One day after my daughter found an entire crop of grey hairs in my beard, something pretty terrifying happened to me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my wife laugh so much…but I still haven’t recovered. Here’s what went down:
It started with the beard. My daughter is exactly like my wife when it comes to pointing out things that are happening to me as a result of the ageing process. Often, she will pick at my face as I’m talking, occasionally in the middle of important conversations.
Most of the time, it’s dirt, flakes, anything she can rip out.
‘Beard flakes, daddy.’
But today was different.
‘Sorry, daddy – I saw some flakes and I can’t get them out.’
‘ARGGHH! STOP IT!’
‘Oh, wait – it’s white hair, daddy. Like Gandalf.’
‘Yes – just like the ones at the back of your head.’
‘There’s loads of them but I’m not supposed to tell you in case you get sad.’
I run off to check with two mirrors and, sure enough, I’m starting to go grey. Don’t get me wrong; it looks amazing and when you’re ginger pretty much anything is a level up but grey hair means getting old and I don’t DO that.
I work out a lot. I wear my son’s t-shirts to show off my sleek shape. I’m one of THOSE guys who sits at a table with his mates in stuff two sizes too small and has to breathe in the entire time.
Now, apparently, I’ve aged thirty years overnight.
I spend the rest of the day worrying sick about the decline…and then it happens.
The following morning, after a really horrible nightmare where I’m stuck in an old people’s home being slapped around by three cruel nurses and a twisted teenage orderly called Malcolm, I wake up to find that I’m in pain.
I lie there, really uncomfortable from the waist down, slowly turning to look at my wife.
She’s looking back at me with a curious expression. ‘Morning! What’s wrong? You look like you’re in pain.’
I wince. ‘I think my back has gone in the night. It feels twisted at the bottom; I’m almost frightened to move.’
‘You do TOO much exercise.’
‘I know, but….’
Then I feel it. A sharp, uncomfortable feeling, right under my bum cheeks, as if I’m lying on a rock.
I wriggle a bit, reach down into my underpants at the back and freeze as my entire body tenses and my mind tries to cope with the shock of what I’ve just realized.
I’ve SHIT myself.
My mouth opens in a twisted grimace of horror and I just lie there, feeling what is unmistakably a turd in my pants.
‘Oh NO – PLEASE NO –‘
‘What?’ My wife immediately sits up in bed. ‘What is it? What’s wrong?’
‘I don’t believe it. I – I can’t have –‘
‘This is ridiculous – nobody goes downhill THIS fast!’
‘Will you tell me!’
‘I’ve shit myself!’
‘WHAT? Don’t be ridiculous!’
‘I’m SERIOUS. I can feel it.’
‘Are you TOUCHING it?’
‘Yes! I had to see what it was! I thought I was lying on something but it’s INSIDE MY PANTS!’
‘I don’t believe you! Get it out!’
‘I’m frightened to look!’
‘GET IT OUT OF THE BED!’
I shut my eyes with the horror, grab the thing that’s wedged halfway up my bum and pull out….
….one of my daughter’s toys. It’s about the size of a miniature Russian Doll and shaped exactly like two small pebbles glued together.
My wife begins to collapse in fits of laughter but I just can’t stop staring at it….because the fear is STILL there and my heart is still beating out of my chest.
‘How many times have we told them not to leave stuff in our bed?’ I snap. ‘How many TIMES?’
It’s now a week later and I can still feel the fear. I guess I don’t mind getting older (not if you consider the alternative) but I’m just not ready to fill my shorts YET.
The Thing in the Bed was written by Davey Stone on 25 April, 2021.