Putting my key in the lock, my heart pounded.
But then I remembered I didn’t live with him anymore. I didn’t have to feel afraid.
Looking around the studio apartment, I smiled. It might be small, but it was mine – and I was free. After 30 years in an abusive marriage, I’d finally found the courage to leave.
‘I know someone renting an apartment in Melbourne,’ my cousin said when I’d confided in her.
So while my husband was at work, I drove for two days. My little car and my clothes were all I had.
At 51, I found myself single and starting all over again. Although money was tight, I was happier than ever. I’d got a job in a coffee shop and was making friends. One of the customers, Toni, even offered to put highlights through my hair for free.
Next day, as she set to work, I opened up to her.
‘If you need some extra money, you could become an Uber driver,’ she said.
‘A what-er driver?’ I laughed.
She explained Uber was an app people downloaded to book someone to pick them up and drop them off at their destination. Pretty much anyone could become a driver, if they passed certain legal and vehicle checks.
When Toni had finished my hair, I didn’t recognise the reflection in the mirror. For years, my controlling husband wouldn’t let me dye my limp brown locks. Now I had a sleek blonde bob.
‘You look 15 years younger!’ Toni gushed.
Afterwards, I took her advice and signed up to become an Uber driver. Finishing my shifts at the coffee shop, I set off in my car to start my second job. I loved chatting to all the passengers.
One night, I collected a businessman from the airport. With dark hair and brown eyes, I was aware of how gorgeous he was straight away. We laughed all the way back to his house and when we got there he hesitated.
‘Er, would you like to come in for a coffee?’ he asked.
He was my last job of the night and I’d enjoyed talking to him, so I went in. And when he leaned over to kiss me, I kissed him back.
I hadn’t been intimate with anyone other than my husband for decades. As he led me to his bedroom, it was so exciting. The next few hours were filled with passion.
I left when the sun came up. By then I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.
A few weeks later, I picked up a 25-year-old guy from a club.
He told me he was a personal trainer, and chatting away, my age came up. Just then he caught my eye in the rear-view mirror.
‘You know, it’s always been my fantasy to be with an older woman,’ he grinned.
Is he flirting with me? I thought, my pulse racing. When we reached his place, he invited me inside.
He was the same age as my youngest son! But something about the thrill of it had me switch off the engine and follow him in.
Besides, it was just a bit of harmless fun. And we were both consenting adults. As we said goodbye the next morning, I don’t know who was more satisfied.
‘That was amazing,’ he laughed.
I’ve now been driving for six months and I’ve enjoyed eight more passionate encounters. Seven of them were men under 30!
I’m so glad I met Toni and she persuaded me to become an Uber driver. I used the money I earned to divorce my husband and I’ve never been happier.
I won’t be applying the brakes to my adventures any time soon!