Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Second Affair

I didn't reply to Matt's email in the end. Thought it was for the best. I felt very strange last night though because for some reason, I couldn't stop thinking about my second affair and I am usually very good at keeping that one out of my head.

That was four years ago but it still feels so recent - probably because I still dont think I'm truly over it. It was completely different to my fling with Ollie which, let's face it, was only about sex.

It started when one of the directors of the company I worked for, Iona, decided to pursue a better life in Australia and she wanted to see if she could run a branch of the business out there. So, she asked me to join her for a while to help set it up. She also asked a guy called Chris who was part of our team in Scotland. He was someone I knew of but had never actually met.

The offer came at just the right time and it was a challenge I needed. Ewan and myself were having serious problems. If we weren't arguing we had nothing to say to each other. We both decided the five week trip would be a good opportunity to try living apart for a while. He thought it was what we needed to get us back on track but I wasn’t so sure.

I really didn't go with any other intention than working hard to make the new office successful ....and maybe to get some much needed sun after yet another appalling British summer.

Iona had already been out there for a month and she arranged for Chris and myself to travel out there together to join her. I had wanted to travel alone as I needed the space. The thought of making small talk with a stranger for twenty-two hours filled me with dread. Iona had already booked the flights and accommodation though, so there was nothing I could do.

I remember going to the airport early and checking in quickly so that I wouldn't have to sit with him! But I hadn't been in the gold lounge for long before he found me!! I immediately felt guilty because he asked me very pleasantly if I wanted to be alone or if he could join me. Of course, I couldn't say no to the latter and actually to my shame, we hit it off straight away.

Our flight was delayed for a couple of hours and in that time, I had him opening up about all sorts of things - including how his marriage was in trouble. I recognised a lot of what he was saying from what was going on in my own life and threw in my twopenny advice. He told me that he had never met anyone he could speak to so openly before. In a last minute rush then, we got his seat changed so that he could be next to me and we had a great flight together. I've never known time to go so quickly. We talked and laughed and found we had a lot in common. It was just so easy and I really enjoyed being with him.

It was evening when we got to Sydney and there was a message at the hotel from Iona saying that she had to meet an important contact and couldn't join us so we had a lovely dinner on our own. By the end of the meal, I had told him all about the problems in my marriage. I never do that - I don't tell anyone anything about myself but with him I felt that he genuinely wanted to know and it felt good opening up to him.

We had arrived on the Saturday and got stuck into work pretty much straight away. On the Wednesday, we had got back to the hotel late after entertaining potential clients and gone to our rooms. I had just showered and got into bed when there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find him standing there with a couple of miniature bottles of brandy from his mini bar. "I can't sleep" he said, in his gorgeous Scots accent "You don't fancy a drink do you?" And so he came in and we did, in fact, talk for quite a while. He was sitting on my bed and then suddenly he just moved towards me and kissed me. He told me he had wanted to do that since the first moment he saw me and that's how it started, in earnest.

We spent all our time out of work together which meant we got very little sleep. Because I was able to talk to him so freely, I told him all my fantasies - things I had never even told Ewan. As a result, the sex was amazing. But more than that it was just lovely being so close to someone.

It's simple things that make my heart race when I think back to that time. We went to the beach one weekend and he had gone off to get ice creams and I just remember watching him walking back to me, his shirt completely unbuttoned, revealing that amazing body. His soft, soft skin looked so brown against that white shirt..... I still feel light-headed thinking about how much I wanted him at that moment.

As the weeks went by, we knew that at the end of it we would both go back to our partners. It was understood but it just made our time together so much more precious.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The First Affair

I was looking forward to getting in to work and logging on today and ...sure enough, there was an email from young Matt. If I had any doubts that I may have been reading too much into yesterday's exchange, they were certainly erased by the message that greeted me today ...
"OK am going to take a risk here that you may never speak to me again but when I went home yesterday I couldn't stop thinking about you and how gorgeous and funny you are. Don't suppose you fancy engaging on a passionate journey into sensual pleasure with me, do you????"

