Category Archives: Life after birth

In Hindsight… (Woo.)

As the wheels of my car crunched over the gravel drive I paused for a split second, frozen by the magnitude of what was about to happen.

I stumbled erratically to locate the right gear, switching from third and back down to first and eventually manically settling on neutral, my logical thought process completely stolen by the bleakness of the morning.

With my heart pounding out of my chest, the only reminder I was still alive, my little black family mobile, with the backseat holding little more than an empty, crisp spattered car seat and a small bag of my clothes, rolled pathetically in to large space and eventually came to a stop.

I don’t know how long I sat there staring at the big Daddy oak tree, I suppose it doesn’t really matter, I was as numb to the ticking of the clock as I was to my son’s kisses.

When I did eventually manage to climb out in to the cold air of the morning, I spotted a friend across the car park. She smiled kindly in my direction and that smile, changed everything.

The numbness I had so carefully cultivated over the months to protect me from the searing pain, was wiped out and destroyed by a tsunami of icy panic, which engulfed me from the tip of my heart to the bottom of my toes.

‘I don’t think I can do this’ I cried to her, my knees threatening to give way, my bottom lip actually shaking and wobbling as I spoke, the pain and the fear becoming unbearable ‘I just don’t think I can.’

She helped me carry my bags and with her arm around my shoulder we crunched over the pebbles towards reception.

We both knew I had no choice.

It was the unspoken elephant between us.

I was to be admitted in to hospital or I would be dead soon.

I was told I was brave by other patients.

You guys on here, supporting me in droves as I made jokes about packing my dildo and avoided the truth about my illness, told me I would be ok.

I will never forget all the kind words, but most interestingly, that first day, one of the most poignant things I remember being told was;

‘Do not make any drastic decisions or major changes to your life while you are undergoing any kind of therapy. You shouldn’t make any decisions until the dust settles.’

I remember thinking at the time, as I was being sectioned, that that was an odd thing to advise.

1 Blog, 3 tattoos, 1 Job change, 1 fiancée, 1 house on the market and 4 vivid hair changes later, I am starting to think they may have been on to something.

‘I probably should have waited for the dust to settle a little’ I laughed to my Laser Tattoo removal… removalist? (What is the official name for someone who removes your ill advised inking’s?)

‘You think?’ he asks sardonically, glancing up at me while turning the machine up to Cow Branding heat, as he is about to cross over the second O of the word WOO. ‘Do you know that Woo where I am from, means clunge?’

‘Clunge?’ I politely ask, my innocence about to be taken.

‘Yeah.’ He grunts ‘Clunge, like Vagina.’

I feel my eyes get incredibly wide and I stare at him.

If he wasn’t in the throws of death gripping my wrist I would yank my hand away and sink my head in to it.

‘Are you freaking serious?’  I gasp, completely and utterly panicked. The sweat already forming on the back of my neck, the clamminess gripping my heart.

‘Yeah.’

‘Oh god.’ My gaze lands on a tasteful painting of a tattooed Buddha woman with twelve arms, but I don’t actually see it, it really is just the background noise accompanying my internal screaming.

‘What’s the big deal?’ He mumbles, his tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth as he concentrates on removing the first 28 layers of skin from my sad little veins ‘I am removing the WOO now.’

I look up at him but stay silent for a long while, digesting this horrific news.

‘I called my blog mammy FREAKING woo!’ I exclaim.

He stops what he is doing and slowly lifts his eyes to meet mine.

‘So your blog, that everyone kinda likes and reads, the thing you are really proud of… wait, wait, the blog you won awards for…  is called…’ he tries to stop smiling but fails miserably and in the end gives up, finishing with a big grin ‘MAMMY VAGINA?’

As I sat frozen in time once more, I watched as he threw his head back in laughter, and in an extremely loud voice, told the rest of the tattoo parlor that my blog name was Mummy CLUNGE.

‘Is it a porn Blog?’ A bearded man who’s face I couldn’t see through all the body art asked, it has to be said, a little too keenly.

I can’t remember if I responded.

The part of my mind that blocks out all unwanted memories (the part that also houses that memory of that boy fingering me and that teacher catching us) grabbed hold of it and I … what was I talking about?

