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We give birth to them, watch them grow, laugh with them, rage at their messiness, moan at their awful tastes in music, clothes and friends, celebrate their successes at school, weep at their portrayal of the fourth sheep from the left in the nativity play… we love them from day one.
I never once wished that my Matthew – Matt, or at a push and when he didn’t complain too much, Matty – had been born a daughter rather than the wonderful son he always seemed to be. I never had brothers around when I was growing up, just my older sister, Maisie (hah! – I got the cute name) so a baby boy was always a fascination for me. And that fascination went on and on, from tiny squealing brat to… well, to teenage squealing brat – with all the joys and woes in-between.
But then he finished his A levels, and after eighteen and a half years, the house was suddenly deprived of his vibrant, often noisy, presence. My little baby boy went off to university and left only silence in his wake.
I should have been shocked. Maybe even dismayed. I know a lot of other mothers are. I can understand why, I suppose, but only at a theoretical level.
And if the ending of that little pastiche, that small slice of my life – exactly half of it, in fact – sounds abrupt and perhaps even a little callous, well, believe me when I say I have good reason to feel that way.
Let me tell you about the summer that has just passed and perhaps you’ll understand why.
Back in July the mood was light and free from care. Matt had just finished his exams and was oozing confidence in his performance, not to mention experiencing a not-really-begrudged hangover or two as he had turned eighteen and celebrated with a few beers. Or more, to judge by the hangdog looks I saw on a couple of mornings after his birthday.
My son and I knew that he would have just a couple of months together before he embarked on the next stage of his life and that those weeks were going to pass far too quickly – for me, at least – but they were there and they were to be enjoyed to the fullest extent.
I had been a single parent all of Matt’s life, pretty much always by choice. Matthew wasn’t a planned baby by any stretch of the imagination, conceived when I was just seventeen, a wonderful product of a stupid, stupid, liaison with a guy at a party (oh, the glamour) when I became one of the unfortunate victims of too much vodka and too little control. But there was no chance on this – or any – planet that I wouldn’t carry him to birth and beyond.
He was born just a day after my eighteenth birthday and other than the ‘occasional’ scream during his delivery, I never complained about missing out on my coming-of-age drinks. I didn’t even complain about missing out on a place at university myself. I’d finally found a true love who surpassed everyone and everything, and as sickly-sweet as it might sound to some, Matty was my miracle.
My parents weren’t shocked by the mewling arrival, of course – why else had their daughter suddenly developed a beach-ball belly and a craving for prawns and marmite (don’t go there)? – and they did their best to help me set up a home for my baby. My mother occasionally suggested that I find myself a partner (my father was more interested in me finding Matt’s true father and pinning him to a wall by six-inch nails through his scrotum), but by and large they were just happy to help me look after their tiny grandson. I had vague ideas that I might meet a nice guy and bring him into the family fold but those thoughts were never more than pipe dreams and there was never any deep or urgent desire within me.
Time passed and the nappies gave way to cotton shorts and my nipples stopped screaming in agony every few hours. The constant ‘whys’ gave way to ‘my friend says’ and ‘The Big Bad Wolf’ gave way to ‘Smaegol’. He grew up, in other words.
It won’t surprise any of you to hear that it wasn’t all easy cruising up that path – he was accident prone between the ages of four and seven, to the point where he managed to break his arm on a bouncy castle just after his sixth birthday – but in the main he was just a normal toddler/kid. My own life varied between the friendless near-destitute to the oh-so popular recipient of a massive bequest from my father’s last will and testament. I was happier when penniless, I’m almost sure.
What I’m trying to say is that it was a pretty much normal life for me and my boy. Sure, for his seventh birthday I managed to get him photographed with his then sporting idol – David someone-or-other who played football for someone-or-other (guess who’s not the sport addict?) – but other than pandering to his tastes on one other occasion by following a soap-opera ‘star’ around a supermarket for half-an-hour one wet Saturday morning, life was dull but fun. We weren’t always entirely delighted with life, but there were precious few times when we were actually genuinely sad.
Being a ‘team’ with no one else to distract us made sure that we were close, but we were just team mates and nothing canlı bahis more. Odd things happen, of course, but they are just tiny meaningless events – nothing more than tiny anomalies in a great, vast expanse of normality. Well, at least that’s what I thought.
To this day, and even knowing what I know now, I can’t say with any certainty that things started back in the ancient days when Matt was still no more than a young boy rather than the lanky, smiling and confident teenager that he’s become now. If anything, my slightly stretched mind is telling me that any link is pure coincidence, but there was a laughingly, shockingly funny day – I thought – when Matt was about ten years younger than he is now, when he came up to me in the kitchen one day (a Sunday, if I recall correctly) and said to me with an openness that sadly, and pretty much mostly, men go on to lose, ‘mum, why are your knickers so smooth and silky?’.
As I say, it was both funny and not a little surprising, but I remember having a lot of trouble not shrieking with laughter as I tried desperately not to be a bad mum and tell him off for asking a perfectly unreasonable – but typically youthful – question.
“Matty!” (he never argued about his ‘proper’ name back then), “You mustn’t go around asking women about their knickers like that!” My giggling brain kicked in, “And anyway, how come you know what my underwear feels like?”
With the total insouciance of youth, he shrugged – only hindsight adds the slightly defensive attitude – and just said, “Well you make me hang them on the washing line sometimes.”
That was both true and explanatory, allowing my laughter a conscience-free escape. Even his follow up remark didn’t bother me (‘why can you see right through them when they’re always under your skirt?’). If anything, I will admit to wondering just the same thing myself in retrospect, later that day.
But as I say, I thought that was just one of those one-off oddities. And maybe it still is. Maybe.
Little Matthew became much bigger Matthew over the next decade, and for the last four years he’s been both taller and heavier than me – two things he has always been keen to point out. Quite why normal genetics has been something for him to gloat about I’m not really sure. Or at least, I wasn’t.
One piece of genetic engineering we both share – other than hair that’s almost black – is the fact that we’re both tremendously ticklish. Not long after his exams and his eighteenth birthday hangovers all of our genetic similarities – and differences – came to a head.
For the longest time – all of his life, pretty much – I had been able to tease and control him with no more than a finger in his ribs. Once he was giggling like the female he very much isn’t, control was mine.
I was no bully and it was always either in fun or to induce fun when he was mooning around in a teenage depression. It was a game, and one we had shared since he was barely able to walk. As the years progressed he found that it worked on me as well, and a play-wrestle with fingers poised to tickle became something of a ritual, a habit.
I wasn’t too shocked then when he took me by surprise one summer morning a couple of months ago – a well-placed finger ran down my ribs as I stood moaning about the amount of washing up I was being forced to do one Sunday morning.
I was standing at the kitchen sink, still in my nightie and robe, soapy water up to my elbows. I shrieked – as much a shocked laugh than shock alone – and span to face my grinning tormentor.
“Don’t you dare!”
“What’s up, ma? I thought it might brighten your mood.”
“Matt – Matty – you shouldn’t pick on a defenceless woman like that!”
My son grinned ever-wider, “I could have sworn you tried to teach me that picking the best moment to attack was the perfect tactic. What better time than when you’re not able to respond?”
I grabbed a tea-towel and mopped at my hands, pretending to look anywhere other than at my smiling son, “There is such a thing as cowardice when you pick on a helpless victim, you know?”
“You’re not calling me a coward now, are you?”
I turned back to the sink and a stubborn plate, noting briefly that in his shorts and t-shirt, my little man was a prime target for a soaking, “If the cap fits, wear it, my little chicken.” In my hands, under the soapy surface of the water, I had got hold of a cloth, ready for what I suspected would follow – another finger down my ribs.
I was so close to spinning around with the wet cloth held in front of me the second I felt his hand sneak forward that his next move caught me completely off guard.
Instead of extending a sneaky finger, my boy stepped right up behind me, one arm snaking around me to hold both of mine, pinning me to the edge of the sink. Before I could so much as gather my wits, let alone try to work out a new defence strategy, his free hand slipped under the hem of my robe and the hem of my nightie, his fingers tickling bare flesh as they rose up past my hip, bahis siteleri past the waistband of my panties, and then up my ribs to my armpit. I really squealed then and tried to push myself away from the sink even as I was trying to force his hand back down.
Two things happened at the same time – as far as I can recall – which stopped me in my tracks.
My body naturally started to rotate as I pushed back and those tickling fingers were suddenly on the exposed flesh of the side of my right breast. Bad, for sure, but not compared to the other thing.