I should be shocked and outraged that he dares to try it on with me but I feel exhilarated, which is just so ridiculous. I decided the sensible thing to do would be not to reply, or at least delay I don't look too eager!

This is very dangerous territory. If I step into this, it could be a harmless online flirtation or it could end up becoming a full-blown affair and that is something I can't let happen.....not again.

I've been married nearly twenty years and in that time I have already had two affairs. God, I feel cheap just writing that. What sort of woman does that make me?

The first one happened eight years into the marriage. It wasn't the easiest of times as Ewan was always working late and seemed to have lost interest in me. One evening, we went to a party together that was full of beautiful media people and I had made a bit of an effort. It was a good do and the drink was flowing and I was introduced to an actor called Ollie. He was probably the best looking man I had/have ever met - tall, slim, dark hair, green piercing eyes and sexy stubble. Absolutely, stunningly gorgeous and he so knew it. He started chatting me up straight away and although I pretended not to be interested and kept reminding him that I was married, I was LOVING the attention! He told me that before the end of the week we would be sleeping together and I told him to dream on, On the way home, I told Ewan that he fancied me and just he just laughed it off!!! That could have been a trigger, I don't know.

A few days later, Ollie called me at work - said he had got the number from a mutual friend. In just a matter of minutes it was clear exactly what he wanted. I made him pursue me over a short period of time but I always knew were it was going. He called me several times a day until eventually, I agreed to meet him for lunch. We did that a couple of times and then my resolve failed and I went back to his flat and spent a glorious afternoon with him. I should have felt guilty but it felt amazing being with someone who was so accomplished in bed. We got together a few times after that and then he just lost interest which made me feel faintly ridiculous for allowing myself to become just another of his many women and for not being able to keep him wanting me.

Ewan never knew and in a strange way it made things better for a while as it rekindled our sexual relationship. The guilt did kick in for a bit and I tried to be a better, more supportive wife but we soon settled back into our rut.

And that is probably why I was always going to stray again.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Day After

I came into work to a really sweet email today. One of the guys from the singing group, Matt, sent me a message saying he hoped I was OK, as they were all concerned that I had gone straight home after yesterday's events rather than join them for the usual drinks. He went on to say that he thought the "esteemed" MD was in fact "a rude tosser" ! That made me smile. He said he thought I had a beautiful voice and that in fact, none of the others could understand why he should say what he did and that they really hoped I didn't stop coming as a result as it would be a real loss to the group.

I have to say that made me feel a bit better but I still feel pretty embarrassed that Mr MD called my voice boring. BORING!?! I feel like one of those sad losers on The X-Factor who come on proclaiming they are the next Madonna, only to be laughed off by the judges.

Matt's message was lovely but I'm very confused now. It might be best to give it a rest for a while. I said that in my reply but he immediately answered that I mustn't give up singing. He went on to say that he would miss seeing my "beautiful smiling face" if I stopped going. That came as a bit of a surprise I must say - a bit of a weird thing to say.

He's nice, Matt. One of the younger memmbers of the group. He's always very friendly and quite entertaining when we all go off for drinks. He's made me laugh out loud with some of his stories. He's quite good looking - very self assured. We sang a duet in in show a few years ago and I remember really looking forward to our rehearsals together. He's got a young girlfriend, Kelly, who he started to bring along to the group recently. She's beautiful! Long blonde hair, tiny waist, flat bronzed toned stomach (which often seems to be on display!) and legs up to her neck!! She's very quiet though and difficult to engage with. I tried talking to her when she first joined but found her a bit aloof so stopped bothering. Matt's very sweet with her though - always holding her hand and checking she's OK. She's a lucky girl! I almost mourn for the days when Ewan was like that with me.

