One of Reservoir Mother-In-Law’s Women’s Magazines is sitting next to the kettle on the bench. It’s folded open to a full page advertisement featuring Miranda Kerr. She’s lying on a bed naked. I have no idea why she’s doing that or what she’s selling. All I really know is that she has no pants on.
‘It’s lucky you’re a nice guy,’ Reservoir Mum says.
‘And that’s the first non x-rated line that’s been spoken between us this entire conversation. I’ll start blogging from that point onwards.’
‘I thought you didn’t believe in censuring yourself,’ she says.
I take a moment to pretend that its actually possible to gain some long term insight into myself before saying, ‘Well, there are some things… there are certain personal things…’
‘That’s your frontal lobe doing its job right there,’ RM says before adding, seriously, ‘Can you imagine you without a frontal lobe?’
I can. Secretly, my greatest fear is losing my frontal lobe to illness or injury. ‘RM,’ I say, ‘If I’m ever in an accident where my frontal lobe is damaged I want to you to have me chained by the neck to a wall in the backyard. Shackle every limb.You should reinforce the doors and windows, in fact secure all entry points to the house, so that it’s fortress-like. Get yourself and the kids one of those long zapper sticks and shock me frequently. Feed me once a day – a live cat or goose – something that will make a lot of noise to satisfy my blood lust…’
‘Good idea,’ RM says. ‘I should also get you castrated.’
‘Either that or find some of those mega-large chains they use to moor ships to piers. It’s the only thing that’ll keep me anchored to the wall if I get a whiff of you.’
‘Castration will be much easier,’ she says.
I’m frying up a dozen lamb chops in the kitchen and I’m hungry. My fist is squeezing and relaxing around the handle of the egg flip like a bony heart. ‘How long has it been since we’ve had sex now?’ I ask.
Reservoir Mum is sitting at the kitchen table with Maki who’s taking a moment between breasts to burp and vomit milk onto a white cloth. ‘Maki was born five weeks ago… so five weeks… plus another one.’
‘Holy crap. Five weeks? How are we even functioning?’ I say, ‘I mean, it must be hard for you too.’
‘It’s not really. The post-birth hormones make sex the last…’ she says, as some lamb fat pops and startles her, allowing me to continue with my own train of thought.
‘…your body is still recovering and maintaining itself to nourish an infant but you must be finding it so hard to walk around me all day… looking at my hard body, smelling my pheromones….’
‘No, I haven’t even…’
‘I don’t know how you actually stop yourself from just biting me on the back of the neck and mounting me,’ I continue loudly, ‘you’re incredibly strong-willed… almost superhuman. Actually, you’re very lucky I haven’t been dancing lately. If I was dancing as often and as vigorously as I usually do, there’d be no stopping you. I’ve purposefully stopped dancing so that you’d don’t succumb to your urges and really put your post birth recovery at risk.’
I have no idea why Reservoir Mum is laughing.
‘You’re not really a great dancer, you know,’ she says. ‘I mean, you’re enthusiastic but you’re not really that… co-ordinated.’
‘Stop it,’ I say.
‘And you only have a few moves…’
‘Now you’re sounding delusional. I dance like a Prince. But I appreciate what you’re trying to do.’
RM’s laughter is really beginning to confuse me.
‘You should be used to the post-birth dry spell,’ she says, ‘Or at least know what to expect. Don’t you remember what it was like after the other three births?’
Time freezes as the subconscious part of my mind is triggered into releasing memories it had previously considered worth hiding from my conscious self. I feel the hot desert sand on my hands and knees. I’m moving towards an Oasis. There is a pond there in the shape of Reservoir Mum and I’m so thirsty and the sun is so hot and I keep crawling and reaching but just as I think I’m about to lap at her waters and quench my thirst the RM Oasis reveals itself to be a mirage that disappears into a crying baby, a dirty nappy, an episiotomy… or one of my in-laws.
Some lamb fat pops again. I regain my senses standing open-mouthed over the frypan. ‘Jesus. I do remember,’ I say. ‘After Archie was born it was like six months of abstinence.’
‘It was never six months,’ RM says. ‘It may have felt like it… it was probably more like three.’
I’m turning the chops slowly and making sure both sides are well lubricated in butter and coconut oil as I do my best to subtract five weeks from three months to work out exactly how long we have before the next drink and I take a sideways glance at Miranda who says, ‘Hey big boy, hey’ and when I finally take my eyes from her and refocus on the cooking, I realize that I’m staring at twelve well prepared vaginas in a fry-pan.
‘Holy shit!’ I say.
Reservoir Mum has placed Maki in his basinet and joined me in the kitchen. ‘Holy shit what?’
‘I just think I’m very hormonal,’ I say, all at once. ‘I’m saturated through with man hormones. I’m seeing sex in the craziest places. Today I was at the Pet Store in Northland…’
‘Uh-oh,’ RM interjects.
‘… and there were guinea pigs running in and out of this orange pipe. In and out… of this orange pipe… and I think I lost about an hour there and…I guess it’s a bit pathetic,’ I say.
‘Well,’ she says. ‘It’s no more pathetic than me being more emotional since the birth.’
Her acceptance of me is calming. ‘I guess we’re all hormones aren’t we,’ I say, turning to her for a hug.
‘Yeah,’ she says. ‘It’s pretty tough at the moment. But we know it’ll turn around and we’ll be back into it again.’
When I squeeze her extra hard and tell her I want to pull her hair she pushes her face into my neck and whispers, ‘That’s sweet’ and I feel good.
‘You could take someone else to bed tonight,’ she says, picking up the magazine and holding Miranda up to me.
‘I haven’t done so much of that since my teens,’ I say. ‘But I think we better before the frontal lobe loses its hold… why does your Mum buy these magazines all the time anyway?’
‘She donates them to the Clinic waiting room.’
‘I didn’t think they’d take magazines with sealed sections.’
‘There are no sealed sections in this mag,’ RM says.
‘Not yet,’ I say, with a wink as I roll the magazine up and put it under my arm. ‘But by morning…’