9.34 a.m. Dan and I are having our last romantic stroll along the beach before he has to go to the airport to fly home. I am trying to not get emotional.
The last few days have been heavenly…well almost. I have tried my best to forget about our relationship’s long term future and tell myself that we live too far away to see each other when we get home…..but there have been a few occasions where my frustrations have slipped out.
Ok so everyday since we met I have had some sort of emotional breakdown about us not seeing each other again.
Dan has been really good with me. He’s only told me to pull myself together and stop being moody three…maybe four times.
“So then Roxy Collins,…this is goodbye!” Dan says turning towards me, as I wipe away a sly tear.
“I hate holiday romances!” I croak.
“Come here!” he says and pulls me towards him. I bury my face into his shoulder. Its only a “two hour and twenty three minute journey on a good traffic day” I sob.
He laughs and strokes my hair. “I am not sure long distance relationships work” he says.
“You’ve never tried one with me” I say, before blowing my nose into a bit of tissue.
“I can’t believe a beautiful single woman like you with no ties or commitments doesn’t have a queue of men waiting for you when you get home Roxy!” He twirls a strand of my red hair around his finger.
I have to look away quickly and curse myself for not telling him about my kids and life. There was never a right moment during our holiday romance to tell Dan that I have 3 kids, 2 unhelpful ex-partners and I live in a rough area of town.
“I will miss you Roxy Collins” Dan mumbles before placing a delicate kiss on my lips. Tears stream down my face as I think about not being kissed again by someone as handsome as Dan.
10.56 a.m. I have entered a grieving stage. Dan has left and I am sat on Maggie’s sofa feeling depressed.
Maggie wanders in with her phone.
“I want to go home!” I say to Maggie.
My cousin raises her head and stares at me. “You really liked him didn’t you?”
I nod as more tears pour down my cheeks.
“Are you not going to see him again then?” she asks.
I shake my head.
“Maybe he will get in contact with you when you are home” says Maggie.
I blow my nose loudly. “I don’t think he will Maggie. Its over. I was just a holiday fling!”
“Does he have your contact details back home?” she enquires, coming to sit next to me on the sofa.
I nod. “I didn’t want to come across as a desperate so gave him every method of contact possible; mobile, email, address, work details. Facebook and I invited him to join me on a Pinterest board” I moan.
Maggie gasps and looks at me. “OMG is into Pinterest?”
“Yes he is and his boards are amazing!” I sob, recalling the other morning where we lay in bed and browsed each others pin boards.
“What a guy!” says Maggie shaking her head in amazement.
I let out a howl and start to wail.
“Oh Roxy, I am coming home with you tomorrow” announces Maggie. “I have realised that I love Vince and I want to be with him!”
I try to manage a smile but I can;t think about anyone but Dan.
Maggie continues. “George says he is relieved I am leaving as I was too emotional in the bar.”
“Do you think I was too emotional Roxy?” Maggie asks.
I shake my head and look away.
2.34 P.M. Maggie is guiding me through the airport and telling me to pull myself together. I am a sobbing mess.
The family are waiting for us.
Out of tear filled eyes I can see the family welcoming committee; Maggie’s father Uncle Bob, Great Aunt Vera in her wheelchair, Brian, my landlord, Matilda, my teenage daughter and Vince, Maggie’s fiancé.
Vince has started to sprint towards Maggie with his arms outstretched. She looks delighted to see him.
The sight of two lovers rushing to embrace makes me cry more.
I push our trolley filled with luggage and wipe away tears.
Everyone smiles whilst watching Maggie being lifted into the air by Vince. They then all turn their heads to stare at me.
Matilda says “OMG this is so embarrassing. Look at the state of Mam!”
“Good grief!” croaks Great Aunt Vera looking me up and down.
I am too upset to talk so I stand in front of them.
Great Aunt Vera leans over and gestures to Maggie. “What is the matter with Roxy – has she been drinking again?”
“She’s in love” says Maggie rubbing my shoulder in a sympathetic manner.
“God help us all!” sighs Brian rubbing his bald head whilst looking uncomfortable. He’s experienced my ‘in love’ state before.
“Oh that sounds gross!” says Matilda.
“Thanks for bringing Maggie back” says Uncle Bob, giving me a warm hug.
I try to force a smile and pull myself together. It was just a holiday romance. There is no need for anymore tears.
Sounds of noisy kissing fills the air and everyone turns to see Maggie and Vince locked in a passionate snog. Dan and I kissed like that.