As I heaved backwards, my body pressed against Matthew – my butt against the front of his shorts and thighs – and I could feel the heat and hardness, yes hardness, there.
I froze, midway into a giggling ‘stop it!’ – and then I really yelled.
His hands shot away from me and he made no move to stop me as I span and faced him. He didn’t even so much as flinch when I brought the flat of my own right hand around in a short arc, slapping his face as hard as I could.
There was a shocked silence from both of us. I’d never so much as smacked his legs for him when he’d been a naughty kid, and my regret poured through me.
“Oh shit, Matty… Matt, I’m so sorry! I just… it was such a sur-”
“Ma, it’s okay,” he managed, “I don’t know what I was thinking. That was so fucking… sorry… so stupid!”
“Language,” I said, absently, my mind still whirling, “But honey, you know that was so wrong, don’t you?”
He turned away and slunk to the table, resting his hands on the surface, “Of course. I just… I don’t know what came over me!”
I followed up behind him and patted his back gently, “I understand,” I told him as firmly as I could manage. “Things fascinate a teenage mind, right?”
I couldn’t hear his response at first and made him repeat it. “I said,” he sighed, louder, “that you’re right. It was all so sudden, spur of the moment… I’ve never…”
“Never? Never what?” My mind was starting to spin again.
“Never touched a woman’s t… breast before, okay?”
He span and faced me, cheeks blazing red, “Yes, okay? Yes! I have never ever touched bare skin there. Only even touched a bra twice, got it?”
His sudden anger was no shock, but on the other hand I was surprised. Matt had been out with at least three steady girlfriends and I thought that surely he must have… The look in his eyes, partway between anger and shame, cranked my surprise up another notch even as it leant understanding to his shocking actions at the sink.
“Oh, Matty, I never realised that.”
His anger flared higher “Oh, so you would have just let me carry on then if you’d known, is that it? Let your own son feel your tits?”
“Don’t be stupid! I just mean…” But what I meant was now lost in the whirlpool of emotions hammering around my empty head, “I just mean that I wouldn’t have been so mean about it. Wouldn’t have smacked you.”
Matthew stared at me, his anger seemingly dissipating, “If it’s any consolation, I’m sorry.”
I shook my head, “It’s me that should be sorry. But it was such a shock and…” I glanced down at his shorts, “And, well, I could tell it was all so exciting for you.”
He looked away, “I guess there’s no denying that either, is there?”
“Hardy… I mean hardly.”
Matt’s head snapped back to face me, “That wasn’t funny!”
“Oh, honey, I know, okay? It was a genuine slip of the tongue.” And it was, I’m almost certain.
It looked as if my son was giving me the benefit of the doubt, “Well I’m sorry about that as well, okay?”
I shrugged – I was lost, but at least some part of my brain was managing to string a couple of logical thoughts together, “Stop apologising. Under the circumstances, I guess that was a pretty natural reaction for a teenage guy as well. Even if I am a ratty old woman now.”
“Ratty? Ma… you’re gorgeous! And that’s what makes it even worse.”
Any semblance of logical thought disappeared faster than a politician’s promise after a successful election. “I’m what? And how does that… I mean… I’m what?”
“I said gorgeous and I guess I really mean it.”
My boy’s words were odd but very nice. I tried to ignore the slight thrill it stupidly sent through me, and made myself focus on the ever-more miserable young man in front of me, “Well, that’s all very nice of you to say but…”
“I know, I know. I shouldn’t have let myself get carried away, should I?” He turned away again, “I’m such a total fuck up!”
“Well I am!”
“It was just the heat of the moment, honey, stop being so mean to yourself.” I could scarcely believe that I was now effectively defending my boy’s extremely bad behaviour, but I was suffering both shock – was I truly gorgeous to anyone’s eyes anymore? – and a natural motherly reaction as Matthew’s mood turned more and more sorrowful. To my further horror I saw his shoulders begin to tremble. “Honey? Matt?”
He stayed bahis şirketleri facing away from me but I knew there were tears, the evidence dripping from his voice, “I am so, so, so, sorry ma!”
“Oh, honey! Don’t!” I moved close to him, tried to turn him to face me.
“Stop it. I can’t even look at you, ma!”