Anyway.

All I could think of on the way home was the day I drove in to the hospital and seemingly lost my ability to make sound decisions or listen to good advice.

I know in my heart that nothing will ever feel as mind-numbingly horrific as that moment when the orderly forcefully removed my car keys from my possession and took away my ability to escape.

How I missed my baby for weeks on end.

How I howled in to the dark, my heart torn and ragged, with nobody but a faceless nurse checking I wasn’t dead every 15 minutes.

How I wanted to cease to exist.

Nothing will ever be as truly awful as those dark, lonely and misunderstood days, but if I am being honest?

It was you guys that got me through it, supported me, listened to me and never, ever left me for even one moment to think I wasn’t worth life.

It was you guys who told me it would all work out, that everything would be ok, and I should soldier on, so for that?

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now if you don’t mind, I need you to do it all again.

Mammy VAGINA???

Mammy VAGINA!!!

Oh my god.

This does not bode well.

From now on can this PLEASE just be the unspoken elephant between us?

It’s like being on Acid, except it Isn’t.

‘Was that your ankle I just heard snap?’

The sturdy, thick thighed, brown haired woman with children hanging off her every appendage is standing over me and considering me inquisitively.

In answer to her question, I am writhing about in pain and gulping down vomit while also inadvertently head butting a giant ladybird.

As much as I would love to enter in to a polite conversation about the noise my ankle just made, I am unable to, due to the fact I think I may actually be dying.

The only noise I am able to make is bursting from my mouth, like something soggy escaping from a compressed nappy, without my prior permission.

I sound like I may be about to birth a donkey.

Eeeeeeee orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

Addison, now knelt beside me, having climbed back up the giant snake slide in the midst of all the drama, is trying to rub my back in a way that lets me know he is both caring and mature.

The thing is though, what with him being only two and all, his caring rubbing translates more as him just basically beating the crap out of me with a smile on his face.

As I bite down on my bottom lip and press my face in to the distinctly feet smelling, sticky red mat, writhing around in agony, desperately trying not to lose control of my bladder (which always seems to want to evacuate its contents at the first sign of any pain) Addison thankfully decides to give up on pummeling me to death in my hour of need, but then for some unknown godly reason decides that eating me will be much more supportive.

The burly woman is still stood over me, repeating her question, over and over again, while my son licks my face, I am seriously close to pooping my pants and a pain unlike I have ever felt, makes its way up my right leg.

‘Are you ok?’ she asks throwing her children off her thick body parts like a professional shot putter, and I see them fly, hurtling through the air, in all different directions, big smiles on their faces  ‘I am pretty sure it is just a sprain, I can’t see any swelling.’

I am dangerously close to passing out, my son is now maneuvering his tongue up my nostril, and although I am all for appropriate optimism in the face of disastrous drama, I am pretty sure my foot is no longer attached to my leg and if she calls it ‘just a sprain’ again I will have to projectile vomit all over her in revenge.

I turn on my back and look at her hard, imploring through the method of telekinesis (in that if i could, i would use my eyes to throw something at her) for her to shut the hell up.

Addison then begins to ‘massage my face’ in concern, while sitting on my chest.

(He is basically just bitch slapping me by this point.)

‘For the love of god, I have been shot!! I have been shot in the ankle and now my foot is falling off! Oh my god, I have been shot! Someone call the paramedics and the police.’

Is what I wanted to shout,

What actually came out was;

‘umf for fecks sake umf Addy get off me, I think I am dying, umf ergh its not a sprain, I want to poo, umf I think I need a dr, umf, ergh…’

And then I stupidly looked down and saw my foot was very definitely dislocated, which did not help settle my stomach one tiny bit.

My foot was completely ignoring the instructions to jump back on my ankle I was sending it, preferring instead to take advantage of it’s freedom and perform for all the world to see, its own interpretation of Michael Flatleys lord of the dance, without the rest of my body being involved at all.

Five hours later, after being carried down the shiny green, undulating snake slide by the woman who was convinced it was just a sprain, and who i was convinced by this point was actually a man in drag, and clattering in to my local A and E department all hair and moaning, excitedly seeing my chance to finally, finally re-experience the joys of Gas and Air*, I have been gifted with a shiny half cast, an x-ray confirming a hairline fracture, an extremely clean right nostril and a packet of codeine phosphate.

