‘Oh, look! Daddy’s watching that game that he was a failure at’
‘How’s the match going?” Sorcha goes.
The girl wouldn’t know a rugby ball if she sat on one in the bath, although it’s nice of her to show an interest.
I’m like, “The Lions are winning by five points.”
She goes, “Five!” like it’s focking hockey we’re talking about. “Oh my God, I’m so happy for the players.”
I could try going through the rules with her again. But teaching my wife about rugby is like teaching me the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re”. It’s hugely time-consuming and all anyone gets is a migraine.
Honor, standing in the doorway of the living room, goes, “Oh, look! Daddy’s watching that game that he was a failure at.”
Sorcha puts his hand on my knee. “Don’t react,” she goes. “It’s all she wants.”
Except I do react? I’m there, “If I failed – which I actually don’t think I did – it was because of circumstances that were beyond my control.”
Honor goes, “What, the fact that you weren’t a very good player?”
I totally lose with her. I’m like, “A lot of people would disagree with that assessment!” and I end up, like, roaring it?
“Okaaay,” she goes, “I’m going to leave you to self-soothe,” and she puts her buds in her ears and turns up the volume on Rihanna.
I turn around to Sorcha. “Being bullied by a seven-year-old girl,” I go. My voice even cracks. “Our family must be God’s favourite sitcom.”
Sorcha smiles. “You watch your rugby,” she goes. “I’m going to ring my mum.”
Five minutes before the end of the match, with the result still in the balance, there ends up being a ring at the door. Actually, several rings? Sorcha can’t go because, like she said, she’s on the phone, while Honor regards answering the door as – and this is a quote – “menial work”.
So it’s left to me to do the job. There’s a blond dude standing on the doorstep wearing board shorts, a navy Apple Crumble and a pair of sunnies on his head.
“Are you out of your focking mind?” is my opening line. “There’s a rugby match on!”
“Ross!” he goes. Then he laughs. “Oh my God, you haven’t changed one bit.”
I pick up on the accent straight away. He’s American. He’s there, “You don’t remember me, do you? It’s Chad! We worked together in Ocean City!”
Shelling prawns. My famous J1 summer.
“Ocean City!” I go. “Jesus.”
“It was the summer of ’01. I got to tell you, just seeing you right now brings back so many memories. Remember the 24-hour laundrette where you used climb in the spin-drier to see how many rotations you could do. You and JP!”
“Like it was yesterday.”
“And you had a drawer full of condoms that you used to call your Johnny Cache.”
“I still do.”
“Remember you trashed your apartment and there ended up being a whole item about it on Fox News?”
“A lot of happy memories. Dude, I’m not being rude here, but there is a rugby match on and it’s very important that I see the end of it. What do you want exactly?”