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The Sex Life of My Aunt

by Mavis Cheek

Like many a girl of my time, I was taught from an early age to know my place.

Pagina 2
Poverty and hard grind forbade either of those two women to speak of love when physical survival was all.

Pagina 4
So - anyway - you tend not to flirt, because flirting comes from confidence.

Pagina 6
He loved me with gratifying desperation

Pagina 9
The main thing for a bashful girl in those days was to appear not to know the effect she was having, while having it.

Pagina 11
Being courted by Francis allowed me to open my arms to what money can buy and what old money, generally, already owns. Quality, elegance. The absolute quality and elegance that goes with wealth.

Pagina 17
after Corfu I had a sense that there was something wild and wonderful out there that I had never experienced, and now never would. [...] I just knew that there was something so all-engulfing that people were even prepared to die for it. Unless Balzac and Shakespeare and Puccini were liars.

Pagina 18
For me, working was a kind of sanity.

Pagina 19
When we began sharing a bed together again we were so careful, so newborn, so considerate and gentle, that it was like another honeymoon. Looking back, I realize that was what he had in mind, though he never said.

Pagina 20
Memo to young women seeking older men: dignity is all.

Pagina 22
After leaving his father's business, Bruce was a one-man band, and he remained a one-man band, and he made plumbing an art.

Pagina 22
It seemed to me that success or good fortune was something you celebrated - not resented

Pagina 24
There is something very seductive, very soothing, in being cared about, while being cared for. No wonder women took so long to gain the vote.

Pagina 26
They could build a little kingdom of men in the moon nowadays but they still couldn't cure either the common cold - or the common cancer. Fishy, in my opinion.

Pagina 27
"Why do we go on?" I asked. Not really of him, more of the world in general. I was still staring at the railway lines.
"To see what's around the corner?" he asked.
"Hrmpg." I said. Sorrow allows you to be impolite.
"To see if there's anything better round the corner, perhaps?"
That seemed adequate, so I nodded.

Pagina 37
I understood, quite suddenly, how lucky I was to be alive.

Pagina 39
You can take your grief to Gandhi's memorial and the place blesses you somehow. Different values.

Pagina 45
It was the perfect example of what a difference money makes at any age you like.

Pagina 46
Those two did badly for themselves, very badly indeed. In both cases men were their ruin, as I remember hearing. My mother because she met and married a bastard, my Auntie Daff because she bore an illegitimate child by one.

Pagina 55
Dangerous, stupid... were other words that came to mind.
It is a very terrible happiness that particular happiness.

Pagina 56
you kiss again and walk tightly bundled up together, just about daring to say how happy you feel, knowing it is already cursed.

Pagina 56
it suddenly dawns on you that this hiding is no children's game, but something very grown up indeed - so grown up that it is even known as adultery.

Pagina 57
I don't recommend it, but I couldn't give it up.

Pagina 62
May is the most beautiful month in which to be newly in love.

Pagina 64
So to be deceiving him was like spitting in the eye of all that is best in the world.

Pagina 73
Up until Matthew, I was a sensible woman.

Pagina 78
he's the only man I've ever met that can get away with wearing yellow

Pagina 80
But much greater than the fear of being caught was the thrill of that possibility.

Pagina 87
Tim just smiled genially

Pagina 88
It is a very good job that alcohol goes down without need for chewing and almost no swallowing. Any activity demanding muscular control was almost beyond me.

Pagina 92
If there is one thing passion does for you, it is to reduce your brain to childlike proportions. Anything grown-up that comes along just cannot find space among all the spangly candyfloss. So I concentrated. At least I might get some idea of where this Wrong Thing was going.

Pagina 93
I wasn't convinced then - I believed it now. You could cheat anyone if they loved you.

Pagina 99
High moral ground coming out of its ears. Two honourable men in one woman's lifetime might be more than this particular woman could handle.

Pagina 99
wishing, with all my heart, that I had dares to Just Say No.

Pagina 101
In clean, out clean, was the old-fashioned villain's motto.

Pagina 107
she was at the mercy of her temperament and her high intelligence, in an age when both were considered unnecessary in a woman, but unlike Wollstonecraft, as far as I could tell, she never fell in love to her detriment.

Pagina 110
Yet I could see no way out of it because I did not seem capable of making that choice. No use putting my head in my hands and saying I was driven to it. I was hurtling towards a disaster at my own volition, almost triumphantly.

Pagina 110
Bad blood will out.

Pagina 111
Sometimes, if I thought about it at all, I wondered if it wouldn't have just been much easier to revert to my maternal blueprint and gone out and found myself a big, butch bastard.

Pagina 117
The best way to overcome the suffering was to clothe it in dignity. And one way to find dignity was to get clothed.

Pagina 119
For the first time I felt irresponsible, and I loved every minute of it.

Pagina 119
Matthew, like Francis, had been loved as a child. He was good with people.

Pagina 131
It is cruel and vile, but you cannot stop doing it.

Pagina 131
If I spent Sunday night to Friday morning with my lover, I could be happy wife for the ret of the time.

Pagina 132
In deference to the greater cause of our pleasure. It was beyond pleasure, actually, the contemplation.

Pagina 144
If it hadn't been cruel, it would have been funny.

Pagina 155
I was desperate. Miserable. Where was my lover? Why was he not chained to his telephone?

Pagina 163
When it has gone completely, I told myself, I will be happy again. Or, if not happy, content again. Or if not happy and content, then at least at peace.

Pagina 172
he had reminded me that this man had seen every single aspect of human nature and that sensitivity was not his forte. Results were.

Pagina 177
I never liked the girl. She was always showing off with her educational toys and piano lessons and pointing out how poor we were. She seemed to think it meant we had no brains as well.

Pagina 233
Those tight, tight shoes. The agony. I managed to wear them all day and every day and I never once told anyone for the whole four-day visit that they had rubbed blisters on the ends of my big tow. Had I known anything about it I would have thought of myself as a little saint with so much silent suffering. But children have instincts and my instinct was that, if I told on the shoes, I was really letting my mother down. To her being poor was a very great shame. Shame made her angry. "It's them or nothing," she said crossly as she shoved them on my feet. Why complain when there was no alternative?

Pagina 235
"...money isn't everything, is it?"
Try living without it, I thought.

Pagina 245
Then, with the past set down, I could walk towards the future clean and whole again. To the place I should have stayed in, beyond the willow trees.

Pagina 246
not being able to do anything right, I still have to go through the agonizing ritual of trying - and usually failing - to choose the lesser wrong.

Pagina 251
I gave him a queenly wave and drove off.

Pagina 255
Anyway, everyone has their own hidden reasons for the way they turn out.

Pagina 280
It's a cold thing, perfection, as the poets say.