Since last night, a green-eyed monster has been gnawing away at me. Sitting on my shoulder, it has been whispering maliciously into my ear. Driving me wild with its insidious suggestions. Its name is Jealousy.
It all started before dinner, when Bigfoot put his size eleven in it right up to the ankle (as you can see, we don’t call our number one son « Bigfoot » for nothing). He looked slyly at me over his glass, and a smirk spread slowly across his face. “Did Dad tell you what happened to him today?” To my surprise, P.F started to wriggle uncomfortably beside me, muttering “I told you not to tell your mum”. Bigfoot’s smile widened and his eyes sparkled with mischief as they probed my startled face. I intercepted his hand and slapped it away as it descended on the bowl of Pringles. “Spit it out, Buster!”
Bigfoot was more than happy to deliver the goods, with a few extra bells and whistles to make the story better. P.F had been shamelessly chatted up on his way home from work. Not only had his decrepid old genitor scored, but he had been obliged to fight off not one, not two, not three, but an entire pride of four sex-deprived cougars with his bare hands as he waited innocently for the tram. As my chin hit the coffee table, Bigfoot’s hand shot out and grabbed a huge wedge of crisps that he victoriously crammed into his mouth before settling into his armchair for the parental showdown, which promised to be better entertainment than Kramer Vs Kramer and Rocky rolled into one.
I turned to a now amused PF for an explanation. He explained that as he waited at the bus stop, a pack of four vixens started peering around the partition at him. (Bus stops are apparently a rich hunting ground for city-dwelling cougars in search of fresh prey. You live and learn.) Then they went to the ticket machine one by one, checking him out as they did so. Then one stopped to tell him what beautiful eyes he had. At this point in the story, my stomach flipped over like a greasy fried egg. The woman had then continued to tell him that she was sure he had women falling at his feet non-stop because of those gorgeous blue eyes. And that it was just incredible how much he looks like French actor Thierry L’Hermitte. At this point, the greasy egg in my stomach attempted to flop out of the scorching pan that was burning a hole in my solar plexus. I gingerly enquired how my hero had replied to her sassy, pseudo-sensual soliloquy. “Well, I said: Thank you, someone’s already said that”. I roared in protest, resisting the temptation to crack him over the head with my beer bottle. “Hey! It wasn’t just somebody, it was your bloody wife, sunshine!“
But it wasn’t over yet. Our bus stop babe was on a merciless, no holds-barred hunt for a man, and as her fellow felines looked on approvingly from the suburban equivalent of the pampa grasses, she went for his emotional jugular with her best shot – a petulant, bitter and heart-wrenching “… but men like you are never single”.
I was seething with anger. In my head, I was there, living the moment. The anti-heroine of a sordid story of bus-stop seduction. Children giggled with their mothers, teenagers listened to music on their headphones and parents returned home to the family cave from a hard day hunting their daily pay check. A prowling tigress was circling her prey, preparing to pounce on the father of my children – my sidekick, my friend, my lover, my…. ok, that’s enough Mills & Boon. What is more, she was doing so with all the alacrity and finesse of a pot-bellied French politician in a bath towel stalking an unsuspecting cleaning lady as she cleans under the bed.
I hated her to hell and back. The brassy, audacious, toadying ratbag. How could she blatantly make eyes at my husband? She had no excuse – after all, the fact that he’s married is written all over the fourth finger of his left hand. And as she said herself, if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. Hell, didn’t she know that the only other females I allow to look at him are his daughter and his mother? My jaw unhinged in silence as I gaped at her barefaced cheek, and marvelled at the surging rage that had torn through my guts at the mere idea of a rival trying to push in and pinch my husband – even for five minutes at the bus stop – after twenty years of marriage. Oh, yes…. jealously is still alive and kicking. And it was Mrs Cougar I wanted to kick. Right into the middle of next week.
PF smiled and told me it was no big deal. As I expected, he attempted to sooth my ruffled feathers by telling me that just like the nubile young students who have fluttered their Rimmelled windscreen-wipers at Môôôsieur in the past, Madame Cougar was as big as bus, smelled like a skunk, had one eye in the middle of her forehead and was otherwise no competition whatsoever for my Nefertiti-esque beauty, charm, wit and style.
He can read me like a book. He grinned at me, stroked my arm and said, “Don’t worry. I did the same as Bruce Willis in that film we watched together: I showed her my hand and waggled my wedding ring finger at her.” Oh, boy. If I’d been there, fingers would waggled too. But not the same ones. Before I proceeded to hang her upside-down off the nearest lamp post with her leopardskin print knickers over her head and a feather duster stuck in their place. So hands off, honey. He’s already been spoken for – by me…… and my green-eyed monster.