Damn giant ladybird.

Damn play center.

Damn Michael Flatley, I can’t look at my foot now without seeing a row of healthy Irish dancers, dressed in green, all jumping and fumbling in unison, it’s like my foot had dreams of another life it never got to live and now I am disappointed for it.

My foot is depressed.

The Irish one reckons my foot had the potential to make it to broadway.

I love codeine phosphate too by the way.

But not as much as I love Gas and Air. So it is a shame really that I hadn’t actually been shot.

*They wouldn’t give me gas and air because APPARANTELY it is on my medical record that I ask for it too often and they think maybe I have a problem. I told him ‘I DO HAVE A PROBLEM, my problem is YOU WON’T GIVE ME ANY GAS AND AIR and I deserve some! The people deserve some! My foot deserves some. I didn’t get any. Bunch of bastards.

I’d also like take this moment to say thanks to the woman with incredible thighs. Your thighs saved my life. But it wasn’t a sprain ok? So stop saying it was a sprain. Cos its not and it never was. Thanks.

Be Careful What You Wish For…

I just assumed it would all come true.

I was destined for bigger things.

I was so sure I was.

I believed in it so deeply; that while I waited for ‘it’ to happen, life became grey and dull.

Whatever ‘it’ was, I wouldn’t need to try at all, as I was just so sure, it would be thrust upon me.

It would find me.

It being ‘the greatness.’

One day I would wake up and all of my wishes, dreams and desires would have come true.

I would lie flat on my back in my single bed on those long lonely nights, listening to crappy 90’s music and imagining myself in to a life where I wasn’t miserable, wasn’t lonely, bullied, forgotten, but was stood waiting to perform in front of crowds filled with millions of people.

They would all be screaming and chanting my name in fevered excitement that they were about to enjoy my company, and I, of course would be slimmer than a stick insect, with massive hair, huge sunglasses and obviously acting as cool as a cucumber.

‘Yes’ I would smile in my imaginary life ‘I have made it.’

Every dream was different. (But I was always as shallow…)

I was going to change the world with my singing voice, with my dancing, or even possibly with my intelligence, (it was MY DREAM ok?) or maybe with my immense knowledge of all things 90210 and Melrose Place related, and of course I would never ever look back. (Unless it was for a fabulous photo shoot image.)

My name was going to be remembered throughout the sands of time, and I would be happy and rich.

When my time in the spotlight was up, after I had, had a slow movie montage of my life played to me while Take That sang Never Forget live! And everybody clapped and told me I should be knighted for my services to Fashion/Singing/Wearing sunglasses, I would immediately become like a mother Teresa type figure but with better outfits (and with no issues with gay marriage.)

I may even win a Nobel prize for being fabulous.

The fact I have always been unable to so much as hum, without forcing previously perfectly healthy blackbirds to come over all suicidal and fly headfirst at 40mph in to a brick wall, and mostly when I dance people end up calling the paramedics as they assume I am having some sort of epileptic fit, was besides the point.

In my dream world, everything would be different.

By the time I was 30 I would be a superstar… at something, and all of my dreams would have come true.

I remember all of this, as last week I was cleaning out schoolbooks and diaries and basically, crap, from all those years ago when I was a teenager, and I came across a diary entitled ‘Dream book.’

(I also came across my old school shirt with all the sixth form leaving signatures on it. Why did everybody draw willies at that age? My school shirt is peppered with balls and odd shaped ballooning cocks with smiley faces. Was there really any need?)

(To lexy, I will miss you, here is a smiley knob and hairy balls to remember me by… Laura.. xxx) 

It was filled to the brim with utter bollocks. (The dream book AND shirt.)

But it made me smile, because at the time, writing that utter bobbins in that dream book was how I carried on.

I was dreaming of how I thought my life would go.

It was those dreams that made me get out of bed in the morning.

I was 16.

As I tipped open one of the diaries, I was thrust immediately in to a melancholy moment, when on my lap an envelope, fell. (See, I’ve even slipped in to melancholy prose…)

I knew instantly what was in it.

At the time, the way I saw it, geography IGcse could just bore off because I was destined for bigger things.

