The Comings and Goings of Mum

Mum became promiscuous during my late teen years. Like, really promiscuous. I’m not into slut-shaming; to each his own, live and let live and all that. But she threw herself at anything – and I mean anything – with a penis. Daniel suffered more than I on the spectrum of humiliation as it is seemingly shameful to a son when their mother can be heard audibly shagging a Polish guy she met THAT DAY while he’s in the garden playing kick about with his friends. Dareg could not speak English so I have no idea how he even ended up at our house! She continued to sleep with him for a few weeks, aided by the translation of one of his flatmates. The whole situation was all a bit weird and dodgy – think about the episode of Friends where Phoebe is with the Russian guy and his translator has to be there for all the dates…it was like that – but with a 40 year old woman who had two teenagers patiently waiting downstairs turning the TV up louder and louder to cover their sounds of mutual climax.
Trying to hold mature discussions with her about her increasingly worsening behaviour and my concerns around the men she was regularly bringing in and out of her reproductive organs was fruitless. She became defensive in the first instance and we would end up rowing. Or worse, she would lie to appease me while secretly continuing to see whatever lowlife was frequenting her bed at that time; this created a chasm between us where I never believed a word she said and she felt permanently judged by her teenage daughter.
Around this time she became friends with 25 year old Andy, whom she met through work. Andy was rotund, grotesque and offensively unattractive; I wouldn’t be so mean ordinarily (THR excluded) but he was a total perverted creep. I questioned the friendship Mum had with Andy because it was definitely platonic and yet Mum did not have platonic friendships with men; she slept with them until something better came along. Andy somehow infiltrated her inner circle and would come to our house after work, huge sweat patches staining his Nickelson T-Shirt.
For my part, I remained in my bedroom whenever he came over. I had developed an acute intuition for identifying when men wanted me, especially the ones who repulsed me, and I actively avoided being confronted by such situations. He was the kind of man who made my skin crawl and the thought of being in a confined space with him made me panic – I still get like that now with certain men although it happens less often these days. It actually happened to me last night with some hook-nosed 14 year old kid in a parka coat who sidled up too close to me while I was at the till in Boots. I wanted to tell him to back the fuck off but his Mum looked like she could pummel my arse so I just shuffled awkwardly into the racking to my right offering face-wipes at £1. I should caveat that former statement by acknowledging this is not always the fault of the man; he may be perfectly pleasant (although he’s usually not). But something about him gives me the ‘ick’. (For definitions of ‘the ick’ see @lalalaletmeexplain – she’s an all round guru on matters of the heart and vagina)
One day, after an evening out with Andy, Mum came home waxing lyrical about Andy’s friend, James. She said James was the ‘hottest guy’ she had ever seen (she liked to use youthful vernacular as her way of asserting to the young men she preyed on that she still had her finger on the pulse of adolescence) and that he was clearly into a cougar such as herself. She had a penchant for younger men by this point – I think she felt every time a boy twenty years her junior entered her it was the equivalent to suckling from the milky teat of eternal youth. I didn’t doubt for a moment that she would sleep with him because she slept with them all. She would often regale me with elicit tales of her sexual exploits, not imagining for a moment that this was inappropriate, that I didn’t want to hear about the dalliances of her cervix and that I was not her sister, counsellor or friend but in fact her daughter.
Predatory and voracious, she became obsessed with James. Talking about him incessantly, making moves around the chessboard of life to bring him closer to her. At 22 years old I almost pity the boy because she was rapacious in her efforts and he was a mere hare caught in the lens of her mating weaponry. I made a mental note to myself to never be like her when it came to men; if I had to chase them then I should leave well alone.
The day came when Andy brought James to our house for an evening of fun with Mum. I was used to her bringing reprobates and degenerates into our home; boys not much older than Daniel and I who drove VW Golfs and wore Armani emblazoned chinos and used her to raise their body count. It was actually really sad to see how Daniel would become so attached to them, too young to realise they weren’t looking to replace the Dad he had lost. I normally slept with a chair under my door handle when she brought them round; not because I thought they were going to sneak into my room and rape me in the night but because, well, they could. She once commented that she wished she had taken my bedroom when we moved in to our house instead of the largest bedroom because mine was closer to the loo and she ‘wouldn’t have to drip along the landing to the bathroom.’ A savoury thought.
