CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
© By Stacey McCoy
I wasn’t able to be by my husband’s side the moment he died.
But she was.
I remember kissing him goodbye as I declined his offer to head off in the truck with him that day. It was one of those short little pecks on the cheek that don’t really mean much, they just become habit after years spent happily married. Sam knew I loved him, I just wish I had told him that day.
My late husband was taking a load of grain to the mill when the brakes on the truck failed. She was travelling towards him in her car with her three children when he made the decision that would save their lives, but ultimately cost him his. A corner was fast approaching and even though she may have had the sun in her eyes Sam knew there wasn’t enough room for the both of them.
Maybe if she’d pulled off the road more Sam may have made the turn.
Instead, Sam drove his truck into a tree to avoid hitting them, once he realised he was driving a forty-tonne out-of-control bullet.
If she hadn’t been there at that moment in time he could have steered the truck across the road through a fence and into a paddock filled with smaller trees which may have eventually stopped the semi, and most likely saved his life.
Fate had other plans for us that day.
The worst part is, when I did arrive on the scene I was told by a police officer that I was too late.
Sam was dead.
I was held back as the officer told me I would be better off remembering Sam the way he was the last time I’d seen him, rather than have the memory of his death mask, scarring me for life. Filled with disbelief, I watched as she walked away from my husband’s smashed up truck aided by another officer as I collapsed helpless and scared on the blue gravel road.
She had been there.
I had not.
And now Sam is dead.
Feeling immediately lonely, beyond cheated and fiercely angry I was left with the thankless task of telling our children their father was no longer with us. I’ll never forget how their little faces filled with terror, anger and sadness when I said ‘Daddy’s gone.’ I was then forced to watch them die inside as feelings and emotions no 8 and 6 year old should ever have to experience consumed them. I’ll never forgive the woman who caused my children and me such extreme heartache.
None of the locals know who she was, and I don’t care to know her name, but her face remains etched in my nightmares.
She got to be with Sam when he died. She helped cause his death and she stole from me my husband’s precious last words.
It’s been nearly a year now without my husband by my side. Our children Ashley, now 9 and Aiden, 7 are my only reason to live. If you call this living.
My days don’t mean much, they all roll into one. I work, delivering farm merchandise. The kids go to school. We eat. We sleep. Me barely. Then we get up and do it all again. I think I’ve mentally blocked out the first few months of hell we went through after Sam’s death. I know I was a complete basket case, who wouldn’t be? But I like to think I’ve been able to pull myself together a bit since then. I’ve had to, for Ash and Aiden’s sake.
I miss Sam. I miss his smile. I miss his strong, sure embrace. I miss holding his hand.
These last few months I’ve missed Sam on a more physical level. I miss our intimacy.
I want to feel hot calloused hands all over my body again. I want to feel the two day’s growth on a man’s face tickle my neck. I want to be physically and emotionally involved with someone again, but who am I kidding? I’m a widowed mother of two in her late thirties. It’s not an appealing profile for any man to want to respond to. Besides, I hate the whole internet dating thing. I’d much rather meet someone at a bar or in a supermarket, then I’d be able to gauge who they really are rather than waste my time deciphering what their answers to their profile questions really mean.
And seriously, what the hell am I supposed to say to a guy? Do I start a conversation with “Hi, I’m Kat. I’m a widowed mother of two who wants to have sex with you.” I don’t think that’ll get me too far.
The thing that really worries me, even if I were to meet the man of my dreams, is: when would be the right time to introduce him to the kids? And how would they react? And besides, I’m not ready to talk to them about their future, and at this stage, imaginary daddy just yet. God, what would my friends and family think? I’m scared to talk to anyone about my needs as a woman, because I’m scared they will judge me. Maybe a year isn’t long enough. Maybe they’ll think I never truly loved Sam if I’m willing to bring home another guy. It’s not like I’d bring any old guy home. He’d have to be pretty bloody perfect.
He’d have to be like Sam.
Anyway it’s all just a nice little daydream of mine. I’m not about to upset my kids and my life for some random hook-up,no matter how lonely I am.
