Thursday, 11 August 2011

Sally Quilford's 48 Birthday Bash

Today is Sally Quilford's 48th birthday. She is a writer I admire, if only for the thousands of words she manages to bash out day-in, day-out. I wish I were half as prolific. So, today I felt I had to take part in her Birthday Bash, by bashing out a story on the theme of 48, as have many of her blogging friends.

Please excuse the poor quality, but I wrote it in about half an hour while the kids were occupied!

My mum thinks you’re hot!
I wish Ria wouldn’t put her whole life on Facebook. I can’t make an innocent comment these days without the whole world knowing about it. Frankly, it’s more than embarrassing; it’s humiliating.
And yes, for the record I do think he’s hot. 
Adam. A few years over the age of consent, but young enough to be my son, which is why I’m beating myself up about even thinking such a thing.
He’s got the hands of a man and the face of a little boy blue.
No, that’s not another of Ria’s status updates. It’s the line of a song that’s stormed into my middle-aged brain like a lightning flash. 
48 Crash come like a lightning flash.
I’m going to be plagued by Suzi Quatro’s lyrics all day, I can tell. Perhaps going for a run will help. It might be my 48th birthday tomorrow, but I can still run 6 miles three times a week and not be out of breath. Mind you, I’m worried about my knees. And my ankles, come to that. They’re not going to put up with pounding the pavements for much longer.
And, as I run those damn lyrics are tearing their way through my head in time with my feet. 
And the 48 Crash is a silk sash bash.
That’s the other problem with running any sort of reasonable distance at my age - your bladder objects to the constant bouncing up and down and you get the urge to go about three miles in. Fortunately, I’ve found the perfect spot behind a bank of topsoil and shaded by trees. That doesn’t stop me thinking there’s someone out there who can see me. Someone who knows my routine. Still, at my age I don’t care. Comfort is the most important thing.
And then just as I’m pulling up my running shorts, I see the car. It’s one of those little foreign hatchbacks. A boy racer car. Bright yellow. 
It’s him.
I feel my face turning puce. Yes, I know it was pretty red to start with.
He can’t see me from the road, obviously, but just the thought of what I’ve been doing when he’s just a few hundred yards away is enough to make the humiliation creep in once again.
And you’re so blind you could find that your motor ain’t ready to go.
Damn lyrics again! And my motor is more than ready to go, thank you very much. I speed up for the last three miles just to prove it and it’s possible he’ll drive past me again. I want him to be impressed that Ria’s mum still has it in her, even though she’s edging towards fifty.
I shudder. I can’t face that yet. Not fifty.
In my head I’m still dancing as sexily as I can manage, emulating ‘Cherry’ off Pans People, while T-Rex’s Hot Love grooves out from the record deck at the youth club disco.
Russell had a bright yellow Ford Capri. A Mark One Capri with a 3 litre engine. Goodness knows how he could afford to insure it, even in those days. 
He had black hair, cornflower blue eyes and wore denim button-fly flares which fitted very tightly across his slim hips. Fab!
You’re so young, you’re a hot shot sun of a gun.
Those are the lyrics repeating in my head as I run the last few hundred yards towards home. 
Adam. Russell. Russell. Adam. 
They merge into one. Similar colouring, similar car. 
Russell was the older guy, buying me an illegal half pint of cider and bringing it to me in the beer garden of The Robin Hood. It tasted potent, yet refreshing; the bubbles fizzing up my nose.
“Fancy a spin?” he’d said afterwards.
I don’t remember the crash. I just remember the thrill of being driven too fast; the car stereo blasting Jeepster and the gorgeous dark-haired hunk beside me. It happened just after he turned to look at me; his deep blue eyes promising things that sent a shiver through me, even though I was too young to know what those things really were.
I was lucky, they said. A good job I was wearing a seat belt. And what was I doing in that young tearaway’s car anyway? We always knew he’d come to a bad end, they said.
Adam. You could hardly call him a tearaway. Geeky Freak, Ria calls him. He’s clever; a talented musician with an angelic voice. And he’s a bit odd, I admit. Mad about Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings
“And he even has a life-size cardboard tardis in his bedroom, Mum.”
How sweet; how endearing. And I remember who I really am. 
You’re so young, but like a hang up I’ll be sad when you’re old and you’re gone.
Suzi’s lyrics remind me that I’m a responsible middle-aged mum. And I like being a mum, feeding my teenage daughter’s crazy friends with homemade cake and pizza.
I head off for the shower. Washing away the years and the memories for now. 
Crash, Crash, 48 Crash.
© Jo Derrick, 2011


Quillers said...

Oh Jo, this resonated on so many levels! I remember that song! And I used to wish I was Cherry off Pans' People too! Thank you for writing this. You really ought to send it to a magazine, like My Weekly or Woman's Own.

Unknown said...

Loved the natural rhythm to this!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Lovely story, Jo. You really are a good short story writer... Send it off!