Emily paused at the bakery section of the supermarket. They’d arrived back from their holiday the day before, and she’d only been able to unearth an unappetising frozen lasagne for dinner. Now she was piling the trolley high with fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and eggs and other staples to see them through the next few days. She picked up a pre-sliced, cellophane-wrapped loaf with ‘Happy Bread’ printed on the packaging. As opposed to – Pissed Off Bread? Vaguely Dissatisfied Bread? She chuckled and tossed it in with the other stuff, along with some part-baked baguettes that were always handy in an emergency.
Scratching at her back (Jim had missed a bit with the sun cream, and now she was shedding skin like a snake) she tried – and failed – to push thoughts of the trip to the back of her mind. It hadn’t been a disaster, but her expectations hadn’t been very high in the first place. They’d pretty much done their own thing, which was the pattern of their day-to-day lives, meeting up for meals and talking in that way so many long-married couples do. Skimming the surface of anything important and focusing on the mundane. Long, drawn-out silences as they gazed into space and wondered if there was something, someone better out there.
Standing at the till with her loyalty card at the ready, Emily moved aside to let an old lady with two items in her basket go before her. A pack of probiotic drinks and those terrifying incontinence pads that were marketed as an endearingly useful aid to attractive women who wouldn’t let a little accidental dribble interfere with their busy and fulfilling lives. An odd combination – a healthy gut and an unpredictable bladder? At almost forty-eight, Emily was happy that she had little in the way of medical worries. Her gut was healthy, she had never accidentally peed herself, and her gynaecologist assured her she was in perimenopause. A long word that meant she was heading for the big M but with still a way to go. Her fertility was taking its final bow, the curtain gradually closing on – oh, shit! Emily dropped her card and, reaching to retrieve it, emptied the entire contents of her handbag on the floor. As the leaky bladdered but gut-happy old dear helped her gather together the scattered belongings, she tried to quell the rising panic that rose within her. The one and only night they’d had sex on the holiday they hadn’t used protection. Emily had never taken the pill, hopeful that a baby brother or sister would follow Tabitha. As the months and years passed, with no medical explanation as to why a second child wasn’t on the cards, Emily accepted the situation. By the time she reached her mid-forties they had used condoms, figuring they were too old to embrace parenthood again in the unlikely event that conception ever happened. Not that Durex would be presenting them with a ‘best customer’ award anytime soon. She wouldn’t be surprised if the last purchase wasn’t already past its sell-by date. It was probably languishing in a bedside cabinet, still half full. It certainly hadn’t been packed. More likelihood of being bitten by a rabid dog than needing to guard against pregnancy. Emily looked down at her breasts. Were they bigger? More tender? She gave them a furtive squeeze, prompting an embarrassed cough from the suited gentleman behind her. Get a grip, woman! Not literally – she removed her hands from her chest and smiled winsomely at the man who was now scrutinising the sweets section like a diabetic in need of a fix – but honestly? It had only been a few days since their brief encounter, so any symptoms were unlikely to manifest themselves so quickly.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish