Blood In The Tiber*

“If it can go wrong, it will,” Mum says.  Or maybe one of her friends does.  Brought up in the 1950s, by superstitious mothers, Mum and her chums were raised on such mantras as: “Don’t wear green: it’s bad luck,” and “don’t tempt fate,” and “you must wear an amulet to ward off the evil eye.”

So: my uterus is making a heroic last stand against the army of drug-induced-temporary-menopause.  All day yesterday, was thinking “why am I so bloated? Why does my tummy hurt? Why can’t I do a poo?”  And then, this morning: the bloody evidence.  The red soldiers of fertility march down the white bowl of my loo to their doom.

Life is cruel.  My romantic weekend will be marred by period pains.  Throwing three pairs of big pants and a box of tampons into my already-groaning weekend bag, I wash down a couple of Nurofen with the dregs of my coffee and rush to the gym.  

On my bike at the gym, looking out at the grey sky.  Checking the weather where we’re going, it’s 10 degrees and cloudy.  Want to wear my purple suede over-the-knee boots, but mud and rain will be bad for them.  If only had a little wheely suitcase so could take a few more clothes and shoes for the weekend.  Am just going to have to wear my black knee-high boots all weekend with black dresses and black glittery or patterned tights.  Am taking the blue-purple-and-turquoise knitted dress for this evening: we’re going to a smart restaurant.

Can’t wait to see my boy.  One of Seb’s few paid acting jobs was a Tampax advert.  Maybe we can watch that, whilst I lie on the sofa in my big pants, in pain.  So much for romance.

“Maybe it will be a short one,” Mum says when I call to inform her of my menstrual disaster.  

“My tummy hurts,” I say.  Am suffering ferocious pains. Yesterday assumed they were either gastric or anxiety, but they’re not.  

“Poor darling.  Oh look: an orange fluffy person has just walked in,” Mum says.  “We had such a lovely cuddle this morning.”

“I want to cuddle him,” I say: picturing my fluffy monster: huge and orange and very very soft in the fur department: his long tail stretched out behind him.  Imagine a golden retriever’s tail, but orange.  It’s like that.

“You can cuddle him when we get back from holiday in two weeks,” Mum says.

That is a long time.  At least can cuddle my Seb in about five hours.  Even if a cuddle is all he’ll be getting.

Happy Saturday everyone!

*2014.  By Annelise Freisenbruch.  “A novel of murder, passion and power.”  Book One of The Hortensia Mysteries.  

“This is a stunning novel that immerses us in the brutal world of the Roman Empire of the first century BC.” Alison Weir


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