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 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 expensive side of town. She’s trying her hardest to adapt to her new life and to this new serious relationship with Marcus.
Marcus and I are enjoying a romantic moment.
The build up to our romantic moment consisted of us both devouring an Indian takeaway, plus all the trimmings; poppadoms, chutneys, lime pickles, onions, a selection of naan breads etc, watching a romantic DVD and discussing the issues he has with our relationship.
His issues include:
- Me running off to London to meet my favourite astrologer Mystic Clive last weekend.
- My new friend FluffyFiona123 (that’s her Twitter name) who he thinks will become a bad influence.
- My new job offer (working in Shaz’s new beauty salon on the rough side of town). Would prefer me to work in an office.
- The beauty course, which I am interested in doing, as it would mean I could do more in Shaz’s salon. It is starting at the local college in a few weeks. Marcus thinks I should be working in an office. He’s reluctant to lend me the money.
- My three kids; Matilda, Harry and Toby are driving him insane.
- He’s worried our baby will be as spirited as my other children.
I told him these issues were nothing compared to some of the relationship problems I have encountered with previous partners. In my experience, being told by the love of your life that he thinks he might be gay and then being told by the second love of your life that he’s been secretly bedding the local barmaid for the last six months are relationship issues, which are in a different league to me gaining a crazy new friend on Twitter and wanting to go to college.
We are busy making up. Marcus is busy kissing my neck and whispering, “Oh, Roxy, why can’t we do more of this?”
We haven’t been able to enjoy a romantic moment for ages. Over the past few weeks all our romantic moments have ended abruptly with him in a mood and storming off to bed.
I am stroking his sculptured hair and trying not to mess it up. Marcus hates squiffy hair. “Oh, Marcus, my sweet love,” I whisper.
My phone has burst into song with my new ringtone; Cher’s classic hit, ‘Love and Understanding’.
I hear Marcus groan as I reach over to pick it up.
My mother is speaking very fast. “Great Aunt Vera is about to pass over!”
“What?” I shriek.
“The nursing home has called Bob. Everyone has to rush to her bedside, as they think she’ll go soon.”
I haul myself up off the sofa. “I’ll be right there!”
Marcus has his head placed in his hands and is muttering stuff under his breath.
I hang up on my mother and run to grab my leather jacket.
“Roxy, wait, what’s going on?” Marcus says, doing up his shirt.
“Great Aunt Vera is about to pass over, I have to be with her.” I squeeze myself into my leather jacket.
“I will come with you,” says Marcus. He looks up the stairs. “Matilda can do us a favour and look after the boys, can’t she?”
My eyebrows arch in surprise at his suggestion about my teenage daughter doing us a favour.
We race into the nursing home and are met by my mother, cousin Mags and Uncle Bob, all stood outside Great Aunt Vera’s room.
My mother is dabbing her eyes with a tissue, Cousin Mags is on her phone and Uncle Bob is looking sheepish, dressed as a cowboy.
“How is she?” I gasp, looking at both of them.
Uncle Bob loosens his red neck scarf. “She’s not herself.”
“What’s wrong with her, is it her heart?” I give Uncle Bob’s shoulder a sympathetic rub.
He scratches his head. “They said she had a funny turn during Games Night. Had to be wheeled up to bed. Been there ever since.”
“Games Night?” I say, “Oh god, was she playing poker?”
Great Aunt Vera’s is a legendary poker player. Everyone who plays her assumes she’s a batty old lady, who has lost her marbles. My ex partner Rob did just that, the one who ran off with the barmaid. Great Aunt Vera sent him home embarrassed and penniless.
Uncle Bob nods and then hangs his head.
My mother places her arm around my shoulders. “We think it’s finally happened.”
Nausea rises up inside of me. “No, please no,” I murmur. “She lost a game?”
“Your Great Aunt plays poker?” Marcus casts us all a puzzled look.
Cousin Mags looks up from her phone and nods. “She’s ruthless. Vince had to take out a bank loan after he made the mistake of challenging her to a game.”
“Maybe the shock of losing got to her tonight?” asks Marcus.
Uncle Bob turns sharply towards Marcus. “My mother hasn’t lost a game of poker in her life.”