Right now though, I’ve got bigger things to worry about.
Today is my 37th birthday. My first without Sam.
Being a Saturday my alarm remains silent, yet my body clock and my kids give me my usual weekend wake up call.
Ashley and Aiden come running into my room and jump on me, screaming, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM.”
My children present me with cards they have made. They’re beautiful. So heartfelt. Then Ashley pulls something else out of the bag and says, “Here Mum, I found this for you.”
“Where did you find this sweetie?” I take the envelope she’s holding and turn it over in my hand. I recognise the hand writing immediately. It’s a card from Sam. My heart plummets as tears well in my eyes.
“Daddy asked me to hide it in my room for you last year, but I forgot to give it to you,” says Ashley. She notices my tears, but her smile doesn’t fade the way mine does.
Sam used to always hide birthday cards and presents for me in the kids’ rooms. His theory was, if he gave them the card or present to hide then only they would know where to find it again and therefore I wouldn’t find it. Whenever the kids had hidden other objects we were never able to find them, but they knew where to look because it made perfect sense to put the TV remote under the seat of Aiden’s ride-on truck. Honestly, why didn’t I think to look there?
To see tears in my eyes makes Aiden sad and he too begins to cry. He’s more in tune with his emotions than other boys his age. I suppose that’s because most other boys his age haven’t lost their father.
Ashley doesn’t like that we’re now both crying so it takes all of a second for her to join us. We lay in bed and cry together for a while. Not a good start to a happy day, I tell myself
I can’t open the card yet. Even though it was meant for last year’s birthday I know it will break me to read it and I’m not strong enough to expose myself like that in front of the kids yet, so I tuck it under my pillow and get up.
The kids help me make breakfast and I open the presents they have given me.
“When did you two have time to go shopping?” I ask as my morning brain plays catch up and becomes aware that Ash and Aiden are much too young to go shopping on their own and there’s nowhere close by for them to shop around here anyway.
“Aunt Josie took us last school holidays,” Aiden tells me.
“Ahh that makes sense. Thank you, both of you.”
My sister, Josie, is so thoughtful. She’s always one step ahead. Ashley has given me a beautiful necklace with a huge coloured studded heart hanging from a gold chain. It sounds out there, but it’s actually very now. I love it. Aiden has given me some gardening gloves and a can of Mozzie repellent. He’s a practical man, just like his father. “No point spending money on crap if you can spend money on something that will be useful,” Sam used to say. It only took Sam six years to instill the same way of thinking into our son. Maybe it’s a genetic trait.
Aiden knows I like to garden and he knows the mozzies love me. I love his gift too. I thank my children with the biggest kisses and cuddles I can muster and we tuck into our brekkie.
Suddenly the phone rings. Caller ID lets me know it’s my always upbeat friend, Alex. I greet my friend the same way I always do, “Hey girlfriend, what’s up?”
“Hi ya love, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Are you okay?”
One second her voice is soprano high the next contralto low. I can’t help but laugh.
“I’m fine thank you. The kids and I are just having breakfast and I have received some beautiful and thoughtful presents.”
“That’s great. Sooo…do you think Ash and Aiden would mind if you dropped them off somewhere for a couple of nights?”
“Why? What are you up to young lady?”
Most of my friends are younger than me. They make me feel young. I love it.
“Well the girls and I are kidnapping you and taking you to Melbourne for a girls’ weekend. We’ll be back sometime Monday. You up for it?”
Being stuck in a serious state of depression this last year has taken its toll on me. I know I haven’t been much of a friend to the girls lately, and they’ve obviously gone to great lengths to organise this for me so I appreciate them dearly for it.
The city lights might be the change of scenery I need. These wide open spaces out here used to make me feel free and released. This last year though, the vast expanses has made me feel lonely and isolated.
“Hell yes I’m up for it.” I’m so happy to hear Alex’s plans for the weekend. I think it’s time I got out of the house and kicked up my heels. “Have you organised accommodation yet?”