While my classmates learned about cloud formations and how to recognise a Small Crack from a Gaping Crevice (which actually, may be a good title for a book I am writing on the after effects of labour) on field trips, I searched for four leaf clovers and stars to wish on.

(10 grand a year on private school fees well spent then, yeah dad?)

From Inside the envelope, as I opened it, with my fat fingers trembling, out fell, wrapped in tissue and sealed with a note, a four-leaved clover.

My wish, the wish I made 18 years ago at the age of 15, was written in bold pink ink.

‘I wish to never be normal.’

I probably should have been more specific.

Bat Shit Crazy.

I must live in the moment.

I don’t want to go back in hospital.

I just can’t.

I must live in the moment.

I must take deep breaths.

Think rational thoughts.

I must not freak out.

What can I hear if I close my eyes and take deep breaths?

Yes everything is ok.

I can hear the sound of Doodle licking his bollocks romantically in his bed next to me.

Over my ragged breath, I can also hear the clinky clanky tinkering of the Irish one fixing his bike in the kitchen (as you do) while muttering expletives under his breath and faintly, if I focus, I can hear my Barmy and adored, sweet smelling boy snoring, mouth wide open, in his bed.

All is as it should be.

Deep breaths.

Do not freak out.

It will not happen.

Don’t freak out don’t freak out don’t freak out.

I do not want to end up back in hospital.

It reared its violent head again on New Years Eve.

I went for a lie down at 8pm ‘to rest my eyes for five minutes’ after loving every moment of snuggling with Addison,  after telling stories of tractors who could talk and dogs who could fly.

I lay down peacefully, promising to rest for only five minutes.

What must have been hours later I found myself sitting bolt upright in bed, my heart hammering and dripping with hot tears and sweat.

I could hear gunshots.

‘Irish one!’ I screamed in to the darkness after reaching out to grab him and with a huge sense of dread realising he wasn’t there. ‘Oh my god, Irish one! Where are you?’

He burst through the bedroom door like a shocked and pajamad warrior.

‘Whats the matter?’ He shouted racing towards the bed in what I thought was panic and worry for me. (Turns out I was screaming like I was being stabbed and he was worried the neighbors may think he was bludgeoning me.) ‘Stop screaming!’

‘Are we at war?’  I whispered clutching his shoulder and grabbing the PlayStation remote from him in case I needed to brandish it as a weapon later on.

‘No you medicated idiot,’ he laughed, enveloping me in a hug and rocking me back and forth like you may do a child ‘it is midnight. It is fireworks you can hear. Happy New Year. Go back to sleep.’

As my heart began to slow , I kissed him, handed him back his remote and rolled over.

I was intending to go back to sleep grumbling about how If the fireworks woke the kid up, i’d go mad.

But I couldn’t sleep.

I knew it was back.

I felt as if I had invited it back.

Immediately I was disappointed in myself and anxious.

Don’t freak out.

Don’t freak out.

Something had crept in to bed behind me, and was now spooning with me, breathing its hot breath on to my neck, making all of my hair stand on end.

Psychosis.

Go away.

Please go away.

A feeling of dread so worrying, I am now, a week later, still struggling to function.

Calm down.

You are ok.

The world didn’t end.

I am getting married this year.

Nothing is like what it was.

It isn’t back.

You are imagining it.

Doodle is slowly starting to realise 5 years after emerging from his doggy mothers womb that outside is where he must poo and the rocky start I had at motherhood myself, is just starting to feel lovely, like deep down in my bones, awe inspiring, heart rupturing lovely.

Everything is ok.

Deep breaths.

It is only a new year.

Don’t freak out.

But no, I know it is there waiting for me, seeping in at my edges, the darkness, the paranoia, I can feel it, no matter how much I argue with myself.

It is there.

Has the Irish one spiked my tea?

He repeatedly denies it, his brow furrowing with worry and of course, then I laugh.

Set his mind at rest.

Before surreptitiously creeping in to the kitchen and pouring it down the sink.

I will make a new cup of tea, and I will keep my eyes on it.

He may be trying to spike me.

You never know.

Ok.

I think we have a problem.

