“If you’re serious about being faithful to me,” she goes, “then you’re not going to need these anymore. I want you to leave them out for the bin men tomorrow – as a demonstration of your commitment to me.” I’m like, “Could we not just stick them in the attic, Babes?” Except she doesn’t answer. She just pulls Ghost out of the box and hands it to me. I stare at the cover and a lot of memories come suddenly flooding back to me. You make your move when the ghost of Swayze tells Demi Moore that he loves her and Moore goes, “Ditto.” I drop it into the bag with the sadness of someone saying goodbye to a lifelong friend.
Then she hands me Pretty Woman. Pretty focking Woman! The skeleton key of romcoms. There’s not a lock it’s ever failed to pick for me. Roberts and Gere on the fire exit stairs. Roberts – looking a bit cross-eyed – goes, “She rescues him right back,” and she throws the lips on him. And that’s your cue to do the same. Get in!
“In the bag,” Sorcha suddenly goes. I do as I’m told. I pull the next one out myself. It’s You’ve Got Mail. Jesus Christ! What a movie! The Sleepless in Seattle of the internet age, with Hanks and Ryan at the top of their game. Catnip for women. I have a sudden memory of Suzanne Dardis – who was doing international commerce with Mandarin in UCD – with her hands all over me like a focking spider monkey.
“Ross,” Sorcha goes, “you’re just making it horder for yourself.” She’s actually right? I suddenly ask her to hold the bag open for me. Then I take the box and I tip its entire contents – we’re talking Maid in Manhattan, we’re talking Only You, we’re talking The Notebook (Jesus!) – into it.
Then I bring it downstairs, outside and – like the final scene in my own romcom – I drop it into the black, general refuse bin.
Father Fehily used to say, “Never be afraid of change. Some things come to an end so better things can come to a beginning.” And up there in that bedroom, waiting for me now, is a woman who loves me for all my faults and all my amazing qualities. And I’m going to try to be a good husband to her.
And sure if it doesn’t work out, those movies are all available now on download.
ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE