I wake at six to an unfamiliar ceiling. Alex is snoring, and I can just hear the sounds of Ben stirring next door. So I must be in the right place. It takes a moment for realisation to dawn with the sunlight peeking through the cracks in the curtain. We won, though I never thought we would. We Won. Therefore We Moved. And now my life will change in – oh, so many ways.
I don’t need to stagger out of bed, and peek out of that curtain, to know the street below will be full of paparazzi. I’ve no intention of doing that – giving them the chance of a rapid snap. Me in my nightie with my hair all over the place. No doubt the day will come and I’ll let down my guard. Some photographer will get lucky on the back of my hitched up skirt or drunken pratfall. But not today.
Cherie, Sarah, Sam. They’ve all been here before me. Modern women – who juggled careers and children and lived lives independent from their husbands – until they reached this bedroom. How did they stand it? Cherie, one of the brightest of her generation, reduced in the public eye to a scrounging scally. Didn’t Sarah have a job in PR once? Somehow it submerged into twitter and her husband’s smelly socks. As for Sam, she gave it all up the minute she crossed the threshold. A family can only take one alpha parent after all. And someone has to be at home for the kids.
Of course I supported Alex when he said he wanted to be party leader. A girl wants to stand by her man when thinks he’s in with a chance. I just didn’t expect him to get it. Still, I thought, it won’t last long, we can return to obscurity soon. No-one expected the Prime Minister to call a snap election, but it should have been a shoo-in. Our electoral pain should have been over in a month. We should have lost with dignity, and got on with the rest of our lives, knowing, that at least we tried.
All it took was a few thousand votes. A two percent swing the other way and we’d have been back at home drowning our sorrows. Because of those few thousand people bothering to go to the ballot box, I’m lying here staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. Wondering how the hell we manage a life that had enough complexity in it already.
The clock blinks six fifteen in red digitalised numbers. Ben potters into the room and climbs in bed for an early morning cuddle. Alex continues to snore. In a minute, Alice will wake. In a minute, I’ll have to work out where we have breakfast, find school uniforms, determine how we get them there. In a minute Alex will be woken and dragged off into a world that will consume him utterly. I doubt that I will see him much before tea time.
A woman’s work is never done.