Alex is a fly by the seat of your pants kind of gal. I have no doubt that a few of the other girls only found out about this little trip yesterday. Me, I prefer to be a lot more organised. I’d have this whole thing booked and sorted weeks ago.
“Nup not yet, just figured we’d wing it. I mean the city is a big place, we’re bound to find a room somewhere, right?”
Can’t argue with that logic I guess.
“Alex, a weekend away sounds perfect. It gets me out of here and maybe out of my own thoughts for a while. Leave the accommodation to me, there’s somewhere I have always wanted to stay, but never had the opportunity to. This would be the perfect occasion.”
I’m thankful I decided to hit the hay early last night though because if I’m to spend a weekend away with the girls I’ll need all the energy I can get.
“Okay, whatever. I’ll leave it with you and see you in an hour.”
We say goodbye then I ring my sister and ask her if she’d be able to have the kids for a couple of days. It’s not a problem. It’s never a problem. She’s always been there for me and I appreciate her dearly for it. Ash and Aiden overhear my conversation with Josie and run to their rooms so they can pack their clothes and other prized possessions they’ll surely need. I know my kids love me, but they can’t wait for a two night sleep over at Aunty Josie’s.
The kids need time off the farm too sometimes. I mean don’t get me wrong we love this lifestyle. Nothing could ever make us sell up and leave. Not even Sam’s death.
It’s hard running a farm on your own though, but luckily we haven’t really had to. Johnno, my dearest friend Simone’s husband, and Sam’s best mate, has practically been managing the place for us this last year. He’s an amazing man, but running two farms and losing his best mate has been hard on him too, although we seem to be helping each other through it all.
Man, the girls will be here in less than an hour! That doesn’t give me much time. First I double check what the kids have packed for themselves. Ashley has forgotten to pack her underwear and Aiden has forgotten to pack any pants or shorts. They’ll get better at packing as they get older. Right now though I’m just glad they still need me.
Time to pack for myself. I pop Sam’s card in the side pocket of my suitcase. I’m not sure why.
I have no idea what we’re going to be doing in the city so I send a quick text to Simone in the hope of a quick response. “Thanks for the heads up MATE. Now what the hell do I need to pack?”
Sim texts back straight away. “You’ll need comfy shoes for shopping all day, killer heels for dancing all night and your best MILF outfit.”
Okay, now I’m worried. What the hell kind of outfit is a MILF outfit. Then I remember what MILF stands for. (Mum I’d like to fuck)
Oh my god I think the girls want to set me up and get me laid tonight. I suppose that wouldn’t be too bad, after all I am willing to have sex again - more than willing actually.
The possibilities of the night ahead dance around in my mind. My libido certainly is keen for a night of fun although it might be a struggle to keep her in her box once I get a few drinks into me. I’ll just need to try and stay a ‘happy drunk’ not an ‘I’ll take whatever I can get drunk.’ Besides I’m not desperate after all. Am I?
I wonder if the girls have had discussions behind my back about my sex life, or lack of it. Not that that would worry me, it’s just, I’ve been scared to broach the subject with any of them in case they think I want to be in a new relationship too soon and therefore they’d think I was in a hurry to forget Sam. Maybe my time spent grieving for Sam hasn’t been quite long enough. I realise I’d be happy just to be able to fuck a man and fuck him hard. To be able to have an orgasm with the help of a real penis would be something I’d just about kill for at this stage.
I decide to pack my black halter neck top with a low back and a small cut-out in the front which shows a little cleavage and a peach coloured tight short skirt to wear out tonight. I can’t wear very high heels as my balance is seriously limited when it comes to walking in them, so if we’re going to be shopping all the next day I can’t afford for my neck to be broken in three places. If I’m drinking and wearing heels; I’m an accident waiting to happen. I pack my simple black flats which have a little sparkle about them and a nice dress jacket so I can cover up just in case I feel too old for wherever we’ll end up. After all I don’t want to look like I’m trying too hard to impress the opposite sex.
Now I’ll book the accommodation. I can’t wait to see the look on the girls’ faces when they see where we’ll be staying.
I text Simone back, “Who’s coming along for this trip mate?”