Do those girls hate me really? Will they follow me back to my car and throw bricks at me?  Are they plotting to follow me home? Do they call me fat and see evil in me?

Are they planning to steal my baby? I must tell them I made my baby up. I must pretend he doesn’t exist.

No harm can come to my baby.

Ok.

I think we may have a problem.

And then I am lost.

The deep breathing hasn’t helped.

I know with certainty right now it will happen.

The moment I dread.

The moment I am pulled roughly from the serene moment I am resting my lips peacefully on my son’s forehead, or inhaling his sweet playful childishness as he smacks his lips together in his sleep, and everything will just… disappear.

I will blink myself from this life and find myself in a stark white room 30 years from now stinking to high heaven of hospitals and bleach, tethered to a bed with an old man leaning over me, his teeth yellowing and his complexion pale, begging me to come home and get better.

I will recognise nobody.

I won’t know what happened.

I was putting my son to bed and I blinked.

The old man will be the Irish one but of course, I wont recognise him, having only seen him three minutes before when he was swearing in the kitchen and leaving greasy oil prints everywhere.

Now.

I mean… just then!

What happened?

I want to go back.

‘Lexy,’ he will tenderly whisper in my ear, his salty old coffee breath gushing over my senses, ‘I am your husband we have been married 30 years today, Addison is  here to see you,  can you remember him? Are you lucid?’

‘You don’t like coffee’ I will whisper confused, ‘you can’t be him’ my eyes wide with fear, my heart exploding with every beat from my chest.

‘Mike wazaouski’ he will whisper our private joke playfully in my ear, and I will instantly know it is him and I will turn to ice.

‘Mum.’ I will hear his voice before I see him and I will sense his tears, his heartbreak at how his mother went Bat shit crazy  ‘Mum, it’s me, Addison. Are you lucid?’

I will turn slowly, my head a dead weight filled with fear and disbelief and I will look at the grown up man stood at the end of my bed.

My heart will catch in my throat.

Don’t freak out.

I missed it all.

I missed him growing up.

I missed it all.

No.

‘No!’ I will want to scream long and hard.

‘Mum’ he will whisper, his little lopsided smile and cracked baby teeth, long gone, his baby blue eyes once filled with vulnerability now replaced by life experience I haven’t witnessed, a life with his mother trapped in another world. A life where his mother abandoned him.

And I will howl in desperation, where is my son, where has his smell gone, his little play doh and yoghurt stained pyjamas? Where are our moments?

The man at the end of the bed cannot be my son, he just can’t, my son is 2 years old.

And I will black out.

Ok. 

I think we may have a problem. 

Don’t freak out.

Everything is ok.

Addison is asleep in his bed.

Concentrate on the now.

But will now be the moment it happens?

That my years will be violently stolen?

I am still in bed.

I can hear Doodle farting.

Concentrate on the now.

It is all ok.

The Irish one has come in.

He is shouting at me to calm down.

He sounds worried.

I must be freaking out.

I am trapped in my imaginary world.

Heart racing, panicked, mouth dry, the room swinging in and out of focus.

I must live in the moment.

I must not forget to take my medication.

I must not freak out.

I must not get too upset and angry when I hear people off handedly label others, with mental health issues, funny names.

They simply do not understand that this is an illness.

I must live in the moment.

A panic attack will only ever be a panic attack.

I am going to go and hug my baby.

I am bat shit crazy.

But you know?

I will get through it.

Happy New Year!

Whiplash…

I guess, in the grand scheme of things, I do take a lot for granted.

It seems however that perhaps I should be more appreciative of stuff.

Like, my neck.

I never truly appreciated the momentous amount of effort my neck puts in everyday, not only keeping my humongous Sindy doll head with its erratic and uncontrollable bonce sitting on top upright, but it also seems to have some influence over my voice box too.

Who knew?

The neck and the voice in cahoots, I wonder if any medical people are aware of this phenomenon? Maybe I should write to … um… er… Google?

For the past week having been suffering with some pretty intense whiplash following on from my surprise fondling session with a glass wall, it has dawned on me just how much of my life I owe to my neck.

‘You are taking it a bit far Lexy. I am sure you could speak normally even if you are unable to swivel your head!’

The Irish one was frustrated with my whiplash.