Anyway, Matt and myself ended up having quite an email exchange today and by the end of play, I was quite excited. He told that he's always liked me and was often disappointed when I didn't turn up for a group event. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but I think he may quite fancy me. Ewan always laughs at me when I say things like that - tells me that I think everyone fancies me which I dont, although I am quite flirtatious and I know that men enjoy my company. Let's see! If he sends me an email tomorrow, I'll know I'm right!

Oh, what am I saying? Maybe my hormones are playing up. The trouble is, I know that I invest a lot of my self esteem in being appreciated/fancied/loved by men. Does that mean I could possibly be turning into one of those sad, middle-aged women who hit on young men? God, I really hope not!

Friday, 22 August 2008


So now I've set out my life as it stands at the moment with all the key characters explained, I suppose I should just get on with the business of journaling. I feel apprehensive about it. Maybe because I haven't really got anything of interest to say.

Well, here goes......Last night, I went to my singing group. They meet up most weeks (though I can't always make it regularly) and if we're not rehearsing for one of the twice-yearly shows - a "musical extravaganza" at Christmas and a cabaret in the summer - we get together for workshops or just the chance to sing together as a group.

I've been with them for about six years. I had watched their shows for years before and then I finally took the plunge and decided to join up. I'm so glad I did - I love it and the group seem to like me. They've been very complementary about my voice and my style and audience reaction has also always been very favourable. Singing is such an amazing release and I always feel good afterwards.

They're an OK bunch of people I suppose, though I could write a book about the goings on there. I still feel very much a newcomer as they have been together for decades. Some are married to each other, some are having illicit affairs with each other, some are divorced from each other - all very weird. On the whole though they’re a sociable lot. We usually go off to the pub at the end of the evening and they invite me to their various parties celebrating birthdays and anniversaries so it's all very nice but it is the singing that makes me go as often as I can - I love it.

Last night, we had a workshop run by a top Musical Director who has been involved with West End shows, etc. I was really looking forward to it. Who wouldn't? Getting advice from a professional who has worked with the best ??

It's never good to look forward to something too much though. Right from the start, I got the feeling that he didn't want to be there. He went round the room listening to each person sing their chosen song and then, in his very bored way, he would tell them what worked and what didn't. And then it was my turn.

I had chosen "I Could Have Danced All Night" which had got me a standing ovation at our last show but I had barely started singing when he stopped me and told me to start it again and this time to think about the words. I was a bit surprised but I went back to the beginning and once more, he stopped me after just a few lines and said "I'm really sorry, but I think your voice is very boring." It felt as if he had slapped me across the face - I was so shocked. I think the rest of the group were too as there was an audible gasp. I didn't really know what to do and then he said
"You may as well sing it now but people, there's really no point in coming up here with your music if you can't find any passion inside you to invest in your song." I felt completely deflated then - I just wanted to go home but before I could move, he was playing the intro again so I just sang it. Probably the worst performance I've ever given - EVER! But the group were so sweet - they all clapped very loudly.

He wasn't horrible to anyone else after that and I can't think why he chose to pick on me. But needless to say, I went home full of self-doubt. Why did I ever think I can sing? I feel such a fool !

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Mimi - The Mother

Where do I start on the subject of my mother?

I tolerate her but deep down she drives me mad. Really mad. I'm sure my life would be better if she wasn't in it but a part of me worries that if she wasn't around, I wouldn't be able to function. How unhealthy is that? She has possessed me from the moment I was born.

Such a difficult woman - I don't know how my father lived with her for all those years but I know he loved her passionately and he never let me stay angry with her when she upset me. He loved me more but for all her temper, he never fell out of love with her.

He was ten years older than her and he met her when she was just seventeen and fell in love with her at once. He often told me about that party and how his heart started racing when she walked in with her friends. He said she looked older than her years in her white high-heeled boots and the little shift dress and her beehive hair and heavily-kohled eyes. He was completely smitten and she was flattered by the attention of this older and in her eyes, sophisticated man.

They married two years later and throughout their life together she behaved like a spoilt child who he indulged. Everything had to go her way and in their arguments, she wouldn't relent until he gave way. Oh, how I wished he would stand his ground with her but he never did....because he loved her and didn't want her to be unhappy. And she knew that and took full advantage of it.

When I came along, she was just twenty but she was obsessed with me. She didn't sleep or eat but just watched me constantly at the cost of her own health. She went down to just six stone in weight and then the doctor told my dad that she needed to put me in a nursery and get a job otherwise she would go mad. So she found a childminder and started working as a secretary at the local driving school. It was ridiculous because most of the pittance she earned went on childcare and the rest of it was her pocket money that she spent mainly on beautiful little dresses for me. I was like her doll.

One day when I was seven, she came to collect me after work and I cried because I wasn't ready to go home. She shouted at me all the way back to the house for that and when we got in through the door, she hit me. I still remember the physical and emotional pain of that strike and I never forgave her for it. She got another job soon after that and arranged for a neighbour to look after me for an hour after school finished, instead of the childminder.

I had to live up to her expectations - high grades, good behaviour, clean appearance. I learnt that if I did what she wanted, life was OK. If I didn't, I always felt she would withdraw her love. Even now, I still have that fear although part of me wishes she would, so that we could live apart from each other.

She came to live with us after my father died. She talks of him with great affection, about the wonderful times she had with him, about how much she misses his love. One of these days, I will lose it and scream at her that she made his life hell and that she didn't deserve him.....or maybe I won't, as I haven't all these years.

As the years go by, she is becoming almost impossible to live with as everything has to be done her way. She thinks she has the right to say what she wants, when she wants, to who she wants. It's as if she prizes that devil in her. It amuses her to let it slowly take over as she gets older. She thinks she has the right to goad and manipulate those around her and now at this stage in my life, I am finding it quite draining.

I blame her for the way I am. I know it's because of her that I cannot feel, though I can't explain how. I just know that it is because of her that I don't have any deep connection to anything, in a real way. I think I just go through life pretending to emotions that don't exist.

What on earth does that make me and would it suddenly change if she wasn't around?

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Sasha and Kyle - The Children

I've already said I'm incredibly proud of them but I wonder.... I really wonder if I have been a good enough mother to them.

I am incredibly strict and expect them to behave in a certain way which they have done. Maybe I have inhibited them as a result. They seem fairly normal but who knows what they really go through.

Sometimes Sasha's eyes look very puffy and I don't know anything about why and I can tell she's not inclined to share the burdens in her life but we have the same sense of humour and many times when we talk we end up laughing and laughing until we cry. She is so sensible and I hope we end up as good friends as she is so wise and it will be her telling me what to do for the best very soon.

As for my son, I love him so much. He will always be my child though. I can't imagine him advising me on anything although he is incredibly intelligent and so I guess he will but I can't see a day when I won't be looking out for him.

How did I create such gorgeous children and why do I hold back from loving them completely? That is what makes me abnormal. That makes me a freak. A mother is supposed to love her children totally, beyond life itself. And yet, I don't know if I do. I can't imagine a world without them and I have such strong emotions for them but I think something isn't there.

I shout a lot at them - sometimes it's for no real reason. I think I yell because deep down, my life feels like it's in a mess and I have no control.

I hate myself I think - that's the real problem. If that's the case, how can I love anyone else...or expect them to love me

Friday, 15 August 2008

Ewan - The Husband

Ours was a bit of a whirlwind romance. I'd had a few dates since splitting up with Lee but nothing that changed my opinion that all men were just out for themselves. And then, I went to my friend's 25th birthday party and met Ewan, one of her colleagues.

