I’d rather eat what’s coming out of the dishwasher outflow pipe. But I’ll have some anyway, just to spare your feelings’
Sorcha tells the old dear that the monkfish is – oh my God – amazing. She’s such a crawler. The old man agrees with her. I pull a face like I’m not so easily impressed.
I’m like, “Any fish that has to be wrapped in bacon to make it taste of something probably should have been left in the sea in the first place.”
“Well,” the old dear goes, “why are you eating it then?”
“Maybe I don’t want to hurt your feelings, you raddled old soak.”
Sorcha shoots me a serious filthy across the table. This evening is turning out to be as much fun as a lapdancer with a cough.
I go, “Sorry, can I just ask – without wanting to appear rude – what the fock are we even doing here?”
Here, by the way, is the old dear’s gaff on, like, Shrewsbury Road?
“It’s our wedding anniversary,” the old man tries to go, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. “Thirty-five years, Fionnuala! Who would have believed it?”
I laugh. I have to. No choice in the matter. I’m like, “Who would have believed what? You’ve been divorced for the last four of those. So what’s there to even celebrate? In fact, you’re married to someone else,” meaning Helen – in other words, like, Erika’s old dear? – who’s an amazing woman and in a different league to my old dear, in terms of looks, in terms of personality, in terms of blah, blah, blah.
The old dear goes, “Why does it bother you, Ross, that your father and I have remained friends since our divorce?”
I’m there, “I just think it’s weird, that’s all. Or maybe weird is the wrong word – it’s more, I don’t know, sick? ”
Sorcha ends up suddenly flipping. She goes, “I have friends, Ross, whose parents – oh my God – hate each other. As in, like, genuinely hate each other’s guts. So your mum and dad’s marriage didn’t last forever. They’re still two people who care about each other very much. And they have this, like, shared history together, which includes you, Ross. I’m sorry, but if you don’t think that’s worth celebrating, than maybe it’s you who is sick.”
Of course, the old dear is delighted to see me get smacked down. She puts her wine glass to her lips to hide her smile. She changes the subject then. “Charles,” she goes, “how’s that political party of yours coming along?”
He’s there, “What, New Republic? Oh, wonderfully well, Fionnuala. At this moment in time, we’re ready to field candidates in 20 constituencies, including young Sorcha here, who I’m rather counting on to take Lucinda’s seat when the time comes.”
Sorcha’s like, “I’m going to do my best, Charles,” all pretend modesty.
The old man goes, “The plan is to run someone in every constituency. We’re lining up others. One or two chaps from the Law Library. A few current senators if that place goes wallop, which – strictly entre nous – I think would be a good thing, although you’ll never hear me say that publicly.