Ginny, the main character of my second novel, Kurinji Flowers is cursed with the mother-in-law from hell. Their first encounter goes well but it’s not long before she discovers that Marjorie intends to play a starring role in the marriage. In this scene, Ginny finds something she wasn’t meant to see in her husband’s desk drawer:
I was looking for a roll of sticking tape. The cover caught my eye; wrapped in brown paper—the way we’d covered our text books at school—as if someone wanted to conceal the contents. Not the kind of thing I thought Tony would bother to do. Curious, I flipped it open. It was a manual; a guide to married life. At the back were fold-out, full-colour drawings of sexual organs. I felt myself blushing and immediately jumped up and closed the door. I didn’t want Marjorie wandering in and finding me looking at it. Too embarrassing for words. I was shocked Tony would have bought such a book. It seemed so unlike him. There was a complicated graph entitled “Ovarian function, Rhythmic Vital Curve and Menstruation”. I sat down with the textbook in my lap, and tried to make sense of the coloured dots plotting body temperature, and charting the birth and death of an ovum. Words like “mucous membrane” and “glycogen” swam before my eyes. Horrible. No wonder he was so attentive to my dates. He was treating my impregnation like a scientific project to eradicate a fungal infection in a tea plant. But this was evidence he must be really determined to do his bit on the baby front. A sign he was committed to the marriage and to me. I found the biology repellent. Unromantic. Horrid, if I’m honest. It made me feel a bit sick to think of him reading this in secret. I flicked back through the body of the book, shocked by the detailed descriptions of all kinds of sexual positions in the chapter titled “Sexual Communion”. Tony had clearly skipped those bits. I was about to put the book back in the drawer when I found a slip of paper inside the flyleaf with the words–Hope this helps! Love Mater (Granny in waiting) x
That night, when Tony pattered across the space between our twin beds and climbed on top of me, it was as if Marjorie was standing at the foot of the bed watching us.
(Extract from Kurinji Flowers)