I noticed him looking over at me almost as soon as I arrived and he wasn't unattractive - tall and broad.....looked like a rugby player! I tried to ignore him but everytime I glanced over, he was looking and smiling. Something drew me to him so after a few drinks I went over to him and we hit it off straight away. He had a kind face with lovely brown eyes and a boyish smile and he just seemed different to anyone else I had met. This was no Jack-the-lad but a really warm man who seemed genuinely interested in everything I had to say. He wasn't setting out to impress but I could still tell he liked me.

We arranged to meet the next day and then saw each other all the time over the next week - it was just so easy being with him. By the Friday, he told me he loved me but even though I was having the time of my life and loving all the attention and affection, I stayed cool. I refused to let myself be swept off my feet, even though it would have been the easiest thing in the world. By the following Friday, he asked me to marry him and because I knew I wouldn't find another man like him; no one who would love me so sincerely; no one who wanted to make me happy like he did; no one who kissed me so tenderly but with real passion and desire. Because of all of that, I said yes and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do. By then he was pretty much my best friend (after just two weeks!) and it didn't matter that I wasn't allowing myself to fall in love with him - I knew I wanted to be his wife and I vowed to be a good one, to never let him regret marrying me even though I couldn't say the words "I love you".

We had a huge wedding just six months later - big church, big dress, big cake - the works. It was a great day and his speech was so beautiful and full of love. I couldn't quite believe I was with a man who was so happy to have found me.

For the first few years, he was very attentive and so proud of me. All my friends loved him to bits and thought I was the luckiest woman in the world. And I did my part too. We bought an old run-down house and together we renovated it and brought it back to its former glory. And then we spent all our time entertaining - inviting others to share our happy life.

After two years, we thought the time was right for children and I got pregnant straight away but at four months I had a miscarriage. I felt such a failure and I guess that's when things changed a bit. He was still attentive but he was keen to get on with the business of starting a family and he couldn't understand why I was scared to get pregnant again, especially as the doctor had reassured us that it wasn't likely to happen again.

The next two years were difficult but eventually I caved in and Sasha arrived followed almost immediately by Kyle the following year. Things were different then. We were both completely besotted with our children and everything we did revolved around them. His affection for me diminished noticeably as he lavished it on both of them. I compensated by giving them all my time too. We settled into a comfortable family routine together - what some people may call a rut - and the years went by.

He did well at work getting regular promotions but it meant he stayed at the office longer. And then we hit a really rough patch when he started drinking too much because of the stress. I kind of lost him then, I think, even though we got through it. His love for the children made him realise the error of his ways and he got back on track but I felt responsible for that wobble. Maybe I should have been more supportive, looked after him more. He told me often during that period that he was tired of trying to break down my walls and though I told him not to be stupid, I knew full well what he meant.

We've got by since then. Living together, looking out for each other - to the outside world it looks good and actually, I suppose it is. Can any marriage hope for more after nearly twenty years?

The thing is, although we are still together, he is, in a sense, only on the sidelines of my life. We share a bed and eat meals together and talk about stuff but what I've realised recently is that he is excluded from my innermost thoughts. Even so, although I know don't need him in my life, I don't want to be without him. In fact, I can barely remember life without him.

Is that love?

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Selina - Who Is She?

Forty four years on this planet and what have I achieved?

Well I have two gorgeous teenagers - my daughter Sasha who is sixteen and beautiful, and my son Kyle who is fifteen and a heart-breaker. They're good kids and I'm proud of them. She goes to a drama school and is a fantastically talented actress and musician and he is very academic and goes to a grammar school in the next town were he beat thousands to a place there. I am in awe of both of them and their talents but I'm a pretty strict mum and can't abide bad behaviour. I do lavish praise on them though - I do.

I work in PR - always have done. Been with the same company forever and worked my way up to a pretty good position there. It sounds like a glamorous life as I organise big events, news conferences, film premieres and celebrity publicity. The job involves a lot of travel and shmoozing and I'm good at it but I have to admit that as much fun as that sounds, I'm bored of it. I don't know what else to do though so I just carry on in the hope that something better will come along ...but I guess it won't if I don't look for it!

