1 February 2017
Today is my birthday. Forty bloody years of age. How on earth did that happen so swiftly? Well, I guess forty is as good an age as any to start a diary, right? Birthdays remind me of mirrors. Why you ask? One word … reflection. Birthdays are always responsible for making you stop and have a long hard think about what you have achieved since your last. Now let me see, what have I achieved in my life so far? I got hitched, I got ditched, and I now live with a witch. Not much to be as proud as punch about, now is it?
My woeful world began to fall apart precisely one year ago today, on my birthday of all days. I discovered my husband in bed with another woman, and my faith in the male of the species came to an abrupt end. My best friend, Heather, announced that she was engaged. And I realised that I really had to lay off the Tim Tams as my body shape was starting to resemble Fat Bastard from Austin Powers.
In hindsight, I should have sprinted down the street away from marriage like a hormone-driven premenstrual woman seeking a rather large bar of chocolate, but instead I married Matt. ‘Good old Matt’ my mother used to screech at me with her most unsettling voice that sounded somewhat like a banshee on heat. ‘Good old Matt, I knew from the moment you first held his hand at preschool that the two of you would get married’. If only my mother knew where those grubby little boy’s hands would end up, she may not have placed her opinion of him so high on that virtual pedestal of building blocks.
I never had an overwhelming desire to get married and always felt pushed—or should I say shoved—into it by my well-meaning yet meddling mother. I have always admired her faith in the institution we call marriage. I have never been quite able to get my head around it, though, considering my own parents’ marriage also crashed and burned in a spectacularly painful fashion due to betrayal.
It is nothing short of a miracle that Heather’s parents have stayed together all these years. Let’s just say that Heather’s mother, Marie, is a shameless, cradle-snatching flirt and often makes a downright fool of herself when let out of the house. Marie will happily chase after any young thing that possesses an Adam’s apple and a heartbeat. Marie is your stereotypical mutton dressed as lamb.
I suppose I should introduce myself. My loving parents gave me a pretty standard Christian name. Kate. My surname? Cutta. Just as well I have never suffered from a debilitating stutter. I should have known when I thrust my love and trust upon one Mr Matt Bollsoff there was going to be trouble. As I have always been fiercely independent, I had always remained adamant that I would keep my name along with Matt’s. So yes, you guessed it, with our hyphenated surnames I then became Mrs Kate Cutta-Bollsoff. That sounds about as classy as a beer-swigging Bogan stumbling down the red carpet at The Logies.
Now, having grown up in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire and moving to the western suburbs, I know how to spot a Bogan. My mother was mortified when I moved out west. She rang me three times in the first week to ask me if I was OK. I answered with ‘Yes, Mum, I’m fine, I haven’t broken out in hives just yet’.
So, who is this witch of whom I speak so fondly? That witch would be my darling daughter, Heidi. This charming fourteen-year-old offspring that shares my humble abode is one very strange being indeed. It seems she has been lured into some kind of dark cult at school.
It’s not very surprising really. Heidi has always been a little, shall we say, unusual, preferring The Garbage Pail Kids over The Cabbage Patch Kids for Christmas. Her hair has recently been dyed jet black with what can only be described as stripes of deep blood red desired by a ravenous vampire. Heidi was blessed with my glossy dark brown hair, but evidently this shade was not dark enough.
I clearly remember Heidi’s seventh birthday. I had bought her the new princess Barbie doll. It was all the rage with little girls everywhere at the time. She removed the pretty pink wrapping paper faster than a new bride’s lingerie on her wedding night and looked at me as if to say, ‘What the hell is this rubbish?’ The doll was then turned into a zombie bride with her elegant dress being promptly torn into shreds.
She proceeded to make an outrageous veil out of the skirt, splashed red food dye all down the front of the whole ensemble, and topped her creepy creation off by adding a nose piercing, a rusted safety pin from my sewing box. If Monster High Dolls were around in those days, it would have made the gift giving so much easier. It was like living in the house with Frankenstein’s bride, and it was mentally exhausting. Not much has changed.
To rub salt into my already fresh wounds, Heather is getting married in just three short weeks to Josh, and she has asked me to be her matron of honour. She will be married on the last day of the month. It’s a bit odd getting married on a Tuesday, but Heather has always liked to be different. Josh is one of Matt’s oldest and closest friends. May I add that Matt is now going out with Rachel, Josh’s little sister? I have never liked her. Lucky me! Yes, Rachel was the woman I found in bed with my husband this time last year. It hasn’t done much for my self-esteem as Rachel has always been tall, slim, and blonde, while I am a clumsy, frumpy brunette with thunder thighs.
I have always been fond of Josh, however. It seems I have been partnered with Josh’s geek of a younger brother, Andrew, for the wedding. Andrew is not my type. He is the type of guy I would normally avoid like a sensible person would a big hairy spider.
The wedding! I know! I know! Six months ago, I stood on my evil bathroom scales weeping like a grief-stricken widow and vowed to lose at least fifteen kilos before the wedding, and yet this morning those disgusting digital scales of disappointment informed me that I am now eight kilos heavier than I was when I made that vow. I had a dream last night that I weighed myself and the scales screamed, ‘One at a time please’. The diet starts tomorrow!
It would be a sure thing to put your money on my journey to flab free and fabulous being sadly sabotaged by the humble cocoa bean. My name is Kate … it has been four hours since my last hit … I am a chocoholic. Step away from the fridge, Kate … step away from the fridge. I am not a fan of dark chocolate, and I hate coconut, but if a Cherry Ripe was the only chocolate bar left in the house, I would fight you for it with ‘Eye of the Tiger’ playing loudly in my head. Rocky Balboa, eat your heart out.
Oh god no, then there is the landscaping that must be done in preparation for the wedding. You know what I am talking about, the plucking, waxing, and pruning. My luscious lady garden looks like no one has lived in the house for years, and there could very well be a large family of pixies living in the grass. Oh well, I can probably put the pain and torture of that little adventure off for another couple of weeks as it does not look like a for lease sign is being erected anytime soon.
Luckily for me, I have always been able to laugh at myself. I have a pretty good sense of humour. In my line of work, it is a requirement of the job in order to survive. I am a nurse, and we are all sick and twisted whilst being able to remain professional and caring when it counts. Don’t think we do not have a good chuckle at your misfortune behind your back. I shed that clichéd image of white fluffy angel wings and a glowing gold halo many years ago.
I consider myself to be a resilient type of person in a delightful, somewhat pessimistic kind of way. Nurses are like that you know. My glass is always half empty, but on the bright side, it’s usually half full of alcohol. February is going to be interesting to say the least. This month I must survive multiple dress fittings, a fellow bridesmaid from hell, a cat show, a kitchen tea, a hens’ weekend, a child’s birthday party, preparing to move house, Valentine’s Day, my family, multiple attempts at dieting and exercise, dancing lessons, and my best friend’s wedding.
There are really only two things in this world that have the agonising ability to scare the pants off me. They are marriage and spiders. Oh wait … make that three things. I better go and face the third traumatising terror. Birthdays! I just need to make it out the other side of February without losing my marbles in the playground that is my current mindset. Did I mention that I do not cope well with the heat? And thank the powers that be it isn’t a leap year.
Unpublished work (c) Hayley Walsh Jan 2020