As usual I was up making the breakfast while Ruth took a shower and prepared for work. Glancing out of the window at the dull glow of the street lamp, it was satisfying to realise that working at home as a writer has at least one great advantage. It was pouring down outside and more felt comfortable to be staying in the warm on such a horrible day as today. Outside was still quite dark, with almost horizontal rain and temperatures only just above freezing.
Normally Ruth takes her bike to work, however today would be the bus for sure. The bus stop is very practically at the end of the street, only a hundred yards from our house, and running every ten minutes makes it very convenient. It also drops her only a few yards from her office building.
During breakfast Ruth was extremely preoccupied with a crucial presentation that she needed to deliver that morning, so I didn’t want to break her concentration and therefore just quietly made her porridge with oranges, the way she likes. I enjoy this new life of looking after her, after so many years where I was the one who disappeared away on business trips on a weekly basis, early in the morning. She always made sure that I was cared for and hadn’t forgotten anything important. Now, in my semi-retired state, working from home, I enjoyed the ability to return the love and care that she has shown for so many years.
As usual I was still in my pyjamas as we sat at the breakfast table quietly enjoying the warm Earl Grey and gently supping the steaming porridge. Suddenly her mobile phone rang.
“Morning John, wow you are up and about early this morning. What’s up?”
I assumed that it was her boss, John Spencer, although it was most unusual to hear from him during out-of-office hours.
“OK, I will be there as quickly as I can,” Ruth ended the call with a slight look of consternation on her face.
“I’m so sorry love, I must dash off. John has stressed the importance of my presentation this morning and wants to have a final go through with me before the customers arrive at ten o’clock. He says to apologise to you but he needs me there right away. There are millions riding on this contract.”
“Ruth, are you sure that you want to go out in this rain? I can drive you, honestly it’s no problem.”
“Thanks, but I must hurry. By the time you have got dressed and the car out of the garage I will be on the bus.”
While she quickly collected her laptop and handbag I went through to our integral garage in my slippers and pyjamas, opened the garage door and was on the drive tapping the horn before she was out of the front door. “Come on,” I said with a cheeky smile that I know that she loves. “I thought that you were in a hurry.”
“But sweetheart, you are in your jimjams. What if…?”
“Aw, come on. It’s only ten minutes’ drive. I am ok. I’ll be back before my tea is cold. No risk, no fun.”
Ruth climbed in saying something about her crazy husband.
As we pulled out of the driveway she said, “Well, you be careful that no one sees you in those pyjamas. You have no pants on and they are so loose I can even see Mr Wiggly from here. Watch he doesn’t get a chill.”
Our eyes connected lustily and we were both smiling. It was a cheeky, but very pleasant moment between us.
“Ha. At my age I don’t think people would take any more notice Ruth. There’s not much to look at these days.”
“I know you’re just fishing for compliments, but hard luck,” she returned grinning from ear to ear.
The rain really was awful. I dropped her outside of her office, where the lights showed that John was already there.
“Well, good luck with the presentation. Text me if all goes well and I will put a nice bottle of sparkly in the fridge for when you come home,” I offered, kissing her full on the lips as she climbed out of the car.
“Thanks sweetie. You are a real darling. I won’t be too late home. Love you.”
She slammed the car door shut, which always drives me mad. Why do women always treat mechanical things as though they are the enemy? I smiled as she dashed to the office doorway to get out of the rain. “God, I love this woman.”
I knew that it would take me slightly longer to get back home as the direction to Ruth’s office was heading out of town and against the general traffic flow in the morning. The route back home is therefore with all the traffic going into town. As expected, it was stop and go most of the way.
As I edged my way around the Roundtree Roundabout my engine stopped. This is one of the main junctions onto the ring road, and is nearly always heavily congested at this time in the morning. I thought that I had just stalled and tried to start it up again. I was halfway around the roundabout and people were already honking at me.
After a couple of tries I knew that the car wouldn’t start. It was like an early premonition. I came to that absolutely clear understanding that it was bound to happen. In six years this car had always been one hundred per cent reliable. On the one day where I take a risk by leaving the house in my pyjamas, without my mobile phone, without even any bloody underpants on…..on this day when it is pissing down of rain, in my slippers. On this day when I am going to feel like the biggest pillock this side of the M5, my car is definitely not going to start. The heavy rain had gotten into the engine somehow.
I tried a few more times but to no avail. By now the traffic was jockeying for position and many angry motorists were blasting on their horn. After what seemed like hours, but in reality was probably less than a minute, someone rapped on the driver’s door. I wound down the window with one hand while holding the flies of my pyjamas closed with the other. “What the hell are you doing?” a guy in a green rain jacket shrieked at me. “Get out and let’s push your car off the road otherwise you will cause chaos.”
“But…..but….I can’t,” I stammered. “I have no clothes on.”
All of my bravado with Ruth from twenty minutes earlier was now gone. I felt totally vulnerable. Of course, I was responsible for my own car and had to do something, but how could I? What a stupid situation.
The guy took one look at me and grinned. “Boy, have you blown it? Do you normally drive around in your pyjamas? This is some kind of fetish that I have never heard of before” He was now laughing and thoroughly enjoying the situation, waiting to see what I would do.