I go back to crying and allow myself to be led away by Brian and Matilda.
2.56 P.M. Brian is at the wheel, Matilda is sat in the back looking fed up and I am staring out of the window.
“Are you going to see him again?” asks Brian.
“It’s over” I whisper looking glumly out of the window.
“Did he know about us kids Mam?” asks Matilda.
I shake my head. Him knowing that I had three kids, two ex-partners and a rubbish job would have killed our holiday love.
My mind recalls the blissful days that we spent together, Dan and I, mostly on that beach… in the darkness…sand was an issue.
I let out a loud sigh as some private memories flood my mind.
4.56 P.M. Sat on the sofa with Toby, my youngest son, who is telling me that Malcolm, his new imaginary friend, doesn’t like Harry, his older brother.
Matilda has a habit of knowing when I am weak and seizing the opportunity to get things agreed. She glides into the room and stands before me smiling. I feel so glum. I miss Dan terribly.
“Mam can I have a party here next weekend?” she says.
In my weakened state I agree to her request.
My life has hit rock bottom. Dan was just a holiday romance.
Matilda is shrieking for joy and at the same time snap chatting all her friends.
6.23 P.M. Shaz appears with emergency bottle of wine for me and a soft drink for her, in light of her pregnancy.
I am crying into my wine glass whilst Shaz shakes her head in disapproval.
“Roxy, you need to snap out of this and move on. It’s over. Let him go” says Shaz kindly refilling my glass.
“I haven’t found anyone like him in a long time Shaz!” I wail staring at one of the many couple selfies we took of each other in Greece.
Dan made me smile, his jokes made me howl with laughter and it felt like there was a real connection between us. He even liked Pinterest. You don’t find that every day on dating apps.
“You will find someone else Roxy” says Shaz leaning over to give me a hug.
I shake my head. I consider having another forced period of dating abstinence. A mourning period for handsome Dan from Manchester.
“Roxy you will find someone, trust me” reassures Shaz.
“I won’t. Who wants to date a single mother with three kids? I am glad I kept all that from him!” I say before blowing my nose on a bit of tissue.
“You didn’t tell him?” asks Shaz.
I shake my head. “I didn’t think he needed to know!”
7.28 P.M. Text on phone makes me stop weeping and check phone screen.
It’s from Dan. Heart stops beating.
It reads ‘do u want to see me again?’
I let out a piercing scream causing Shaz to leap off the sofa in shock and the kids to thunder down the stairs.
Quickly I type ‘YES!’ and press send.
“Has Mam gone nuts Aunty Shaz?” shouts Harry.
“Malcolm says Mam is already nuts” pipes up Toby.
“Aunty Shaz you must come to my party next week, it’s going to be sic” says Matilda making some bizarre hand movement.
There is a text back from Dan. I yelp.
It reads ‘look outside your window’
I am hugging the life out of Dan who is standing by his car, in front of my house.
He has driven for hours just to see me again. How sweet!
We are both crying. Its been too long since we last saw each other (2 days)
Hug has turned into passionate kiss.
Dan breaks for air to point at the faces at the window in my house.
“Is that your family?” he asks looking over my shoulder. I gulp and pretend I haven’t heard him.
Instead I cry harder into his shoulder at the thought of having to explain them all. He will run a mile when he hears all about my emotional baggage.
The front door opens and closes. I look round to see Shaz, my best mate, clad in her fluffy pink maternity tracksuit, coming towards us.
“Is this the famous Dan?” she asks outstretching her hand towards him. “Hi I am Shaz, Roxy’s sister”.
My mouth falls open at the word ‘sister’ and I give her one of my ‘what is going on?’ looks.
Dan grins and shakes her hand warmly. “Nice to meet you Shaz” he says.
“Roxy, can I have a word?” asks Shaz gesturing for me to walk away from Dan.
Shaz leads me away.
At a safe distance I whisper. “Why are you referring to yourself as my sister?”
She grins. “Right then, your kids are ready to negotiate”.
I stare in amazement at her.
“Matilda says she will happily say that I am her mother for the night if you go out next Saturday whilst she has her house party” whispers Shaz, wiping her brow and looking uncomfortable.
“I can’t leave a teenager like Matilda to have a house party on her own!” I hiss, trying to keep my voice down.
“She knew you would say that” says Shaz nodding at me. “She told me to remind you that three kids and two ex-partners can be a new relationship killer” whispers Shaz.
