Welcome to the Diary of Roxy Collins – The Serious Relationship Series.
Every Thursday you can read Roxy’s latest diary entry.
What has happened so far?
Roxy, a thirty something, single mother of three spirited children, is looking for love and wants to find someone who will accept her chaotic life and crazy ways.
She’s not had much luck with men. Her first partner, Jon, informed her he was gay, whilst she was pregnant with Matilda. Her second partner, Rob, father to Harry and Toby, ran off with the local barmaid, leaving her destitute with three children. Luckily Brian, her 68-year-old landlord and emotional rock in life let her rent his late mother’s house.
Roxy is currently pregnant with her fourth child to boyfriend, Marcus. They finally got together after a series of communication mishaps and situations fuelled by Roxy’s runaway emotions.
Roxy and her kids have moved into Marcus’s big house on the posh side of town.
Last week Roxy got told she was being made redundant.
“Shaz has bought a beauty salon?”
Marcus stares at me, with a look of surprise.
I rang him straightaway after Martin, my boss, told me the firm was relocating to Scotland.
What I didn’t tell Marcus was Shaz’s offer of a job at the new beauty salon. I decided to keep this a secret for a few days. There are some things in life which you need to work through yourself, before hearing your partner’s view.
So, in between weeping about my job relocating to Scotland, cursing myself for being unable to drink at the final staff farewell party and worrying about the unthinkable – having to rely on Marcus financially, I have been considering working for Shaz.
After a lot of thought I have decided to talk to Marcus about it.
“Will it be just you and Shaz working at this salon?”
I shake my head. “Orange Lorna wants to give customers fake tans and Useful Kim is going to provide the beauty products.”
Marcus looks uncomfortable. “Your orange friend is going to give customers fake tans and your ex convict friend is selling beauty products? Roxy, has Shaz thought this through?”
I nod. “Shaz reckons this could be the start of something big.”
“Where is this salon?” He has put down his iPad and is frowning at me.
Before I answer him I settle my son Harry into the kitchen chair, ready for his new haircut. My trusted hair clippers are going to give him a trendy buzz cut.
“It’s near where I used to live. On the high street next to the taxi rank and the kebab shop.”
Marcus shakes his head. “Isn’t that in the rough end of town?”
I take a deep breath. Things are going to get awkward. Marcus dislikes the area where I rented Brian’s house.
“Mam,” pipes up Harry. “Can you do me a Mohican for a laugh?”
“Before I shave it all off you mean?”
Harry nods. “I want to see what it looks like.”
I stroke Harry’s mop of red hair. “You can have a Mohican but it is going to be cut off later today. There is no way you are going to school on Monday with it.”
Marcus clears his throat to get back my attention. “I’m not sure I want you working at Shaz’s salon in that part of town.”
I roll my eyes at him. “I don’t mind the rough end of town, in fact I miss it.”
When I was living in Brian’s rented house all I dreamed about was moving to the posh side of town. But now I find myself longing to go back along my old high street. I miss gossiping with Phil who runs the taxi firm, the karaoke night held every Tuesday in the local pub, where drunken blokes are always fighting outside, the array of colourful second hand clothing shops and scoffing a large kebab after a night out.
The thought of a kebab makes my pregnant belly gurgle.
“What was that weird noise?” asks Marcus.
I place my hand on my bump. “Our baby likes the idea of a kebab.”
Marcus runs his hand over his sculptured quiff. “Roxy, you’ve moved on with your life. This area is your home now. I’m sure I can get you a nice office job locally.”
Irritation prickles my cheeks and I turn on my clippers.
“Wow!” says Harry, checking out his temporary Mohican hairstyle. He runs his hands over the shorter sides and then through the long vertical section running across the top of his head. “That is so cool!”
Marcus swans back into the kitchen. “Elizabeth from next door wants to know whether you want to meet up with her this afternoon? Some of her friends are going too. The kids are welcome.”
I cast him a worried look. “Elizabeth only talks about designer ski wear, diamond encrusted jewellery and her son’s school fees. What will we have in common?”