I suppose what I’m saying here is that despite Mum’s protestations, my expectations of ‘James the Sex-God’ were gutter level. So, imagine my surprise as I peered out of the landing window at Andy’s black Renault Clio pulling across the dropped curb when I discovered James was in fact no degenerate or ne’er-do-well. James was hot. There’s no other word for it – he was seriously hot. Average height, slim but muscular, hair all spiked up (it was fashionable at the time) and these dark brown eyes that were like looking into pools of glistening, melted chocolate. I actually stopped breathing, then and there on the landing; it was only when my chest started making this weird humming noise that I remembered I needed to gasp some air into my empty lungs. They made their way to the front door and I saw him momentarily glance upwards at the house. I dropped to the floor like a panicking sack of potatoes – I couldn’t be that weirdo who just twitched the curtains at people constantly – even though I genuinely was that weirdo who twitched the curtains at people constantly. I crawled along the landing to my bedroom, still in a state of shock. Half way there, I turned around (remaining on all fours) and crawled back toward the stairs – I wanted to meet this Adonis. But then, considering how strange and creepy the sight of a seventeen year old crawling down the stairs blushing furiously would seem, I turned again and picked up the track to my room. It must have been like watching an ant aimlessly running around a paving slab.
After clawing back some semblance of tranquillity and wiping down the knee marks in my jogging bottoms, I descended the stairs to meet our new guest, feigning aloofness. I was 17, learning to drive, and a complete loser. Upon meeting James I found he was a remarkably nice guy – what was he doing hanging around with Mum and Andy, the sex pests? I didn’t get it.
Mum let us all chat for around five minutes. James asked me questions about Sixth Form and driving and he seemed genuinely interested in my life, although that may have been me wishful thinking. I realised he was really quite dense but still very beautiful so I made a mental note that he wasn’t the guy for me (even if he’d wanted me, which he definitely didn’t with my fuzzball Screech hair and skinny little Mowgli-body) but I was conflicted with the knowledge that he seemed nice and I didn’t want him polluted by Mum.
I appraised her for clarification on what it was he might like about her; standing there in her Birkenstocks with her olive, petite body and her brunette bob. Was she that pretty? I didn’t think so – not really. She looked much prettier without make up but she slathered that on like war paint, layer upon layer of umber tones concealing the youthful freckles that lay hidden beneath. She tittered at everything he said which only served to cringe me out. I caught her eye as I reviewed her competitively and she slowly, purposefully raised her eyes to the ceiling; a definite hint that she was signalling for me to leave the room and make myself scarce. So she wanted to be alone with the chubster and the hottie? Fine – enjoy being spit-roasted, Mum!
That night I brooded in my bedroom while she undoubtedly made an absolute twat of herself in front of Andy, who yearned for her, and James, who probably knew he could smash her anytime he wanted and was just putting in a bit of ground work on the assumption that she wouldn’t make it easy for him; which was a misplaced supposition.
James and Andy became regulars in our lives. They came over weeknights and weekends to hang out with Mum. I would be allowed to join for the briefest of moments and then swiftly signalled to fuck off when Mum wanted them to herself. By now I had accepted the pair for the weirdos they obviously were – who the fuck hangs out with a 40 year old woman at 22 and 25? What had initially endeared me to James was now an annoyance but their presence did mean the endless train of men ceased from passing through our home.
After I had passed my driving test, Mum asked me one day that Summer if I might drive her, James and Andy back to Andy’s house for the remainder of the afternoon. I had an evening and weekend job at a local hairdressers that paid £40 per week and I had saved up and bought myself a little white Suzuki Alto GL; four gears and a choke I didn’t have the first idea how to use. I called her ‘Suki’ and I loved her because she was all mine.
I had nothing better to do for the chosen hour of their departure so I shoved a bookmark in my copy of The Chrysalids and agreed. I caught Mum in the hallway while Andy and James were putting their shoes on and asked her to make sure she sat next to me in the front seat; she knew my issues around being close to men I didn’t like and she knew Andy was one such man so I thought she would understand the request. Instead she told me to, ‘get a fucking grip. Andy isn’t going to touch you!’ I considered telling her to shove her lift up her perfectly bleached little arsehole then but I didn’t because I preferred to have the house to myself for the remainder of the day.
We piled into the car and I pressed myself over to the right as far as I possibly could while being able to drive but I could still feel the body heat exuding off Andy, wafting towards me in upsurges of rigor and desperation. Mum was perched innocently next to James on the brown tartan back seats, absolutely in her element. I made a succession of cursory glances in the rear view mirror during the journey; all seemed very quiet back there but they both sat poised, upright and belted safely in to the chintzy seats. Mum had her handbag on her lap and James’ eyes were fixed ahead. Yet something felt…wrong. I was left to hold the conversation with Andy which really annoyed me because he mainly liked to discuss how his work simply could not function without him. I put the negative feeling about the rear seats to the back of my mind, blaming it on my discomfort at being in a confined space with Andy the mouth-breather while Mum watched on, knowing how I’d be feeling and doing nothing to be of any help.
