The boys are in bed after beating me in Uno for the seventh night in a row. I’m sore as hell from upping my weights in the gym and can hardly turn around to look at my glutes in the mirror. I can’t stop our dog Ekko from pissing all over our concreted backyard. I haven’t written any satisfying stories for an entire week. I’m tired almost all the time and for the past few days have been feeling unusually frustrated and moody.

On top of all that – and maybe even the main reason for my current malaise – pressing projects and deadlines have kept Reservoir Mum working at the computer right through the last few weekends. Friday Date Night has been a rushed affair, and although we’ve still been colliding in bed occasionally – usually a few minutes before midnight – to acquisition each other’s body and soul for the purpose of lusty relief and emotional intimacy, I’m missing the usual long drawn out, fantasy-filled, role-playing that’s become our weekly habit since we became parents and were forced to put more planning into our sex life.

All of this is contributing to the quiet undercurrent of my stories of late and I’m so determined to dig deeper, to find the rip, to make them roar, that I’m willing to try anything to stay awake.

I’ve taken a No Doze tablet and scratched my arm with a metal ruler but it’s had minimal effect on my alertness and that’s why I’m on my way to the back porch right now, fresh from a cold shower, twitching a little and eyeing the clock to see that it’s 8.45pm.

When I throw open the sliding door and step out onto the porch the chill wind shocks me into wakefulness at the same time that it tightens the skin around my nipples which is pleasing, because Reservoir Mum is due back from netball at any minute.

After laying a damp towel down and sitting on the steps I notice a puddle of fresh dog piss only meters away from me and I feel such rage that I’m barely able to stroke Ekko between the ears when he comes over and lies beside me. I just want to catch him in the act so that I can teach him to go on the grassy areas each side of the house, but it’s like chasing a freaking rainbow – he seems to sense me watching and pisses like a geyser if I even turn my back on him for a minute. I’ve wasted hours spying on him just this week and I’m at the point where I’m going to buy a tiny spy cam to put inside a doll’s eye and plant on top of his kennel. God… am I the only one who thinks this is a matter of great importance?

I’m shivering now, freezing, and trying to let my mind wander away from the dog to a subject for a story but it’s impossible and just as I think stuff it, I’m just going to write about my obsession with Ekko’s urine, at least that’s something, the sliding door swings open and there’s RM silhouetted by the living room light and when Ekko leaves my side to greet her she smiles down and says. ‘Why are you sitting naked in the freezing cold?’

‘Just trying to stay awake,’ I say, shivering, taking a sneaky glance down at my chest again, pleased to see the skin is still taut with goosebumps, doubly pleased that my nipples are also tight and erect and glistening under the sheen of drizzle, and I’m feeling pretty positive about what I’m doing here, until I look up and see the tired edge to RM’s eyes and here comes the back-flip – I’m suddenly feeling conflicted, guilty.

RM’S looking at the point where my glutes meet the step, because that’s where they’re most muscular, and I do want to drive her crazy with lust – it was part of my plan for her to find me like this – but I also know that she’s feeling such pressure to get these current work projects finished that she’s even been sacrificing time with me and the boys, just to get them out of the way. It’s simply not fair for me to titillate her like this.

RM RdWhen she shrugs and kneels down to pat Ekko she says. ‘I had the funniest conversation with the girls after netball.’

‘Go,’ I say, hunching over to appear less sexy and less strong. My fingers are at the keyboard but they’re so cold I can’t feel them. RM, in the dull light, with her hair all frizzed from netball, looks kinda evil; powerful; kinda Amazon Woman, and I’m trying to ignore how much I like it.

‘Brigitte was telling us all about her next-door neighbour, who’s a lovely lady apparently, but a bit of a ‘Mrs Mangle’… she lives on her own and has a cat and is aware of everything that happens in the neighbourhood and is always dropping around and…’ RM stops to laugh a little in anticipation of the story. ‘And she’d dropped around to see Brigitte and her husband, Marty, and after they’d been chatting for a while, at the front door, Brigitte’s dog started sniffing around Mrs Mangle’s ankles and was working it’s way up and getting a bit… intrusive. So Marty started pulling the dog away from her and Mrs Mangle snapped, “Stop it Martyn. She’s just smelling my pussy…”‘

‘What?’ I say.

‘And Brigitte said she hardly missed a beat,’ RM continues, doubling over, laughing. ‘That she just went straight on to say, ‘I have a cat named Meg’ and kept talking but Brigitte had lost it and had to leave Marty alone with her so she could run and hide she was laughing so much.’

‘You just can’t call a cat a pussy anymore,’ I say, folding the laptop over and standing up. ‘By using that word in such an archaic way, she was basically saying two unrelated things: “Your dog is smelling my vagina” and “I have a cat named Meg.”

‘It was hilarious. I really needed to laugh like that,’ RM says, her chuckling fading away as she gives me a once over. ‘You should get inside. You’re so cold I can see your scrotum migrating north.’

‘I think the laptop was keeping it warm,’ I say, stretching it out a little and taking a step closer. ‘I’m trying not to bother you right now because I know you’re really busy but I was sitting out here for a few reasons – to wake myself up, to write a bit, to catch Ekko pissing on the concrete, and to drive you into a lustful frenzy you’d be powerless to resist.’

‘I know,’ she says, taking my free hand and walking me inside. ‘Do you know what I was thinking today? I can’t wait to get back to having a normal date night. To just get some takeaway food, watch an entire movie, get a little kinky and smack you around a bit…’ 

‘It’s funny,’ I say. ‘But when we miss date night for a few weeks in a row… I feel like we get more and more distant during the weekdays as well. It’s like we reset and refocus on each other at Date Night and… I can really understand how some couples grow apart.’ 

When RM hugs me the contrast of her recently active body against my recently frozen body makes me feel like I’m being scolded by a hot iron and all of sudden I’m less concerned about Ekko pissing on the concrete or the kids beating me at Uno all the time or the lull in my creativity lately, and I realise that my obsessing over those things can only have come because I love RM, but have been missing her these past few weeks. The long drawn out role-playing sex sessions can wait as long as the flirting and the talking and the reconnecting continues.

‘Why are you hugging me like this?’ I say.

‘Because I love you,’ she says.

‘Do you really?’ I say, a little mischievous. ‘Or are you just tolerating me?’

When she looks up at me with a nonchalant smile I stare back at her, baring my teeth like a playful chimp.

‘How’s work looking anyway?’ I say. ‘What’re the chances of resuming festivities this Friday?’

‘Pretty good,’ she says. ‘As long as I get back to work right now.’

‘Hey,’ I say, putting my hands on my hips and swivelling my pelvis to perform ‘the helicopter’ made famous by Puppetry of the Penis. ‘I’ll bring this along.’ 

‘Okay,’ RM says. ‘And I’ll bring along my cat named Meg.’