She sends me the list of names. There will be seven of us including me which is great, but I notice there’s one friend who’s not on the list who I would dearly love to have along, so I call her to see what’s going on.
Maddie sees it’s me calling and says croakily, “Hey sweetie, Happy Birthday.”
“Thanks babe. You sound terrible, what’s wrong?” It’s obvious she’s got a cold, but I ask anyway.
“I have the worst head cold flu thingy I’ve ever had in my life so I’m going to quarantine myself until I’m completely over it.”
“Sounds fair enough, but I’ll miss you this weekend. Are the kids and Ben okay?” I find myself pacing in the lounge room by the window watching for signs of dust being kicked up into the air by an oncoming car. I’m struggling to contain my excitement although I need to be nothing but compassionate as I speak to Maddie on the phone.
“Yeah so far so good, but I bet you ten bucks they’ll all come down with it next week. What’s the go anyway? I got a short quickly worded voicemail from Alex yesterday, but I couldn’t quite make it out. My ears are blocked and she was talking that damn fast.”
Figures. I knew she wouldn’t have given anyone much time to get organised, but I now realise six of my friends have dropped everything for me this weekend and my heart warms knowing that.
“We’re off to Melbourne and we need to dress up like sluts from what I’ve been told.”
“Oh damn. Sounds like a great weekend.”
Maddie knows I don’t mean that we’ll literally dress like two dollar hookers. What I mean is we’re going to get all dressed up, hit the town and probably pull an all-nighter, as it’s happened a few times before. Poor Maddie’s annoyed she’ll miss out, but she’s also too crook to care. I hope her premonition for the following week doesn’t come true.
I tell her I hope she gets better soon and we say our goodbyes, and she wishes me luck. It seems like a strange thing for her to say. The hair on the back of my neck pricks up. What have these girls got planned this weekend? I have a funny feeling Maddie might know something that I don’t, but the thought passes as quickly as it came.
As promised the girls rock up in two cars an hour later and we’re off. We drop my beautiful children off at my sister’s place on the way. She only lives about half an hour away so it’s not long until I’m screaming my goodbyes out the window to Ash, Aiden, Josie and her daughter, my beautiful niece, Beth.
The car trip down is half the fun. We have UHF radios set on the same channel so we can talk to each other all the way, but we still make several stops so we can swap seats. We have music blaring, eighties classics, drinks are flowing and we talk girl talk for the entire trip.
Alex asks me a question via the radio. She’s done this so everyone can hear my response, “So Kat do you feel like you might get lucky tonight?”
My reply is a little loose considering I’ve had a few drinks now, but I tell the girls, “If the right man were to make the first move I’d consider it.”
Then Alex says, “Give it to her now girls.”
Give me what I wonder. Then I have a small package placed on my lap. My heart melts.
“Aww thanks girls. You didn’t need to get me a present; you’re already taking me away for the weekend.” I open the gift.
The little buggers have bought me a packet of extra-large condoms. They’re in fits of laughter. My face has gone bright red, but I can’t stay mad for long. Actually I don’t think I ever felt mad. My first thought was, ‘I wonder if any guy actually needs the extra-large size.’ Then I blush and realise maybe they all think it’s time I got back on that horse, so to speak. I relax back into my seat, crack open another stubby and ponder the possibilities of the night ahead.
As we get closer to the city I start yelling directions via the radio to the girls in the front car to get us to my chosen accommodation’s location. We pull up out front of the Casino. The girls are shocked, but so excited. I love that I can do this for all of us. Even though it costs a small fortune it’s money well spent I think. Sam wouldn’t think so. Farmers tend to be a little tight with their money, and so they should be they work to damn hard to earn it. This would be considered an unnecessary expense in Sam’s eyes, therefore we never stayed anywhere that was more than three and a half stars. This is as much a treat for me as it is for my friends.
Our cars are parked by the valet while we enter the rather decadent foyer. When I approach the reservations counter and state my name I’m given our room keys and told champagne and strawberries awaits us in our rooms.
“Geez Kat what kind of room have you booked for us?” asks Alex.