Mum did not come home that night. I wasn’t worried about her; she often left us in to fend for ourselves so I made my 13 year old brother some dinner and we settled down to a charming evening uninterrupted by the rhythmic banging of our Mum being pounded above our heads.
When Mum eventually called me to pick her up from Andy’s the following day the conversation was like speaking to a teenager. It was then it dawned on me that our dynamic had shifted; I had become the mother, parenting both her and my little brother. She had regressed into a sub-adult with wrinkles round her eyes but a vagina rejuvenated with the newfound fervour of life. She was continually giggling, ‘Stop it James!’ and ‘….sorry…I didn’t hear you, I’m being distracted!’ This pissed me right off – she was making a buffoon of herself and it was cringing me out. I remained silent on the line and she could obviously sense my judgement as her next words were ‘Oh stop being so uptight and judgemental! Just because you can’t find a man, doesn’t mean we all have to die a spinster. I’ll see you in a minute – ring me when you’re outside.’ She was showing off for her penis endowed audience and doing it at my expense. And just like that, she hung up on me for one last round of coitus with James.
The journey home was frosty – from my end. She was like information vomit spouting chunk after chunk of uncensored detail in my face as I chauffeured her home.
‘So, we had sex on his little sister’s trampoline. If you’ve never done that, it’s a must!’ Of course I haven’t done that, Mother – I haven’t allowed anyone to touch me in years, I’m certainly not bouncing my flaps off elasticated plastic with some ignoramus who thinks it’s appropriate to copulate with a pensioner on a minor’s toys. I only said this in my head, though – I wouldn’t dare say it aloud or the lash of her evil tongue would smite me hard and fast. Her hurtful words were of no consequence to me; what concerned me was my own retaliation because, when it came, it would be venomous, smoking and ripping with malevolence and revulsion spawned from a lifetime of feeling hard done-by.
‘…And you might want to valet your back seats. James fingered me yesterday while you were driving us.’ It took a minute for the words to sink in. Sorry, what the actual fuck? I slid my eyes reluctantly toward her, sitting there smugly to my left in yesterday’s clothes with a wry smile on her thin lips; obnoxious, immoral and disgusting. To top it off, she genuinely thought I’d be impressed…or maybe jealous. Either way, she got the guiding emotional reaction I felt woefully wrong – I was horrified. How could she possibly think that was something to be proud of?
She has done many things over the years to chip away at any respect I have for her but that knocked down a significant amount in one swoop. I felt really betrayed. It was such a small thing to her but it made me feel like a chump – I was ferrying her around at her whim and she thought it was suitable and moral to allow some guy to sneak his digits into her cotton-blend pants and pleasure her while they both feigned total innocence. She made me feel sick but I somehow remained silent; I didn’t know what to say to her and I worried if I opened my mouth I’d projectile vomit all over poor, innocent Suki. Unfortunately, Mum knew me well enough to know I turned my nose up at her sexual divulgences and I think, just maybe, she felt a pang of embarrassment because I hadn’t congratulated her on having her clitoris indexed so she followed the confession quickly with her typical defensive drivel.
‘You’re such a prude! Lighten up – I’m a woman with needs. If you stay this frigid and cold, looking down your nose on everyone, no one will ever want you. One day I’d love to see you with a James or someone lovely like that but if you carry on the way you’re going you’ll be alone with a dried up fanny for the rest of your days.’ Cool, Mum. Nice. Classy!
I doubt she remembers any of this even happened – she would remember James for certain. But the fingering in the car, the fucking on the trampoline, the associated rebuke of her daughter…that will have slipped her memory like grease off a pan – this conveniently happens with Mum when she makes decisions that others would deem detrimental to the safety or mental health of her dependents. The incident solidified further my resentment towards her and stood as testimony to the sad fact that while I understood my psyche and acted to protect myself, she actively put me in the line of fire without second thought. I suddenly felt really alone in the world. True to form, the scenario didn’t knock me down for too long as I knew the tables would soon turn and she would end up discarded and forsaken by this new Lothario. Sure enough, not so long after the Suzuki finger-blast, James stopped coming over, stopped texting her and dried up all contact. Gleeful, I buried my nose into the depths of Wuthering Heights and let Hurricane Mum blow over. Broken-hearted for the umpteenth time, she went on the Special K diet and threw herself back into concentrating on her core skill – being the dog-shit on the shoe of my life.

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