Marcus checks his sculptured hair is still in place in the reflection of a glass window. “Maybe she met her match today?”
We all gasp and I frown at Marcus.
My mother takes him by the arm. “Vera’s always said she will pass over on the day she loses a poker match.” She pauses, takes out a tissue and blows her nose loudly. “If she’s lost a game of poker, God won’t mess about, he’ll summon her quickly.”
“I must see her.” All this talk of Great Aunt Vera losing a poker match and then passing over is making tears well up inside my eyes.
I push past my mother and enter Great Aunt Vera’s room.
As I open the door I hear a rustle and something is shoved underneath the bed covers.
She’s laid in her bed, with the covers pulled up to her chin. “Roxy, get in here!”
I sit down on the bed and take her hand in mine. “Shhh..its okay, Great Aunt Vera. I’m here now.”
She lets out a sigh.
“So, what happened at Games Night?”
Great Aunt Vera turns her face towards me. “They sat me next to a newcomer at the home, Richard, 92 and an ex-army officer. A very handsome man, Roxy.”
I give her hand a squeeze. “When did you start to feel unwell?”
“He told me he had never played poker before,” she croaks. “HE LIED!” Her green eyes have darkened and her face has gone a deathly shade of grey.
“But I thought poker was all about lying?”
She grips onto my hand. “It is but I thought I was the only good liar around here.”
“What?” I gasp. “No….no…no!”
“He’s a bit of a cad, Roxy, he managed to charm me into thinking he was a poker beginner.”
“Oh, Great Aunt Vera!” I whimper, resting my head on her shoulder. “Please tell me, you didn’t lose, because you have always said you will pass over when you lose!”
Tears start to stream my face. This can’t be the end of Great Aunt Vera. “Oh, Great Aunt Vera, please stay away from the bright light!”
Great Aunt Vera goes quiet and I start to sob.
She strokes my hair and I wonder whether this is the end of my favourite relative.
“Roxy, do you really think your Great Aunt Vera let some handsome ex-army officer beat her at poker?”
I lift my head and stare at her.
Great Aunt Vera casts me a toothy grin. “I taught him a lesson, Roxy, one he will never forget!”
A smile spreads quickly across my face. “But they said you had a funny turn?”
She lets out a cackle of laughter. “Once I finished with him and stuffed my winnings in my handbag I didn’t want to spend the rest of the night making small talk.”
“The nursing home were worried about you, they rang Bob who called all of us. Everyone thought you were going to pass over.”
Great Aunt Vera pulls back the covers to reveal a giant wad of ten pound notes, held together with an elastic band. After fishing her reading glasses from the bedside table she puts them on and begins to count.
“How’s Mark?” she says, halfway through at two thousand pounds.
I shrug my shoulders. “Its Marcus, Great Aunt Vera. He’s not happy about me working in Shaz’s beauty salon, he’s struggling with the kids and I think he’s nervous about becoming a father for the first time.”
Great Aunt Vera smiles. “I heard from your mother there is a beauty course starting at the college.”
I nod. “Yea, I asked Marcus to lend me the money, but he wants me to work in an office near him. It’s not a problem, I will just work on Shaz’s reception desk for a bit and save up for the course.”
Great Aunt Vera takes my hand and stuffs the wad into it. She closes my fingers around it. “Get yourself on that beauty course and don’t listen to Mark!”
“I can’t take this!” I exclaim.
“You can, Roxy Collins! Out of all those people stood outside you are my favourite. Your life’s chaos, you can’t put on fake tan properly and your kids are a bloody nightmare. Now, take the money and book a place on that course!”
The room has gone blurry. I can’t believe she has given me all this money.
“Off you go now, anyone will think I am passing over!”
Marcus and I are attempting a second romantic moment before we go to bed.
He’s peppering my neck with tiny kisses. “Why have you got a wad of cash in your handbag, Roxy?”
I let out a contented moan. “Its money for my beauty course. Great Aunt Vera gave me it.”
Marcus stops and stares at me. “You’re joking?”
I cast him a sweet smile. “Nope!”
Marcus has gone to bed in a mood.
I guess we are not destined to have a romantic moment anytime soon. Anyway, tomorrow I must sort out my college place.
There will be more Roxy next week.