“OMG I can’t do this!” I hiss thinking about all the things that could go wrong if I let my wild teenage daughter have an unsupervised party.
I glance back at handsome Dan with his hands stuffed into his pockets looking all sexy. If he knew about my real life I would never see him again.
“Harry says he will say I am his mother if you buy him a new football and Toby wants Malcolm, the imaginary friend, to have a proper place at the dinner table” whispers Shaz.
I rub my temples and weigh up the situation.
“It’s a tough one for you Roxy” says Shaz patting me on the shoulder.
I glance at the living room window. The boys are frantically nodding and giving me a thumbs up whilst Matilda is grinning at me.
Dan forces the issue. “Roxy are you ok?” he asks making me whirl round.
“Yes she’s fine” says Shaz nudging me.
I look back at the window and then at Dan. Its now or never. I nudge Shaz.
“Right I am off to take my kids home” says Shaz.
“Wow they are all yours!” exclaims Dan looking at the row of faces at the window and then at her bump.
Shaz smiles and gives her bump a pat. “This is the postman’s” she says smiling. “He made a special delivery one afternoon!”
Dan laughs. He thinks she’s joking.
Shaz is leading the kids down the path towards us, en route to her flat.
Matilda winks at me and shouts “bye Aunty Roxy, lets go home Mamma!” before slapping Shaz on the back. This causes Shaz to whirl round and scowl.
Harry grins and says “I can’t wait for my new football Aunty Roxy!”
Toby frowns at me and says “Malcolm is looking forward to tea times”.
As they all trot off after Shaz I sigh loudly. I have survived the kids issue. Now a night of passion with Dan awaits me.
7.46 P.M. In life when you solve one problem another one pops up almost instantaneously.
Dan puts his arms around me and whispers “I can’t wait to see inside your house”.
The house. Gasp! My ‘single woman’ house which contains two kids bedrooms, toys littered throughout, kids clothes everywhere, photos on the walls of us all and kids shampoo in the bathroom.
7. 47 P.M. Dan is driving us to the local Indian restaurant, whilst I frantically text Shaz about the house issue.
Me: ‘Help – the house contains kids toys and stuff. He thinks I am single and you are the mother of my kids’.
Shaz: ‘I am looking after your kids for ANOTHER night. I am NOT clearing your house’
Me: Help! I love him’.
Shaz: ‘Tell him the kids and I stay over a lot at your house. You are the kind spinster aunt!”
Shaz: ‘Everyone loves a kind spinster aunt. Makes you look like you have a caring side. Men love that stuff!”
8.30 P.M. Dan and I are gazing into each other’s eyes over a Chicken Tikka Massala and a Vindaloo.
“Are you glad I came down?” asks Dan.
“Oh yes” I gush, feeling light headed.
“Shall we try and make this work?” he asks with his sexy twinkling blue eyes.
“Oh yes” I gush feeling a warm tingling feeling spread over my body. He is so handsome.
“If this is going to work we have to be honest with each other” Dan says breaking off a piece of nan bread.
“Erm…yes I love honesty” I mutter. Warm tingling feeling of arousal is replaced with nausea. Try not to think about the big fat lie I have told about my life.
He has just fed me a huge mouthful of curry. In my experience men only make this romantic gesture when they have something earthshattering to say.
Jon, me ex-partner, did exactly the same to me when he confessed he was gay. I had to wrestle with a giant piece of meat pie and the news that my partner (and father to my child) had feelings for a butcher called Paul.
“Roxy, I have something to say” says Dan looking serious. “I have kids from a previous relationship”
I erupt into a huge coughing fit. He has kids. I have kids. He has been truthful and I have told a lie plus my family were happy to carry off the lie.
He offers me a glass of water as I try not to choke on the food in my mouth and make a mess.
“They are good kids” he says. “Actually they are not kids anymore, they are twin teenage boys”.
The mention of ‘twin teenage boys’ makes Matilda’s face appear in my mind and I grimace.
This situation. is getting worse.
I refuse the water and drain my wine glass.
It’s now or never. I have to come clean and tell him the truth.
In life I love the way some decisions are made for you. I hear Rob, my ex partner’s dulcet tones “oh look its Roxy!”
I groan and turn around to see a grinning drunken Rob with his best mate Reggie coming towards us.
Rob offers to shake Dan’s hand and says “I am Rob, Roxy’s ex partner and the boy’s dad”
Rob is distracted by some more of his friends coming into the Indian restaurant.
Dan leans over to me and whispers “wow you and your sister Shaz must be so close!”