The Irish one was wrong (as usual) as I had tried but totally couldn’t do ANYTHING normally without my neck agreeing.

It was like my GSCE drama was coming back to haunt me and for some reason I was really getting in to character.

As a Dalek.

Not only did I find myself having to walk and operate generally like I was in some dodgy parental version of Dr Who, but I was also, on account of my (Immense and fabulous theatrical background – seriously you should have seen me in the local theatre’s version of Drop dead Fred! I was the most life-like tree you ever saw!) I was also beginning to sound like a Dalek too.

‘Talk normally!’  He bellowed as he approached me from behind (not in a dodgy way) in the kitchen.

‘I ser-iou-sly carnt.’ I had mechanically responded turning slowly around to face him with my shoulders, a look of horror etched on to my face.

Just before this happened you see, I had been in the throws of attempting to erect a makeshift splint for my neck made out of an empty KFC bargain bucket and seven ice lolly sticks all glued together.

Addison, who had eaten the 7 ice lolly’s in a bid to seem useful was now swinging from the light fixtures screeching like an over sugared Russian monkey gymnast. Seriously, only dogs could hear him.

So upon shuffling in to the kitchen to fetch more glue for my whiffy chicken sponsored neck upholstery and discovering as I felt something remotely poo like squidge between my bare toes (as obviously Dalek’s cant look down) that Doodle had released his bowel all over the floor, I totally felt it normal if not necessary to shout.

‘EXCREMENT!! EXCREMENT!!’  In the most mechanical Dalek voice I could muster.

It just came out naturally, actually. (Which is also how doodle later explained himself.)

I have noticed though, that having whiplash is also akin to having just given birth.

In that, you are in all this pain but no one gives a damn cos now there is a baby (ours who was by now licking the windows,) you may as well be a lump of whale skin. (Although saying that, I’d make a nice lipstick me. They could call me – Shit Tinkle Brown.)

So anyway, here are my new years resolutions.

1) Stop walking in to glass walls as this ultimately leads to runny poo ending up between your toes and you being unable to clean your feet cos you cant bend down without either a) screaming like a girl or B)…. Screaming like a girl.

2) Keep the fish alive, because when the fish are dead they hold no entertainment value and a ‘holiday down the toilet’ is now just not cutting the mustard with the child. He is also now starting to believe, on account of us having to change the story, that to get to heaven, you have to flush the loo. Awkward.

3) Do more stuff that involves vodka.

4) Stop forgetting to take my medication.

And that’s me out.

‘Irish one!’

‘What?’ he replies a look of concern passing over his features.

‘Lick my poo toes!!’ I snort at how funny I think I am.

‘You are gross. I can not believe we are getting married this year!’

OH MY GOD.

I want to walk down the aisle dressed like a Dalek!

‘HE MUST OBEY! OBEY!’

I wonder if Disney would allow it? I bet they have the costume and everything…

Actual Social Suicide.

I didn’t see it coming.

I was trying to play it cool while carrying my tote bag, my handbag, Addison’s toys and a large red box in one hand, and the wriggling chocolate covered, sticky fingered juvenile himself in the other.

‘Can I just leave this here with you?’ I stoutly questioned the security guard on our way out of reception while fumbling in my pocket for the phone I had found on the three-story dismount from my office.

It’s a shame I am unable to step in a lift as if I could, none of this would have ever happened.

It would certainly make my life easier too, but alas, my fear of being stuck in a tiny unmoving box with a two and a half-year old, in the dark, ensures we always climb the stairs.

Up and down.

Up being no easier than down.

It adds an extra twenty minutes to my commute.

Addison comes in to work with me now, you see, at my brilliant new job for Elite magazine.

Unfortunately though, the office is on the third floor.

Which is great if you aren’t a two-year old who seems to believe stairs are magical concrete boxes which give you powers of aviation, so that usually ‘taking the stairs’ means mummy having to have the emergency services on speed dial, or mummy dislocating her shoulder and his wrist as she dangles him mid-air from each step in a bid to get him to ‘JUST BLOODY WALK PROPERLY!’

Sweating slightly as I keep one of the bags aloft with my teeth, I hand the phone over  ‘I found it on the stairs.’