I became angry, more at myself than him. I was not going to shy away and hide, but brave it through. I stepped out of the car and asked him to help me push it off the road. It was difficult with all the traffic and rain. It was still raining as hard as ever.
As we reached the curb we had to give an extra shove to bounce the car over onto the grass verge. I was steering and pushing from the driver’s door while my helper was pushing from the rear. Luckily he was a big strong guy who took most of the weight.
At the moment the car bounced over the curbstone I slipped on the wet grass verge, thereby losing my grip on the car and falling flat on my face in the mud. The momentum of the car, still under full force of my helping “friend”, rolled on across the grass verge and pavement, finally coming to a halt against a lamppost, which was now leaning over like the Tower Of Pisa.
I lay on the grass, feeling the cold wet mud against my soggy little penis. I remember thinking that this would be a good time to die. I had no more dignity. I had no idea what to do. I turned to ask my assistant to ask if he could phone for help, and maybe lend me a blanket or something…anything. He had gone! The traffic was buzzing by with people waving at me, laughing, as they drove past. I stood, dripping wet, covered in mud, still clinging onto the soggy crotch of my pyjamas to protect that one last little bit of self-esteem.
I knew that I had to remove myself from this situation. I couldn’t simply stand there like this, hoping that something would happen to put me out of this misery. I locked the car, left it exactly where is was and headed for home. It was nearly two miles in the freezing rain, but I supposed that walking along was better than staying.
After less than a hundred yards I suddenly realised that I had only one slipper on. My feet had become so cold that I had been walking barefoot, without knowing it. The situation surely couldn’t get any worse. I seemed to be just flitting from one disaster to another.
I wouldn’t go back for my slipper. It would be more humiliation than I could have taken. Instead I broke into a slow jog and decided that I could be home in fifteen minutes if I kept going. It was really hard. Every now and then my penis jumped out of my pyjamas and I had to quickly put it back in. It was also now starting to become light and I was extremely worried about being reported or caught for indecency.
I almost fell against the door of the house when I arrived, so relieved to finally be home. My feet were completely numb with the cold. The bare one was bleeding in a few places. I actually began to laugh, almost hysterically, as I realised that all would be ok and I could be in a hot bath within minutes. I could smell the bath foam already.
As I lifted my key ring to put the right key into the door, I saw that the house key was not there. Somehow it had come free and was lost. I almost broke into tears. I remember thinking that you couldn’t even make this story up. Such a run of bad luck means that surely someone up there is against me. I began to take it personally.
In this condition it was all the same to me whether I smashed a window to get in or not. I was beyond caring. I just wanted to get into a warm safe place. I was just about to push through the door window with my elbow, when I remembered that the bathroom window was usually left open at the back of the house.
I hobbled round the house to confirm my thoughts and sure enough it was wide open. I knew that if I could climb up I would be able to reach through and open the bigger window. Ruth is always complaining that I leave this window open, but I argue that we are in a very safe neighbourhood.
I bravely walked down to the shed, by now oblivious to the rain and thorns underfoot, as most of my body had reached a state of complete numbness. I collected the ladder and placed it against the house. It was easy to climb up and reach in and open the main window. The difficult part was to climb in, which I did head first, sliding my body through bit by bit.
As I was half in my pyjama bottoms caught on the window latch, but to be honest, by this time I didn’t care anymore. I pulled myself in, landing in a messy heap directly into the bath, and remember thinking, “Well, at least I have landed in the right place for once!”
I spent at least an hour basking in the warm water and replaying my nightmare over and over again. I decided to play it down when Ruth came home as it was far too embarrassing to let her know what happened.
Once I was warm and dressed again I called the local police station to explain what had happened. Surprisingly, they were very understanding and although they had initially treated the accident with the lamppost as a hit and run, they would not be pressing any charges. I think that they thought I had had enough for one day.
I also called the local garage to rescue my car. They offered me a courtesy car which could be collected later.
I sat back and grinned to myself that all is well that ends well.
Ruth sent me a text later that afternoon to say that the presentation had been a total success and that she was looking forward to the evening at home with a good meal and nice bottle of wine.
I prepared something special for her and even lit the candles to create a romantic and warm atmosphere.
During the meal we chatted about her presentation. She said that John was so excited about this contract that she thinks she could be in for a hefty bonus this year. She asked me what happened to the car as we had a different one on the drive. I just casually mentioned that I had a small problem with ours and this was a courtesy car from the garage, which we could keep until they repaired it, in a couple of days time.
We had a lovely evening. After the meal I put some soft sensual music on and we cuddled together on the couch. As Ruth lay in my arms she asked me if everything had gone well this morning after I dropped her off. She had a look on her face which told me that she had something else on her mind. I answered as nonchalantly as I could, “Of course darling. It’s like I said this morning; no risk, no fun.”
She looked me straight in the eyes and said determinedly, “Roger, if I ask you just one thing, do you promise to answer me truthfully?”
“Of course,” I said, “what is it?”
“Why are your muddy pyjama bottoms hanging outside from our bathroom window?”
I gulped. My bad day wasn’t over yet.