstage passes, booze, drugs, the memories. How could I forget all that, even if it was so long ago. What choice do I have these days? Alfie spends each week’s wages even before I get a chance to pay school fees, our credit cards are maxed out and now with you almost here, I have no idea what we are going to do.
Yesteryear has passed us by so fast that I can’t even remember what fucking year I should get nostalgic over anymore. I can’t seem to pull myself out of this ridiculously outlandish hole I am stuck living in called, Life. Dishes, washing, washing, dishes. There was a time when we were the bright young stars of the industry, when we used to get out there and perform as if the entire world was watching us. It was watching. When nothing else mattered but the crowd.
What happened to those magical days when we rubbed shoulders with important people? Time happened that's what! Time can be our worst enemy and sometimes our very best friend. Now I just smile and continue existing in my saturnine existence classified as marriage. The big M word. Marriage and family, family and life, Life. Do any of us really know what Life is?
In the end it’s all the same. The femme fatales and rock stars we once were are long gone; replaced by new generations. New bloods. One problem with that. The old bloods still remain. We are still here, we still breathe and walk the same planet, still femmes and rock stars. Femme somethings. At least that’s how I like to see myself these days. The classique, the retired femme. As for Alfie? You’d have to ask him that one. He doesn’t talk to the press, or anyone really. He never did. I was the one who loved the spotlight. He was just happy to be on the road. On tour, on route to anywhere. It made him feel like we belonged, Somewhere.
Ugh, I can smell Marty. Believe me nothing wakes me better from my nostalgic stupor like the smell of shitted nappies. It begins protruding through your nasal passage, leaving a burning sensation in its wake before the debilitating odor permeates your system, causing nausea. Would you like a bucket or has it passed? I may need to use it if you don’t. The smell is so intense that your mind forces your eyes to close and just surrender to the power of the stench. Yes there you go, I can see you’re with me now.
Good old Marty; my practical child. At two I have to say that he is the favourite of my four sprouts, but that could all change soon. Don’t worry, I love all of my offspring equally, at least I tell them that. How could I not since they are, after all, the result of formations created within my own rotting carcass. Alfie and I always were good at that. Fornicating you ask? Well that too, but I meant reproducing. Andrea was practically born on tour. In the tour bus out the front of the hospital actually. She’s our eldest, and a righteous pain in the arse with her damn Veganism. You can’t tell her that every woman needs meat at least once in a while. Oh don’t do a mickey flip over that one. She’s nineteen, she can handle it. Or maybe she can’t. Is it getting hot in here?
Alfie really should be here soon. I suppose I should put on some roast vegetables and lamb. Alfie’s favourite but I don’t have it in me to cook right now. I guess it’s important at this point to mention that I do love him, yet after twenty years and almost five children, damn it if I don’t crave a new bloody adventure. It’s like your favourite flavour of ice-cream. You know what you love, but sometimes you just want to be adventurous and have the Wild Napoleon rather than the same old French Vanilla, but you stick with the Vanilla.
I was beautiful once. Now, I’m just me, Lillian. Plain Lill that shops at Aldi and picks up every bargain available around town. Same old boring motion of life, day in and day out. That’s my life now. That’s it.
I do have to mention though that something special is happening this weekend. A date. Yes, don’t laugh, you heard right. Alfie is taking me to see an Opera. I shit you not, the fucking Opera. I have to laugh every time I think about it. The Phantom of the Opera is on in the city. I must admit I’m a little excited but damn if I’m not feeling like a fraud right now, and god knows what I'm going to wear.
Alfie and I had a tiff the other night and I told him that I want to be treated like Lillian again. The hot sexy bass player he fell in love with all those years ago. The red headed bombshell the guys used to go ape shit over. Then I made the mistake of telling him that he has no class. That he hasn’t even taken me to the ballet once. Well now I’m off to the bloody Opera and I don’t even own a dress. Who’s the one with no class now? More arse than class in more ways than one. At least I haven’t lost my sense of humor. It comes in handy since we may now have to postpone the Opera to make way for your arrival instead.
Life is complicated these days. I’d give anything for it to be the way it once was. I just feel so trapped lately. Like our cockatiel in his rusty cage. My kitchen is my cage. I’ve been trapped in it for twenty years. Wish I could just burn dinner on purpose sometimes and tell the family, oops, sorry. Did you notice I said on purpose? Well I don’t bloody mean to burn it, I’m just a lousy cook. But Alfie knew that when he married me. Let’s just say I have, other hidden talents which make up for it. Oh you’ll get used to my black humour. The others all did.
Did I just hear the doorbell? Oh I’ll have to show you my crème brulee coloured doorbell with its dark brown button when you finally arrive. It was a gift from Alfie because I was sick and tired of door knockers walking into my backyard to find me half naked hanging up the washing in this humid heat. It’s not my fault my belly won’t allow me to wear anything besides grandma underwear and a Pamela Anderson bra for fucks sake.
Typical doorknockers. They always seem to know when you’re home. I mean, where else would a housewife be right? The bastards always know there is a woman in the house hiding behind curtains and staring at them with the hope that they just fuck off. Right now I’m imagining some fat man in a suit wearing a white starched shirt with traces of his McDonalds lunch on the front of it, pressing my crème brulee doorbell with his greasy chubby finger just to ruin my day.
I’ve got Alfie to thank for giving the bastards the power to ring my bell. Well not in that way exactly. But it does remind me of a song that was out the same time ours was in the 80s. It was called ‘Ring My Bell,’ and the film clip had this silly blonde bitch called Collette dancing in lycra singing at the top of her lungs that you could ring her bell. I wish she was here right now, dancing out the front and singing to the fat man, telling him that he can ring her bloody bell instead. Then he would fuck off. I really should get the door or he might break my doorbell. And I like that doorbell. Fucking doorknockers.
Maybe if I just ignore him, he might move on and go and break my neighbour’s doorbell instead. She’s deaf as bat shit so the poor guy would have to ring the bell for the next week before she would peel herself away from her little analogue television she uses to watch her full collection of Seinfeld on, pissing her pants as she laughs her head off when Elaine mentions that the pretzels are making her thirsty for the hundredth time.
I'll never forget the day she made me watch that episode with her over and over. I would have happily gouged my left eyeball out with a fork and become that eyeball just so I could have rolled through her kitchen right out her back door. Never mind that now. I’ve told her that I’m in my early stages of retina failure so I can’t watch TV at all, and if you’re going to ask me what retina failure is, I have no fucking idea but I had to tell the crazy bitch something before I was tied to a chair and forced to watch her Cheers reruns. That, I could not have survived. Oh I think that’s Alfie now. I can hear the Mazda in the driveway.
“Hi sweetheart, are you doing ok?”
“Well about time, my waters broke a few hours ago. I’ve been talking nonsense to the baby to stay calm. Where the fuck have you been?”
“Stuck in traffic. Why didn’t you let the midwife in? Ellie’s been ringing the doorbell for the last hour!”