‘Thanks.’ comes the gruff voice.

As I reposition the bag in to my hand and shift Addison’s weight on to my hip and place the phone down in front of him, all jute bag and rustling, I look up. ‘Is that ok?’ I squeak.

He is a lovely looking lad with blue-green eyes and incredibly white teeth.

He looks a bit like Harry Styles.

I am instantly hit with how carefree he seems to be, it is oozing off him from behind the desk.

Young, carefree, maybe a little hung-over and definitely relaxed.

As oppose to me.

Old, laden with crap, stinking of a night squidged in to a cot bed with a sticky two-year old and so rigid, I’d make a ruler jealous.

‘Yeah.’ He responds cockily, sliding the phone towards himself and then frowning in barely masked disbelief as Addison decides at that very moment to stick his tongue on my eye-ball and I yelp like a mauled mongrel.

I must appear to be the most harassed, overloaded, red-faced and agitated, carrying a huge stuffed finding Nemo plush under one arm, out of breath ‘associate’ in a suit, anyone has ever seen in this posh office building.

I smile back, after pushing my son’s face away a little and acknowledge I look a bit weird with a wink. Yeah I am weird and have responsibility but yeah, I am cool yeah? I can still be ‘down with the kids yeah.’ I can manage all of this, and still pull off sexy, calm, collected and cool yeah?

He smiles a little oddly at me so I decide it is time we move on.

I am probably coming across like a mental patient.

I huff like an elephant as I begin re positioning the weight of our belongings and start marching in the general direction of the exit.

And then everything happens at once.

As I turn to leave the busy reception area and get away from the crowds of young people, my phone starts to vibrate against my leg distracting me, I notice it is raining heavily outside, the clock on the wall tells me we are running very late for job number 2 so I speed up, and for some unknown godly reason Addison decides to stick his finger right up my nose.

I didn’t see it coming.

I was extracting a sticky knuckle from probing the depths of my inner face cavities and I was in a rush.

I heard the panicked shouts of ‘NOoooooo!’ from a few people in reception before I actually felt the pain, but by that point it was too late.

I, rather embarrassingly, strode in to very clean, squeaky clean some may say, Glass bastard wall.

I witnessed actual stars popping about my head cartoon like as I was tumbling backwards on my boots, boxes and bags, tampons and toy trains exploding from different parts of my person, in to the air around me before thudding to the floor and screeching across the classy marble in every direction.

I may have shouted an expletive in to the ether before hitting the deck and trying to stop Addison head butting me on the way down.

I may have shouted something a long the lines of someone’s mother being a fucker as my nose started to bleed and the stunned silence was slowly replaced by gasps of horror from all around us.

I could taste my embarrassment in the audible silence before I tasted the blood.

I didn’t know what to do.

It was too late to brush anything off.

I couldn’t limp off pretending it hadn’t happened.

It will probably appear on You’ve been Framed or You Tube at some point!

I couldn’t even open my eyes properly to locate my son, my god the pain was unbelievable.

Mortification and actual pain.

My face felt like it was sliding off my chin.

And the Silence was only serving to magnify my injured grunting and moaning, that oddly I was aware did sound a little sexual. (Very random.)

And then somebody sniggered.

I snapped my head to the left, holding my nose together, to peep through the tears at who the perpetrator was.

It was Addison.

He was rolling around on the floor grasping for his trains and trying to open my tampons in barely concealed delight.

‘MUMMY ALWAYS LOOK WHERE YOU ARE WALKING!! SWEETIES!!!’

And then he started properly laughing, the little sod.

And then the tittering from the rest of the room started.

So I just lay back on the floor staring at the ceiling as strangers passed me back my tampons and the security guard got me some tissues for my bleeding nose.

Me and my black eye are working from home from now on.

I used to be cool.

Honest.

Pete.

His name is Peter Smith.

As I crouched down next to him on the filthy concrete floor where he was laying on his side, his face almost resting in a puddle and his yellowing fingernails clutched around a wallet of sorts, I have to be honest; I did curse myself for stopping and becoming involved before I fully really realised what I was doing, especially while wearing my new suede boots.

While trying to grind his face in to the floor in an attempt to disappear, or feel more stable maybe, he tells me that his name is Peter Smith, but whispers that I can call him Pete.

