‘Mandela was one of Sorcha’s all-time heroes – along with Aung San Suu Kyi and obviously Morc Jacobs’
Sorcha stands up from the table and her old dear greets her like a long-lost stranger. Throws her orms around her, in other words, holds her tight, then storts – I don’t know – commiserating with the girl?
She’s giving it, “I’m sorry, Sorcha. I’m so, so sorry.”
And Sorcha’s going, “Thank you, Mum. And thank for your kind cord.”
Me and Honor exchange confused looks across the table. We’re in, like, Saba on Clarendon Street, doing the whole pre-Christmas dinner thing with the Lalors – a tradition.
“I said to your father that perhaps we should cancel,” Sorcha’s old dear goes. “It can’t have been an easy week for you.”
Sorcha gives her a sad smile and goes, “I’m fine, Mum. I really am. The first couple of days were tough but then I just decided that I was going to make this week about celebrating his life rather than grieving his death.”
And that’s when I realise we’re talking about Nelson Mandela.
“Even so,” Sorcha’s old dear goes, sitting down and taking Sorcha’s hand in hers, “I think you’re very, very brave the way you’re just getting on with things. Just like he would, I’m sure.”
Honor buries her head in her menu and goes, “Oh my God, that is so lame.”
I should mention at this point that Mandela was one of Sorcha’s all-time heroes – along with Aung San Suu Kyi and obviously Morc Jacobs – and the reason she feels such a strong spiritual connection to him is because he once phoned her to say thank you for all the letters and poems she wrote to him when she was a little girl growing up on the Vico Road in Killiney and he was in South Africa in basically jail.
What I should also mention – although certainly not within earshot of Sorcha – is that the phone call actually came from Oisinn, who did, and still does, a very
passable impersonation of the dude.
I remember him going, “I’m sorry it’s taken me so many years to find the time to phone you. But I want to tell you how much your letters and your poetry helped sustain me during my years in captivity.”
Let’s just say it was an April Fool’s joke that went horribly wrong. Or horribly right, if you want to look at it that way. Because Sorcha totally bought it, so much so that I didn’t have the hort to tell her the truth then and I haven’t had the balls to tell her the truth since.
Sorcha’s old man arrives. He was obviously porking the cor. There’s no greeting for me, by the way – not a “Hello!”or a “Merry Christmas!” or a “I hear you’re back where you belong, coaching the game of rugby!’ – and he doesn’t even look at Honor.
He just throws his orms around his daughter and goes, “A sad week, Sorcha. A sad, sad week.”
She’s like, “I’m fine, Dad. I really am. I was just saying to Mum that we should be celebrating Madiba’s life rather than mourning his death.”