“Roxy, you’ll be fine. I’m sure you will all be good friends afterwards.”
“But, we’re from different worlds.”
“Come on, Roxy, it’s time you made some new friends in this part of town.”
Maybe Marcus has a point?
He puts his arm around me. “Please do this for me. You need to put your days of living in the rough end of town behind you.”
Marcus wants me to make new friends in this posh area of town. Everyone feels so different. Perhaps I could just ‘wing’ it’ with regards making new friends?
If I am honest I have spent my life ‘winging it’. This is where you give the impression you know what you are talking about and are fully in control of a situation. In reality you haven’t got a clue and are making it up as you go along.
No one knows me here in this part of town, apart from Elizabeth, who has only met me once. So I could just pretend I am interested in ski wear, fancy diamonds and paying expensive school fees (whilst unemployed).
I can be who I want to be.
“Tell Elizabeth I would love to join her.”
Marcus beams. “I’m sure your boys will be on their best behaviour too.”
As he walks away I find myself muttering, “you clearly don’t know them well enough yet.”
“Mam,” shouts Toby, charging into the kitchen. “Can I have a Mohican haircut too?”
Elizabeth has text me to say her and a few mums are meeting at a cafe bar in town, for afternoon tea and cake. Two are taking their children, who all seem to be of a similar age to Harry and Toby.
I catch sight of Harry and Toby racing into the kitchen with their new hairstyles. Its time to put their hair back to normal and make them look respectable for our trip out with the posh mums.
Screaming at the boys who, on hearing I wanted to shave away their groovy heads of hair, ran off into Marcus’s giant garden.
Dragging both inside, after I chased Toby around the rose bushes and overturned Marcus’s shed to get hold of Harry.
Marcus has gone to hide in his study.
My hair clippers have stopped working. I have gone into crisis mode.
“Why won’t they work!” I can feel my face starting to heat up.
Harry and Toby fist pump the air and race away.
“Calm down,” says Marcus, picking up my clippers to inspect them.
“My kids look like a pair of rough street urchins!” I yell at Marcus. “I am supposed to be mixing with posh people this afternoon.”
He takes hold of my hands. “Roxy, take a breath. All this stress is not good for the baby. I am sure the other mums will be able to relate to this…situation. Whilst you are out I will go and buy you some new clippers.”
“Everyone this is Roxy and her boys; Harry and Toby,” announces Elizabeth. All eyes instantly flick to the Mohican hairstyles.
“My boys are in touch with their creative side,” I gush, trying to smooth down their hair.
A few of the mums cast each other worried glances.
“Oh my goodness you were on that dreadful singing show,” exclaims a skinny woman called Sarah.
I can feel my cheeks reddening at the mention of ‘Search For a Star.’
“Our nanny tried to watch it but I banned it. Awful noise,” she says, with a snooty tone. “I will never understand the type of person who goes on….” She stops, realising the conversation has died around her and I am glaring at her.
“So, Roxy, do you ski?” An elegant woman called Peggy, flashes a perfect set of white teeth at me.
Here goes with the ‘winging it’ strategy.
“Oh yea. All the time. The kids and I went skiing a few months ago,” I lie, before taking a sip of hot chocolate.
Peggy’s perfect eyebrows arch sharply. “Oh, where did you go?”
Mental note to oneself. If you are going to ‘wing it’ about skiing it is probably best you do some research first.
My mind has gone blank.
Everyone is looking at me. Think Roxy. “France.”
I’m sure people ski in France.
“Which resort?” asks Peggy. “We ski a lot in France.”
I scratch my head. “Somewhere…in France…erm…in the region of….let’s see…it’s quite…hilly and snowy.”
Oh God, I need a strategic loo break and a chance to google ski stuff on my phone.
Elizabeth smiles. “Must have been nice without Marcus, just you and the kids skiing.”
I nod. “Oh yea it was so white…and beautiful and to spend it with my wonderful children…was the best.”
“Did they mix well with other children?” enquires Sarah, casting a look of concern at Toby talking to himself in the corner and Harry shoving Peggy’s son up against the wall.
