‘I suddenly remember the reason I coloured this day in black in my Shred Focking Everything desk diary’

Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 01:00

Sorcha’s been up since, I don’t know, eight o’clock or something equally ridiculous, cleaning and hoovering and God knows what else. I continue lying there for another four or five hours in Hangover Purgatory – too sick to sleep, but also too sick to even think about getting out of the bed.

At the same time, there’s something troubling my brain, mind, whatever you want to call it – like there’s something happening today that I’ve been dreading for ages, except I just can’t put my finger on what it actually is yet?

Some time in the early afternoon, I roll out of the old Father Ted and I tip downstairs, quietly cursing the mother of Gerard Aadrian Heineken for not faking a headache the night her son was conceived. I push the door of the kitchen and that’s when I suddenly remember the reason I coloured this day in black in my Shred Focking Everything desk diary.

There’s a humungous banner with the words, “Happy Birthday, Honor!” covering most of the wall opposite me. Every surface in the room has a candy necklace trim on it and there are balloons everywhere, the colours apparently chosen with the specific intention of hurting my delicate eyes.

And there, sitting at the island in the middle of the kitchen, up to their eyes in paper gorlands and floral pom poms, are my wife and my however-old-she-is-today daughter.

“I, er, might hit Dalkey,” I go, “get a bit of brekky inside me.”

Except Sorcha is too quick for me. She’s like, “You’re not leaving this house, Ross. The porty storts in two hours,” and, with her eyes, she orders me to sit down.

“Oh my God,” Honor goes, “you smell like a pub floor.” There’s a reason for that, which I won’t go into.

She pushes something across the countertop to me, which turns out to be a sheet of big, round stickers, each of which has her face on it, actually smiling – a very rare event that someone has somehow managed to capture on camera. “Stort filling goodie bags, then sticker them closed with these.”

I’m there, “What am I putting into these bags?”

Honor points out this pile of junk next to my left elbow. She goes, “The theme is of the porty is Movie Stor. Each bag gets a feather boa, a pair of sunglasses, a lip gloss, a pencil and a spiral notebook – that’s so people can ask me for my autograph.”

There’s no real answer to that, so I end up just getting to work.

Sorcha’s phone beeps. It ends up being a text message. She goes, “It’s from Perdita,” she goes, meaning presumably Perdita Powell, who was in UCD with her. She has a face like Naomi Young but a chest as flat as a dead man’s EKG. That’s not strictly relevant to the story. I’m just pointing it out as a fact. “Oh, no! She says little Georgina can’t make it! She’s come down with chicken pox! Awww!”

“She’s no loss,” Honor goes. “She’s actually a sap. And a knob.”

Sorcha there, “We don’t speak ill of people, Honor – remember?” and she goes back to what she was doing, in other words writing out menus, which I can’t help but notice are cut into the shape of sleep masks.

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