There was no way I was going to let my lovely son treat himself that way. My mind was addled and wrong-footed, and there was an underlying feeling of something that was both very wrong and very appealing.
“Look, honey, listen. If I’d known… known everything… Oh, fuck it, if I’d been prepared in any way for something like to happen I would have let you, okay?” His shoulders stilled but still he wouldn’t turn, “Matthew! It just caught me by surprise, okay? But really… it might not have been exactly normal but it wasn’t bad, okay?” Something inside me was losing control and starting to be way too honest. “If you’d made it clear what you wanted, well… if I’d been given a chance to prepare… I wouldn’t have stopped you, okay. Matthew?” Just saying the words aloud sent the strangest feelings coursing through my flesh and the heat they generated deep inside my belly was both a shock and, I couldn’t deny it, a deep pleasure. “Matthew? Please look at me!”
He turned then and I saw the look of disbelief etched onto his misery-raddled face, “You’re just trying to make me feel better, aren’t you?”
I couldn’t control that inner voice any longer, and perhaps I didn’t want to. “No, Matt, honestly no. Maybe I just want my lovely son to be happy but that’s just by-the-by right now. What you did was a surprise… a shock… but it wasn’t a bad one.”
The look of confusion in his eyes matched my own scattered thoughts precisely, “Are you serious, ma?”
“Yes,” I said. And suddenly I was.
“I’m not sure I can believe-“
The last of my self-control was consumed by this new wrong-but-unmistakably-real sense of arousal that was now flooding through me, “I’m prepared now, honey.”
“I don’t understand…”
By the second the arousal was doubling in size and I knew that all control had long departed, “I mean, honey, if you tried to tickle me under my nightie right now, if you tried to touch me… well there wouldn’t be any smacking.”
“That’d still be so wrong though, right?”
I shrugged, “Maybe I don’t care. Maybe making you happy means way more.” I snorted a laugh, “And before you say it, it’s not just you who might feel happy.”
“Do you mean…”
“What have I told you about grabbing hold of any chances that come your way? Stop trying to talk yourself out of this.” To emphasise the point I quickly tugged open the robe. My heart racing, I reached forward and tickled my son’s arm.
I thought for a few seconds that he wouldn’t react, that I’d maybe pushed things too far. But of course, he was male and apparently desperate. With a nervous smile he pushed my hand away and with just the tiniest of delays, his fingers found my left hip, skittering over the cotton of the nightie before digging into my ribs.
I giggled – a combination of my wish to reassure him and a display of nervous tension escaping me – and began to back away. “If you’re not careful you’re going to end up with my tit in your hand again!”
“And then you’ll slap me again?”
I knew this was my last chance. But so did my over-aroused libido. “Not this time, honey.”
His fingers stopped moving, “You’re kidding me.”
I shook my head, “No.”
Matt moved his hand until it was directly under my left breast, “I really will do it, ma.”
His jaw fell open, “Oh fuck, you really mean it, don’t you?”
“Stop swearing and start taking a golden opportunity. If you really think I’m okay-looking, then do it!”
“Oh ma, you’re so much better than okay.” With infinite care he cupped his fingers and lifted the hand.
Inside the thin fabric of the nightie my nipples were rigid, and the left one felt the pressure of my son’s palm before the full weight of my breast nestled into his palm. I started to moan softly from the very first touch, aware that this was all wrong but even more aware that this was the most aroused and thrilled I had felt in more years than I could recall.
“I’m not hurting you, am I ma?”
I shook my head, biting my lip, the dust-cloud left behind by my fast-fleeing reserve and common-sense couldn’t even be seen on the horizon. “No. And you did say you wanted to feel a breast and I guess that means you think mine are better than just okay.”
“I said they’re gorgeous but right now I’m going to risk another slap.”
My heart-rate took another jump, “I won’t slap you but prepare me What do you mean?”
He swallowed hard – really, “I said before I’ve felt Kat’s breasts through her bra…”
“You didn’t say which girl it was, but yes… and?”
“You’ll slap me when I say it.”
“Honey, I’m already standing here letting you fondle my tit. Loving it, to be fair. Just say it.”
He swallowed again, “I said I’d never felt a bare breast.”
A puzzled frown passed over his features, “What?”
I shrugged my shoulders and the robe slipped to the floor, “So, take my nightie off.”
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