“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
Ordinary domestic forces have conspired against us since Friday’s date night to leave Reservoir Mum and I physically unfulfilled and as Sunday evening approaches the very real possibility that we may wave the weekend goodbye without a single pupil-swivelling moan makes me shudder in such a way that I run to the home gym and perform thirty minutes of intense exercise while listening to Crystal Waters 100% Pure Love, on repeat.
I’m squatting and benching and chin-upping and dipping and side-abbing like a demon while peering from behind the blinds to the driveway because RM has the boys are over at Nanny’s and Gramps’s house for a brief visit and I’m hoping to be at the zenith of my glistening muscle-pump just as she arrives home.
The fact that I’m topless is no accident and I’m wearing my shorts very low because I’m focussing on the muscles that turn RM on – glutes, pecs, biceps, triceps and, most importantly, the hip muscles that run towards the groin. I’m wearing some cologne, yes, but not enough to hide that natural exercise smell of manly-me.
I really love this song because it reminds my of my horny twenties and when the Tarago pulls into the driveway I’m jiving though my last set of pull-ups and not surprised that I want to drink vodka and bathe myself in strobe lights but I let that go to focus on the evening ahead because I’m in my horny forties now which means I’m more responsible – and I have my four boys to organise.
There’s a bit of a scream when I exit the gym to surprise the boys with my arms raised; my hands are claws and my roar is deep like a bear’s.
Tyson and Maki are the loudest as they run the hallway gauntlet. Lewis is just a little quieter than the others because he’s seven now and needs to hold to a cool allure but soon I’m chasing all of them, even Archie who’s shrug-running like he just don’t care.
Suddenly RM enters the building and a silence falls upon me. It’s as if someone’s pushed plugs deep inside my ear canals and filled the remaining space with Vaseline.
I look her up and down and regard her like a starving lion would – I even run my tongue across the edges of my sharpest teeth – because she’s wearing an old pair of sneakers, some tracksuit pants she once painted a fence in and a baggy unironed hoody and if Katy Perry were here right now, dressed like a cave-girl, I would walk up to her, place a fifty in her hands and say, ‘Take my children to an undisclosed location and sing ‘Fireworks’ to them until you receive a text from me that reads, Okay, we’re finished now. (Katy Perry would make an excellent babysitter).
‘Hmmm, I like it,’ RM purrs, when she sights my nude upper body, eyeing me up and down with the exact same sneer of objectification I’m giving to her, and because her animal lust always drives my hormone levels to boiling point, I try to distract myself by placing my hands on my hips, puffing my chest out, making my pecs muscles jump in unison like a pair of hairy ballerinas. But then my gaze settles on the clock above the kitchen pantry and I am unable to prevent several short bursts of panic.
It’s five in the afternoon which means there are only two hours to get the boys fed, bathed and in bed. RM and I have some computer based work to get finished tonight before we even get the chance to appease our need to frantically mount each other and, Jesus, what about the two baskets of washing to fold and the study cupboard Maki emptied onto the floor and fact that we can’t even enter our own room without registering our position on a Vic Rescue GPS? All that shit has to get done! Tonight!
There’s a criss-crossing crises-style slopping together of lamb and leek and sweet potato and thanks to the pressure cooker wizard I have a steaming sweet-smelling meal fit for four princes within thirty minutes and there they are – our boys – all feeding their faces on the couch watching Frozen.
RM and I are eyeing each other off like a cow and bull fenced into separate paddocks but the farmer’s approaching the gate because he wants a calf, and he just might get it, because while all the cooking was going on RM was folding all the washing and treating the clothes horse with contempt. And the whole time she’s been glancing at my side abs in such an obvious way that I’ve been operating with my elbows at shoulder height to keep the skin there taut, and the muscles visible.
Desert doesn’t get a mention and I change the kids into pyjamas so fast they’re complaining about the shock of static electricity and when RM half-jogs from the hallway to say, ‘Study’s clean’ while holding cups of coffee I’d left in the main bedroom, I feel like howling at the moon. When she bends over to start dressing Maki and Tyson into their pyjamas I notice the womanly creases of her upper thigh and I almost pass out.
The teeth-cleaning-face-washing-off-to-bed-for-books-and-hugs routine goes off without a hitch. So well in fact that I remind myself of the pied piper leading a congo-line of hypnotised rats except that I’m running behind my boys waving my hands above my head saying things like Teeth, how many times do I have to say TEETH?! instead of playing a hypnotic tune on a silver flute.
With the kids slumbering and the kitchen tag-team-cleaned we pass each other in the hallway on our way to our separate work computers hissing through our scrunching faces and looking back at each other like un-spayed monogamous cats and when I let out a husky, ‘Sex soon?’ she mouths ‘Yeah’ and then I’m tapping at the keyboard more ferociously than King Kong drums his chest because this word count has to be met right quick.
I burst into the marital bedroom to see that it’s 11.15pm and RM’s lying in bed baring her teeth like a caged monkey and I really want to match her with the appropriate display of animality but because I’m topless I can’t tear a t-shirt in half to bare my chest, as I usually do, and so I pick up a copy of yesterday’s Herald-Sun from the bedside table and tear apart the racing section, throwing the remnants over my shoulder, like a tiger.
Several measures of time later our sustained focus pays for itself as I come alight like the wick of a candle touched by a stuck match and then – pulsing like waves in the ocean – RM roars loud enough to wake the Ibis slumbering in the reserve behind our house, and as they screech through their ugly curved beaks and flap stupidly towards the moon, she brings her hand down hard, to mark the effort and teamwork it took to get us here, as an exclamation on my arse.