It is Sunday morning. After a friend’s birthday dinner at Le Chapeau Melon the previous night and a few glasses of wine, I’m feeling sluggish. It’s been weeks since I’ve managed to sleep in. When I’m feeling stressed and highly strung I wake early, my overactive brain skittering uncontrollably from worry to worry until I can’t bear it any more and have to haul myself out of bed to escape my own thoughts. But today I’m so snug, my head’s so empty, that I just want to savour the feeling of warm bed, the back of my hand grazing The Boy’s smooth buttock.
The problem, of course, is that I’m supposed to be taking Tadpole to her water play session (I hesitate to call it swimming class, as there is still no sign of any teaching element whatsoever). I have to go: it’s paid for, she loves it and I even made the mistake of mentioning it when I got up to make her breakfast a few hours earlier. She’s watching a DVD at present in the next room while I drift in and out of sleep, rain pattering comfortingly against the windowpane. There’s no way she will have forgotten.
I hear a noise, and it takes me a while to register whether the culprit is the doorbell, the alarm clock, or one of the four mobile phones The Boy and I have lying around the room. By the time I work out what is going on and have crawled across the room, a message has been left on my phone. The number is an unfamiliar land line, and I contemplate replacing phone in handbag without investigating further. Then again, maybe someone somewhere has just answered my prayers. So I dial “888″ and clamp the phone to my ear to listen, a smile slowly spreading across my face.
‘Bonjour, je vous appelle de la piscine Grange aux Belles,’ says the voice. It’s the jovial lady with a poodle perm who guards the swimming pool entrance, usually armed with a large tin of assorted sweets. ‘La séance de 11h30 est annulée,’ she says breathlessly, probably making her twentieth identical call. ‘En raison d’un caca dans l’eau.’
‘Hallelujah,’ I say, glancing at the clock, which reads 11.15 am. I slip between the covers, unable to believe my good fortune.