Nearly June. Nearly halfway through this ‘new year,’ the year of twenty-nineteen. Did you make new year resolutions? Myself, with an appalling record of breaking new year resolutions early in the year, prefer lists. The main character in this story also prefers lists, however, that is no reason to assume my story is autobiographical – well, not entirely!

New. A new bladder, that’s what I need the most, Josie thought, feeling a warm trickle sliver down her inner thigh. I’ll add ‘new bladder’ to my New Year list, she mused, desperately squeezing tight her pelvic muscles. She imagined a damp blotch forming on her fluorescent shorts and fought the urge to race past Cynthia plodding along in front of her.
As the running mates entered their street, Josie could hear Cynthia’s laboured breathing. On reaching her home, Cynthia stopped, clung to her gate-post and holding a hand to her chest, spluttered, “Am I getting faster or are you getting slower?”
Stringy damp hair stuck to the sides of her blotchy-red face. Without pause, Josie half turned and continued running backwards towards her own home, giving a half-hearted wave.
She tore up her steps and flung open her door. Then it happened. With a mighty whoosh, her bladder emptied. The ammonia smell teased her nostrils, her skin smarted as the urine gushed down her legs. The yellow liquid soaked her socks and shoes and splattered the door. In horror, Josie observed the puddle forming on the welcome mat.
She yanked off her shoes and socks and shorts and dashed inside to the bathroom.
Showered and dressed, her soiled clothes, including her trainers, dumped in the washing machine, Josie fetched a refuse bag from the shed and shoved the sodden door-mat into it. She splashed a bucket of soapy water over the door-step.
With her twenty-nineteen to-do list and coffee mug in hand, Josie plonked onto the rickety cane chair on the porch. Not a believer in new year resolutions, having failed so many times in the past, Josie preferred lists.
She scanned the list:
New combination fridge freezer.
Birthday present to self: winter holiday somewhere warm!
Establish flower beds around the water tank.
Abstain from deserts.
She added one more.
The first four were all doable, but the fifth? Internet shopping didn’t cater for new bladders and she’d never seen money back guarantee television info-commercial for one hundred per cent reliable bladders.
A memory of the time she had first bought that personal product for her ageing mother, flashed through her mind. Unable to find this discreet product in the personal care aisle, she sought assistance.
“Women’s personal product?” The young shop girl queried. “Oh, you mean those pads women wear for incontinence,” she said in a voice too loud. Heads turned. One shopper sniggered.
“They’re for my mother,” Josie had muttered.
She remembered her mothers’ tearful protestations when she graduated from pads to adult nappies. From that time, her mother slipped into her own private, impenetrable world, lost to those who loved her the most.
Josie wandered the supermarket aisles aimlessly, trying to remember the final item. Then in the personal care aisle, it came to her. With the poise of a ballerina, she stretched on tip-toes and nudged loose one of the pink packets from the top shelf.
Josie smiled. All you need is poise!

2 thoughts on “Poise”

  1. Too much realism in this one! Poor Josie!. The word in line 2 should be ‘slither’ rather than ‘sliver.’ I think it needs more description of Josie’s feelings of, Embarrassment, shame, fear of what this was going to mean to her independence etc.


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