by Tom Docherty,
The woman let out yet another frustrated scream. Still no movement. The
encouraging, but useless, voices around her offered futile advice. Just push a
wee bit more. Try and adjust your hips.
It had been hours now. It felt like seven or eight but was probably only two,
three, at the most. She glanced up at her partner and bright light temporarily
blinded her. He had a fraught, but caring, look on his face. The rest of them
just looked fraught. They all looked so stupid just standing about, togged up
as they were. Two of them were covered in slime and goo. She was too, she
I should have lost a bit of weight before all this, she thought. People had,
politely, suggested it. She had ignored their advice. After all, she was young,
fit and healthy. It should have been a dawdle. Try one more push, she was
advised yet again. Her reply included a reference doubting the speaker’s
It was all her partner’s fault. It had been his idea after
all. Yes, she had agreed. His argument had been convincing. It would be a new
direction in their solid relationship. It would give them both focus. Yes,
there would be financial and time implications, but it would bring them
together as a couple. He suggested she was at an age where the longer she
delayed the more difficult it would be. It had all sounded a great idea nine
months ago on a cold autumn night in September as they sat sipping wine on the
sofa discussing the pros and cons.
Back to reality, she thought. Her legs were numb. She could
feel the restriction. Her friends had been right. It was all about the hips.
The experts had said not to worry, she would have no problem. Bloody experts,
she cursed inwardly. Would this ever end? She was embarrassed, being in this
situation. There must be about eight or nine people gathered watching now. She
thought she saw the flash of a camera. Surely, her partner would never allow
that. She tried another slight push, Agony! Nothing.
‘Relax’, a voice advised. ’Take a few breaths. It’ll all be
She advised the same voice as before that he attempt an
impossible sexual practise. It’s so unfair she thought. I’ve done everything
right. I even went to classes. I practised everything they suggested. I spoke
to experienced people. Her father had advised against it, as had her sister.
Her mother offered a neutral opinion merely saying it was easy for some but
could be problematic for others. How ironic, she mused. Mum does know best. She
wished she hadn’t let her partner sweet talk her into it now. She knew he had
history with a previous partner. That had persuaded her. He had been so keen
and enthusiastic. He said it was a wonderful experience and would change her
life and that he would always be there, at her side, to support and help. It
was certainly an experience. The jury was out at the moment about wonderful.
She realised the voices were still there but had decided, about an hour ago, to
ignore them. The numb feeling from her legs had reached her feet and was also
moving up her body. Something’s got to give, she decided. It’s obviously down
to me myself now. This lot are no help whatsoever.
One last effort. She strained and struggled. There was
actually an audible pop. Suddenly it was all over. Cheers rang out and,
unbelievably, another flash stung her eyes. She didn’t care. It had ended.
Someone covered her with a blanket. She noticed a solitary hand proffering a
‘Have some tea, love,’ a voice said. ‘It’s all over now.’
She took the mug in both hands savouring the heat and took a
sip, grateful for its warmth. She enjoyed the hot, sweet liquid as it trickled
down her throat. The woman returned the mug and struggled into a sitting
position and scanned the group for her partner. Her eyes, as fiery as shooting
stars, locked onto him. His happy grin evaporated quicker than steam from a
boiling kettle. She waved him over. The rest of the group had drawn well back
in response to the look on her face. Her partner crouched down beside her.
‘It’s all right now. You’re going to be fine.’
‘You bastard,’ she erupted. ‘You said … they all said …
‘Only natural to feel this way just now. You’ll feel
different about it later on. It’ll be easier next time.’
‘Next time! she screamed. ‘Next time! There most certainly
won’t be a next time.’
‘Sleep on it,’ he suggested.
‘Look, that’s it! I’m absolutely certain. Never, ever, ask me to go potholing with you again.’