I must try harder with these women. Marcus wants me to fit into his world.
Fight the nagging doubt about me not fitting in with the posh mums.
We are listening to a blonde haired woman called Katrina, who is boasting about the gigantic diamond ring her husband bought her.
“My jaws dropped to the floor when Olly gave it to me. He said I was worth it!” she squeaks, flashing her hand at all of us.
“It’s so big it’s blocking out the sun!” cries Sarah.
I feel like a nap. My eyes are heavy and I can’t stop yawning. Diamond talk is not interesting.
I am craving my kind of conversation about online dating, work gossip and Facebook.
Must try harder.
Tiny pieces of pretty cake are not doing anything for me.
Everyone is nibbling on them. I want to pick up a handful and stuff them into my mouth.
My stomach has started groaning again. I wish I could get the image of a large kebab out of my head.
Oh no, I am having a kebab moment, all that succulent doner meat is doing things to my mind.
Wipe salivating mouth and try not to think about what side orders I would have with my large takeaway kebab.
“Harry, please play nicely!” I hiss at my son, after looking over to see him lying on the cafe floor, wrestling Peggy’s son.
Toby is still sat chatting away to himself.
Sarah is now telling us all about how her widowed uncle has found love again with some woman from his polo club.
All I can think about is how my Uncle Bob has found love with Useful Kim. That’s something I will not be mentioning.
I stir my second hot chocolate and wish I was with my own friends.
“Good lord, look at them!” announces Peggy in a shrill voice, pointing out of the window. “Its an odd couple with a grown up child, all dressed up in Western outfits.”
A feeling of dread descends upon me. I fire off a quick silent prayer to God.
Please God, help me! The odd looking couple dressed in Western outfits must NOT be my Uncle Bob and Useful Kim.
PS: will be good for the rest of the year.
I can’t look up.
Quickly I reassure myself with the following:
- Uncle Bob and Useful Kim would not venture into the posh part of town for a date.
- Trevor, Useful Kim’s son would not dress up in a cowboy outfit.
- There must be a posh Western evening on at the one of the fancy wine bars.
- I can lie and say I have no idea who they are.
“Roxy, you must take a look at them,” urges Elizabeth, placing a manicured hand on my arm.
I let out an inner groan as I catch sight of Uncle Bob, Useful Kim and Trevor, walking past the cafe bar. Uncle Bob is wearing a brown cowboy hat, a red neckerchief and chaps. Useful Kim is wearing a white cowgirl hat, a red chequered shirt, a short denim skirt and cowboy boots. Her son Trevor is also in full Western gear.
“Nope, I don’t know them,” I say, quickly.
This is an emergency. I must change the conversation and steer attention away from the window. “So, then ladies, do you think you are getting value for money with your school fees?”
“OMG – its Uncle Bob!” shouts Harry, coming to stand by me. Times grinds to a halt.
He leans over and raps on the window. “Uncle Bob!”
“Is that your Uncle and Aunty?” Peggy looks at Harry.
“Yes it is my Uncle. That lady he’s with is his girlfriend. They dress up as cowboys and cowgirls on dates.”
“Oh,” exclaims Peggy, staring at my Uncle Bob and Useful Kim.
Harry grins. “She’s been to prison but Uncle Bob doesn’t mind. My Mam says she got into trouble selling knock off stuff, nothing serious. My Mam is one of her mates.”
All eyes switch to me in a second. Posh horrified faces stare at me.
Sarah leans into Peggy and whispers, “she was in that dreadful singing show, what do you expect?”
“Mam, get off me,” yells Harry, as we make a fast exit out of the cafe bar. “Where are we going?”
I grab Toby. “We’re off for a kebab!”
The posh side of town is not for me and nor are the posh mums.
As Harry, Toby and I climb onto a bus I text Shaz to say I would love to work for her.
I might now live on the posh side of town but the rough end of town will always feel like home. It is the place where I want to work. Sometimes in life you have to follow your heart and the aroma of a takeaway kebab.
There will be more next week from Roxy.