Clare Darby is feeling restless, but can’t quite put her finger on why. Her life is in order, so what is the problem? When her daughter asks what she really wants for Christmas how can Clare tell her all she wants is to get laid. All her life she has fallen for Mr. Wrong. Will she ever find Mr. Right?
Tonight was all about me, Clare Darby, moving on. Well, actually, it was all about my best friend Jess’s cheese and wine party. Her Ladies Circle was raising money for sick children. Or was it animals? I’m not sure which. To be honest I hadn’t taken much notice when Jess invited me. All I could think about was how, although it had been eight months since my divorce, it had been over a year since I’d got myself dressed up, gone out and engaged in adult conversation.
For weeks now I had been feeling restless. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I had a good job as a midwife at St. Andrews teaching hospital. Twice a week I went to the gym with my girlfriends to Tums and Bums. Afterwards, sweaty and knackered, we would indulge in a couple of glasses of wine and gossip at the bar next door. My finances were in order; I had a wonderful home, a perfect daughter, and a caring family. So what in the world was wrong with me?
Then two weeks ago, even though it was the middle of October, my seven-year-old daughter, Olivia, pondered over her Christmas letter to Santa. For a seven-year-old, she is very methodical, a chromosome she has inherited from her father. Unfortunately, her father’s meticulous discipline ceased when it came to fidelity. Before she wrote her letter she made two lists, presents she desperately wanted and presents she would like, but not imperative. Finally, lists cross-checked and narrowed down to one main present and a handful of smaller ones, she asked what I really wanted for Christmas. She would like to add it to her letter.
“You never ask Santa for anything, Mummy. What would you really like most?”
The answer shone as bright as the star of Bethlehem. I was almost positive as I contemplated my answer the Angel Gabrielle manifested in front of my dining room window, telling me to go forth, and seek, but how could I tell my seven-year-old that what Mummy really wanted was a man. More importantly...to get laid?
It all came to a head just before Christmas last year when Phil, my then husband, a Detective Inspector for the North London Metropolitan Police, came home unusually early one Friday night. As he went straight upstairs, I should have known as I stood in the kitchen and heard him moving around in our bedroom and then appeared a while later with a suitcase in his hand, it wasn’t full of dirty laundry for the laundrette. I’d been suspicious for months that his relationship with his partner, the stunning Detective Sargent Maria Stephanopoulos, was more than professional. A typical Greek goddess, all olive skin, flowing dark hair, legs up to her armpits and tits so perky that every man, even the criminals, couldn’t take their eyes off them. To be honest, when I think back, the last seven years of our eight-year marriage had been like skating on a lake of thin ice, even before Maria. How many times had Phil assured me after each affair it was purely a fling, it would never happen again. I’d lost count of how many lonely sleepless nights I’d lain in bed wondering when the pressure of the three people in our marriage would be too much, and the lake would finally crack.
So it came as no big surprise to find divorce top of Phil’s Christmas list that year.