I lean over him, my hand on his shoulder, and ask him how old he is.

He tells me he is sixty.

I tell him, while fumbling for my phone, that he doesn’t look sixty years old and as I am connected to the emergency services I notice out of the corner of my eye, his eyebrows raise ever so slightly and he tries to turn and make eye contact with me.

When he does, he smiles slightly, naturally, in surprise.

I smile back at him and want to cry, as people flood by us, without even a second glance.

I decide at this point to stop being such a selfish twat and be grateful for what I have been given.

With glum regard at knowing I am doing the right thing but still not being entirely sure I want to, I take my coat off and rest his head on it, it will be warmer, the inside is fur lined and at least now, this old man’s head is off the floor.

I am a human being and so is he.

If I were lying on my side on the floor next to a church at 10.30 on a Monday morning at sixty years old, I would hope somebody may do the same for me.

He thanks me and sobs.

I ignore him, feeling I too could sob, even more so as I witness him dribbling all over it.

His blonde hair is matted and in his ear, I notice, as I am leaning over to speak to him, he has encrusted mud.

Pete is sixty years old and he has mud in his ears.

His yellowing brown leather jacket, formal brown trousers and old lace up shoes do not tell me he is homeless, they tell me he is an old man who at one point took great pride in his appearance.

How does someone go from that, to having mud in their ears?

It was his shoes that stopped me in my tracks as I was on my way up the hill towards Wilkinson’s to buy christmas presents for Addison.

I may bitch about my new boots getting dirty and my coat (Sob!), but I didn’t even consider walking on, like those around me, I promise.

I couldn’t, even though people told me to keep walking, that he was here all the time, even though my common sense was telling maybe I shouldnt get involved, I stopped and I got involved, because the minute I saw Pete’s shoes, I was stopped in my tracks.

They were like a knife in my heart.

One solid lace up brown kicker type shoe, lying on the top of the other, his knees slightly bent, facing out towards the passing traffic.

Shoes like my son wears, sturdy brown shoes that are built to last.

Pete is somebody’s son.

Pete is sixty years old.

Pete has mud in his ears, and this morning Pete had half a bottle of Vodka for breakfast.

Pete has a story and I want to know it.

Pete has caused heartache to all his family and when the ambulance men get here they will roll their eyes and shout at him.

Pete tells me all this and sobs loudly.

He tells me he wants to die.

I look up to the sky and curse.

Of all the people in all of the world Pete, I am probably not the person you want to have sitting with you now.

Rolling as I am in the waves of a minor relapse.

‘Me and you both mate.’ Didn’t seem like an appropriate answer, so I stayed shtum.

He tells me he is a diabetic and an alcoholic and he wants to die.

He shakes and sobs as I sit back and watch the realisation of where he is dawning oh him over and over again.

It reminds me of the way the immediate and shocking realisation at my brother being dead hit me over and over again any time I got drunk in those first few months.

The pain would get more and more blunt each time.

‘Pete. What happened today can you tell me?’

‘I don’t know.’

And I can tell he doesn’t.

He doesn’t have a clue how he got here.

He tells me he wants to go home and a small part of me connects to something I can not put in to words.

I am connected to being lost.

When the paramedics arrive they address him like an old friend.

‘Hi Pete.’ The brown-eyed one says ‘You having a bad day mate?’

Pete sobs again and I move back after rubbing his shoulder one last time, to let them do their work.

They thank me, and promise me he will be ok, that they will look after him.

‘Bye Pete.’ I shout as I leave, and I blow him a kiss.

‘Your coat!’ he whispers hoarse and I bend down to retrieve it. ‘Thank you.’ He says and I know he means it.

Or maybe he doesn’t.

Maybe he won’t remember me by now.

He probably won’t.

My coat is in the wash; all traces of Pete will be gone soon.

But I have a feeling I will remember him for a long time.

I don’t know why.

It’s just got to me.

He was somebody’s son, and he had mud in his ears.

I wonder what his story was, or could have been, if it wasn’t for the illness, the addiction, and the alcohol?

My boots are fine by the way.

I wiped them down when I got home.

Life goes on for both of us.

I bought Addison a Transformer.