Nob off, there's a bit of coffee and walnut cake left
and at least two date slices.
I will beat you or die trying.
That was almost seven years ago. I no longer drink or smoke or hate nylon, and my feet are like something from National Geographic. I'm not noticeably skinny, either, since I refuse to give up cake.
I try and slog off every morning, wearing huge headphones that make my children shrivel with shame. Titchy ears, rivers of sweat and the need to mouth the words theatrically cause the discrete earbuds to slither out at every step. So I must wear the comedy ones. I avoid running past the school bus stop at all costs, for very obvious reasons. I listen to funny stuff, uplifting stuff, surreal stuff and scary stuff and never quite know what's coming. I sweat spectacularly, and have that fair skin that turns crimson at any effort more than a languid tinkle for the butler; I look a fright.
But I don't care. It's like having a power hose coruscate the brain. Everything is blasted into perspective; plots and worries iron themselves out; I have all the arguments I need, winning every one with elegant, stiletto-like remarks that leave my imaginary opponents (ancient school enemies, berks on the radio, the electricity board) beaten into shocked awe. I examine my life and give thanks for its imperfect colour and chaos. Very occasionally, the chatter becomes silence, and I feel an almighty peace.
When I heave, gasping, through the door, I turn on the coffee and wait for that glorious tingle to make its euphoric way into my mouth so that I grin like a child on Christmas Eve for a good 20 minutes. It's the best time of day. If you ever want me to agree to anything, catch me in that window - I'll sew on buttons, agree to drive a carload of children, meet your unrealistic deadlines. I'm a maleable, lolling, sweat-soaked pussycat. 20 minutes, that's your lot.