From men to mid life crises, from Botox to Brazilians, from infertility to infidelity, every week Jacqui Leigh gives her personal take on being a fortysomething woman
When it's all over
Over a week since I’ve seen Daniel. On work mornings I’ve just been walking past the cafe, eyes ahead, not letting myself glance in, just in case I see him. How f-cked up is that?
Last week after his mother turned up out of the blue, I got into my car and drove off, already late for picking up Mo and too freaked out for explanations.
Later on he rang me gave me the whole story. How his father walked out on them when he was twelve. How his mother had some kind of breakdown and spent the best part of two years not getting out of bed. How finally, after two years she seemed to improve, stopped taking anti-depressants and even managed to get a part time job. And then suddenly she seemed to be ill all the time, drained of energy and a whole bunch of miscellaneous symptoms, which they have recently been told, after endless tests are probably, but not definitely ME. It’s one of those default conditions when they’ve ruled out everything else. I’m not even sure I believe in it actually.
Since his father left there’s been Daniel and only Daniel. After he left school he did various jobs. No university, few friends. A couple of years ago he was left some cash and opened his coffee shop in the station. When he’s not working he’s looking after her. A few times a year she goes to stay with a friend just to give him a break.
My heart goes out to him. But I’m a middle aged divorcee struggling to makes ends meet and I have so much on my plate right now, I don’t know if I can deal with this. I asked him to give me time. And he has. Did I think he would call me, plead with me? Why would he? Now that she’s back, he’s got his hands full. He probably hasn’t had time to even think about me.
I really miss him. He makes me laugh and he’s so sexy. Finally at the age of 44 I have really incredible sex with a gorgeous man (boy?) who can’t get enough of me and now suddenly it’s all over. I can’t believe I will find anyone who will ever me feel like he does. That’s it. Time to dry up, grow old and die.
Not for the first time I wonder why I can’t just find myself someone suitable, solvent, stable - and sexy. Someone my age. Amicably divorced, a couple of nice trouble free kids...
Here’s the thing. I never fancy men like this. Example. In the last few weeks I seem to have caught the eye of a guy at the gym. There are a few middle aged men I say hello to simply because we’re there around the same time but this one is different. I call him Mr Bean and though he’s perfectly nice and polite there’s something a little too eager about his hellos, something a bit intrusive about the way he blocks my way so that I will have to notice him and make small talk.
I mention this to Fred. Fred, my former trainer and briefly my lover and now apparently my agony aunt. Having thrown his lot in with his rich married girlfriend (now divorcing) his life seems to be a series of foreign holidays, new clothes and expensive meals. He certainly chose the right woman - I couldn’t even stretch to a weekend in Margate.
He eyes Mr Bean and raises his eyebrows. ‘That’s David. You know, he’s on the news, that presenter, yeah, you know him. You must have seen him.’
Who? On the news? I give Mr Bean a sidelong glance. Maybe he is familiar. I don’t know, I don’t have time to watch TV. To me he looks like Mr Bean’s slightly better looking brother. Tall, dark, reasonable shape for his age, own hair, late forties I guess.
‘He’s a good bloke’, said Fred with touching earnestness. ‘He earns a shitload of money.’
Too bad I don’t fancy him.