I've been in love just once in my life and not with my lovely husband Ewan. I do adore him though and would be very alone without him in my life. We've been married for nearly twenty years and he's very easy-going and puts up with me. We have our ups and downs but he is basically a good man, which is all any woman can ask for.

It was the relationship I had before I met him that nearly finished me off. The one where I fell totally head over heels in love. I spent two years with Lee and when that ended suddenly, I really thought there was no point in carrying on. The rejection was so painful and even now, I would rather cut off my right arm slowly then watch my daughter go through that inevitable heartache. It happens to us all though and maybe it's an important part of our journey through life, who knows.

I've watched friends go through the same thing and have marvelled at how they have picked themselves up and then allow themselves to fall the next time. I didn't do that. I vowed that no one would make me feel so unhappy again - that I would never allow myself to let a man make me lose control, ever. And with Ewan, I haven't. I love sharing my life with him but if he were to walk out tomorrow, I would be able to carry on. Sure it wouldn't be easy but I wouldn't be broken like I was all those years ago. Mind you, I have come close to feeling like that because although I have been a good wife, I haven't been a faithful one ....but more of that another time, maybe.

What else? Oh who knows? My time is spent working and looking after the family, including my mother Mimi who came to live with us after my dearest, darling dad died ten years ago. I still miss him desperately - the only person I ever really spoke to and even when I kept quiet, he understood. No brothers and sisters so Mum came to live with us. We get on fine but only because I don't allow myself to get riled by her very extreme views on life and because I gave over the running of my house to her and because I allow her to shout at me for no other reason than it seems to give meaning to her life.

I don't do much else, except singing! That's my passion. I would have pursued it as a career. either as a performer or a teacher, but my mother frowned upon the idea. That's why I was so keen to encourage and support my daughter when she started to display her clear talents. For me now, it's just something I do in what spare time I have. But if I'm honest, it's the only time I ever really feel alive.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

And So It Starts ...

FORTY! Life begins??

Not so sure about that but I thought it would at least be a good excuse to start my online journal. I used to keep a hand-written diary but it's very difficult to keep anything hidden in a house with two teenagers, a husband and a mother so I got out of the habit. Even when I do write in it, it is all kept very sterile to save the feelings of any of the above!

I really don't know why I think putting it online for the world to see means I can be as open as I like, but it seems a good idea for now! We'll see how things go.

I think the truth of why I'm really writing this now is that I'm actually a bit depressed. Only I know that though because to the world I'm great fun. I laugh at everything and have a great sense of humour, apparently. People tell me they love being with me. I'm also a good listener and very compassionate and I've done counselling training so lots of friends open up to me and tell me their deepest, darkest secrets which they know will never go any further.

But although I have a large circle of friends, I have no one really close to me that I can open up to. Well that's not strictly true. I'm sure I could turn to any of them if I wanted to but I don't...or at least, I can't. I don't want to give anyone that power, I suppose. So that's why I've decided to write this. Cheaper than session after session with a shrink which I think is basically what I really need!

So I guess, if I'm going to be open and honest and make this work for me, I should start by admitting here and now that ..........I'm not actually forty! In fact I've been 39 now for the last 5 years! But I can't just come out and say I'm forty-four as it sounds SO old!

The stupid thing is, that even when I say I'm 39, it is often greeted with oohs and aahs and open-mouthed disbelief followed by some sort of comment like "I would have put you in your early thirties - you look amAzing!!" Obviously, I LOVE hearing that and I suppose it's true enough. Thanks to my mother's genes, I don't look my age. Good skin with no real lines yet; long brown hair that's still fairly shiny and not too grey; tall enough to carry the excess weight that I have accumulated over the years and sensible enough to dress in a hopefully elegant way that hides those extra rolls but hints at the curves that are still there.

Even so, I can't say 44....I just can't !

Oh dear, there are so many issues to work through !!! I do hope this works ....