“Only the best for my nearest and dearest,” I say.
We follow the porter to our rooms, which are everything I dreamed they would be. We have two luxury suites opposite each other. We can sleep four in each suite so the girls and I split up. Chrissy and Alex are in with me. Simone, Danny, Jess and Mel are in the suite on the other side of the hall.
The rooms are immaculate. They’re not the most expensive rooms in the complex, but the chic surrounds make me feel slightly like a fish out of water. The carpets are plush and light cream in colour. The walls are also light, creating a feeling of space and tranquillity. The outside wall is floor to ceiling tinted windows, leaving us with an uninterrupted view of the city below and beyond. The lounge suites look so inviting and the room smells fresh, like rain. There is a huge flat screen TV mounted on the wall with a mini bar and shelves below it. A small office space occupies the far corner of the room.
Making my way into one of the bedrooms I find a rather inviting king size bed. The room is styled simply, yet elegantly. There’s a soft throw rug sprawled along the bottom of the bed and one decorative cushion is enough to highlight the massive headboard which supports the bed itself. There’s an ensuite with a huge clear glass window joining the bathroom to the bedroom. I can see that the shower is a double-headed shower and the bath looks to be big enough for two. The benches and basins are white marble with striking dark grey lines stroked through them like veins. The room is filled with the best lotions and toiletries any weary traveler would expect to find in a room of this level of luxury.
I notice then that the porter has followed me into the bedroom. He’s not a bad looking guy, but I reckon if I pull out all my moves I could do better than him. Then I realise he’s simply after his tip. I give him a five dollar note and thank him for his assistance. He looks at it like it’s a cold meat pie. He turns to leave. I let him. It would have been even more embarrassing to stop him and then offer him more money, so I’ll notch this one up as a lesson learned and I’ll know to give a bigger tip next time.
The girls decide that I can have the king sized bed, just in case I have company later. I hope I do because I already feel so alone in my queen bed at home.
Once we’ve unpacked and settled in, we meet in my room, crack open the champagne and eat all of the strawberries. The music is blaring and we’re all singing, dancing and jumping on the kingsize bed. I feel like I’m in my twenties again.
It’s confronting to feel so happy, so much so that I suddenly find myself crying. The music is turned off and I’m surrounded by my friends. They don’t even need to ask me why I’m crying, they already understand.
After what seems like ages I ask Simone to grab my suitcase. I pull the card from Sam out of the side pocket and I ask her to read it.
“Kat, are you sure you want me to read this?” Simone recognises Sam’s handwriting and she knows this will be a personal message.
“You better because my eyes are so swollen right now there’s no way I’m going to be able to read it.”
Alex whispers, “What is it?”
“It’s a card from Sam. Obviously he was supposed to give it to me last year, but he and the kids must’ve forgotten all about it. I remember Sam was carting extra loads of water to stock before daybreak each morning at the time, thanks to the drought. Anyway, Ash found it this morning.”
“Oh man that’s heavy,” Alex says.
We all sit on the end of the bed as Simone kneels before me and begins to open the sealed envelope. I feel like everyone is holding their breath then I realise, I am too.
Simone begins to read,
“To my darling wife,
I know I tell you every day that I love you, but I
sometimes feel that I just can’t express it enough.
You are the air that I breathe, your smile warms my
soul, your love keeps my heart beating for you, only
I’m proud to be your husband and the father to our
beautiful children. I don’t know what I ever did to
deserve you, but I’m so thankful to have you as my
wife. I am one lucky bugger.
I will love you more and more every day.
Happy Birthday sweetheart,
Sam always had a way with words. He’d never say all of that out loud, but the fact that he could take the time to sit down and put all of his feelings and emotions on paper meant the world to me. How could I ever love another man the way I loved Sam? How could I expect anyone else to ever love me with so much passion and devotion?
It’s been almost a year since we’ve all cried together like this. We sit huddled in a tight ball, our eyes filled with tears until Alex says, “Righto. Well while this has been…necessary, there are clubs and bars and men downstairs waiting just for us, so let’s get cleaned up and hit this town!”
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