Long in the Tooth

To celebrate our wedding anniversary (tantrum warning; see footnote) my wife and I arranged to spend an intimate weekend in a sleepy coastal village an hour or two from Sydney. At our advanced stage of life our offspring seek to protect us from any reckless or imprudent intimacy, and so it was our Sydney family joined us in the seaside cottage.
Annette and I married forty-six years ago, when she was twenty years of age and I was twenty three. We were children, who did not know each other; in fact we did not know ourselves. 
I did some arithmetic recently and realised we have been married for 66.66*% of my life. Annette’s percentage is even higher. We thought the marriage a good idea at the time and I think it a good idea still.
After so many years it is delightful to make fresh discoveries of one’s bride. On Day One of our anniversary weekend I disturbed Annette in the bathroom after lunch. I saw she was brushing her teeth. I said, ‘I didn’t know you brushed your teeth after lunch. I thought I was the only person in the world who did that. If I had known I’d have spread toothpaste on your brush when I did mine.’

With her sweet mouth foaming dentrifice attractively , Annette replied, ‘I always brush after lunch.’

On Day Two I went to the bathroom to perform my midday oral toilet and found my toothbrush, freshly spread with toothpaste. 
From brusher, with love.   
FOOTNOTE: TANTRUM.
THIS IS OUR FORTY SIXTH ANNIVERSARY. IT IS NOT NOT NOT OUR ‘FORTY SIX YEAR ANNIVERSARY’. THERE IS NO SUCH THING. THERE CAN NEVER BE SUCH A THING AS A ‘ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY’ OR (HEAVEN FORBID) A ‘HALF-YEAR ANNIVERSARY’ OR (SAINTS AND REBBES PRESERVE US) A THREE MONTH ANNIVERSARY’. WHY NOT?

BECAUSE ‘ANNIVERSARY’ MEANS ‘TURNING OF A YEAR’; HENCE FORTY SIX YEAR ANNIVERSARY IS A TAUTOLOGY AND AN OFFENCE AGAINST LOGIC AND MEANING.
END OF TANTRUM.

The Boringest Cliché

1510472_366538920155302_968766595_nWe have all seen too many movies, read too many stories and attended too many plays where some person (always male), his hair thinning, his relationship failing, struggles endlessly to start his novel. Or to get over his writer’s block. Or to complete the bloody thing. Or to get it published.

 

Great writers have whinged greatly on this theme. Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections) and Nam Le (The Boat) have fretted memorably. The world has now read, seen and heard enough on the theme.

 

Yet, four and a half years of my (how much?) remaining time have disappeared in the creation of my own novel, “Carrots and Jaffas”. I watched and saw the sands of my time trickle profitlessly as through an hourglass. I wrote a masterpiece each morning and re-read lines, dead and drear, each evening. I took six months off work ‘to finish the novel’. Those months passed and a further draft joined the previous six in my waste paper basket.

 

For the past four and a half years I have lived that cliché. My wife and family have experienced that neglect.

 

Now Carrots and Jaffas poke their red heads (slab-shaped due to their premature arrival, ironically polar to the postmaturity of their story) out from the beautiful, bright covers that bear their names and Hybrid Publishers commissioned for them. The twins’ struggles to survive, their unnatural/supernatural/utterly natural intimacy, their delayed individuation, their painful discovery of separated self – all these have lived within me; and now Carrots and Jaffas face the world naked and without.

 

They tremble before you.