I’ve been having one final, brutal, word cull of the final draft.
This is one of the scenes I’ve cut, which is when my MC realises her life is stagnating, and I would like to share it with you.
Stagnation is self-abdication.
After a long, luxurious soak in the bath, Lisa heaved herself up to a standing position and gasped. Her lecherous landlord had snuck in and replaced the strip light tube on the bathroom ceiling whilst she had been at work. Standing there, butt-naked and dripping soapy bathwater her reflection in the mirror was unforgiving under the new tube’s glare.
She was appalled. The last time she’d taken a close look at herself naked, everything was where it should be. Why hadn’t she been paying closer attention? How on earth had she not noticed that her body had gone from pert to prolapsed in such a short space of time?
Cupping her hands underneath her breasts, she pushed them up slightly then let them go. Gravity deemed the only way for them to flop was south. She remembered having been inspired by those liberated ladies of the Swinging Sixties who, allegedly, threw all caution to the wind and made a bonfire of their bras. Letting her perky little darlings live free two decades ago might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but that invigorating liberation was having a knock-on effect now.
‘Before you know it, you’ll be the size of a house.’ Her mother’s words came back to haunt her, again.
She wrapped a towel around herself in disgust. It struggled to cover everything up, so she made a mental note to buy a couple of bath sheets as opposed to bath towels. Putting on a dressing gown, she tied the belt around the potato sack that used to be her waist and stomped off to the bedroom, collapsing onto the bed. She needed to address this unsatisfactory situation because it was not going to go away on its own.
She’d also started having nightmares again, about turning sixty, not forty, waking up in a cold sweat and screaming…
‘There’s been some mistake! My mother’s only fifty-nine!’
She didn’t identify with being forty. She didn’t want to be forty. She didn’t feel forty but, having just looked at her reflected image, there was no getting away from it; she was looking, every portly inch of her, forty.
‘No wonder nobody fancies you anymore, Lisa Grant!’ She bawled at the damp patch on the ceiling. ‘Nobody likes saggy tits, especially forty-year-old saggy tits and especially yours!
Over the months that followed, Lisa focussed on turning her life around, religiously working through a list of life-changing affirmations. Why was she still hanging around anyway? Stagnating in the countryside. Stagnating would be a word her mother would use when referring to the countryside. It was time to move on. It was time to dig herself out of her self-dug rut.
STEPS TO AVOID A MIDLIFE CRISIS
- Lose weight!
She persevered with weekly WeightShifters sessions and tried not to be irritated by the constant weekly reminders not to eat the leftovers off your husband’s plate. She also started jogging, every day, whatever the weather.
‘Never underestimate the power of forty-year-old women, Adele.’ She had said, chinking her glass with her best friend’s.
‘Both of us will be turning forty this year, so look out world! When I turn forty and I’m going to look at it as a milestone in my life, not a millstone.’
- Sort out your overdraft.
And, the reason for the current one, was because she had decided to take on some freelance work again and needed to invest in state of the art technology; a brand new Dell Dimension computer, with a printer and fax machine. The Dell provided her with everything she needed even if it sounded like the Starship Enterprise trying to make contact with an alien craft a billion light-years away when connecting to the Internet.
- Go and live in Portugal and start running Writers Retreats? The climate alone was very appealling.
- Stop dwelling on the past…
‘Carpe diem, Lisa Grant. You have no idea what is around the corner. You could get knocked over by a bus tomorrow or you could finally and fatally fall off your bloody silly stacks. It’s time to get a grip, move on and live your life!’
- Finish the bloody book and get it out there. If you can pick up a publisher, great, if not, it’s been a cathartic experience.
- A relationship… do I really want to spend what is rest of my life on my own?
The jury was still out on that one.