I try to, like, console him. “Dude, I’m going to definitely ‘try’ to stay faithful this time?”
SORCHA ASKS ME if I’m nervous. And I’m genuinely not? I’m actually quite looking forward to seeing her old man’s face when he’s told that we’re possibly not getting divorced after all.
I ask her if she’s nervous, to which she replies, “Ross, me and my dad have – oh my God – so an amazing relationship. He’s always supported me in everything I’ve chosen to do.” Which I take as a yes. This isn’t like telling your old man that you’re thinking of dropping out of a Diploma Course in Corporate Governance in the Michael Smurfit Business School to study Environmental Science instead. This is actually serious.
Edmund Lalor always hated me in a way that went way beyond the usual tensions that exist between a father-in-law and the man doing the nasty-nasty with his daughter. This is the man who once threatened to gut me like a fish and feed me my own testicles. And that was in his father of the bride speech.
I honestly think that the day Sorcha decided our marriage was over was the happiest day of his life. And, being a barrister in the area of family law, our divorce was, like, a retirement project for the focker?
Sorcha throws the cor in the Luas cor pork. I don’t know if I mentioned this but her old pair recently had to sell their gaff on the Vico Road and move into, like, an aportment near The Beacon, in Sandyford. Which is some comedown. From Bel Eire to South Central. Literally.
“Now let me do the talking,” Sorcha goes. “I need to break the news to him gently. And no gloating.” I’m like, “Gloating? Me?” See, she’s possibly noticed how John B I am to get in there. I’m walking about three paces ahead of her crossing the road.
She’s there, “Gloating, Ross. I know you like rubbing him up the wrong way. But now is not the day.” I’m like, “Fair enough.” Ten seconds later, we’re at the door. We take the lift slash elevator to the third floor. She obviously thought it was going to be just Sorcha and she’s a bit surprised to see me tagging along like a champ. Not half as surprised as him, though. He steps out into the hall with his orms outstretched, going, “Sorcha! What a lovely surprise!” and then he cops me standing behind her, grinning like a focking monkey being electrocuted.
He can’t even keep it in. He’s like, “What the hell is he doing here?” Sorcha’s old dear ends up telling him off. She’s like, “Edmund, please be civil,” which is hilarious. Then she goes, “You’re just in time. I was about to make bellinis!” This is, like, 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning, by the way. They’re obviously trying to keep the dream alive, even living in the middle of an industrial estate.
So in we go, into the living room, which is about the same size as the en suite bathroom they had in their old gaff. Sorcha’s old man asks her if she enjoyed the Aung San Suu Kyi concert, except he can’t stop looking at me. It’s almost like he knows what’s coming?
Before she gets a chance to answer, the old dear goes, “Sorcha, come and help me with the drinks! We’ve been making them with lychee recently rather than peach!” Sorcha’s like, “Firstly, I have something to tell you,” automatically straightening her shoulders, then elevating her chin ever so slightly, that communication skills course she did with Terry Prone suddenly paying for itself.
Except her old dear stops her before she can get going. “I’m sure it can wait until we’ve had our breakfast.” Breakfast! They think they’re still living at altitude! So Sorcha ends up following her out to the kitchen, leaving me alone with Edmund, who ends up just – probably not even a word – but glowering at me? “Nice place,” I go, just making conversation. “Is that an Aldi I saw downstairs?” He knows I’m ripping the serious pistachio, though, because he goes, “Bloody pest control – that’s what Sorcha needs to get rid of you.” I help myself to a seat and pick up one of his golf magazines. I’m like, “Am I the only one who thinks Rory McIlroy looks like a mate of Frodo Baggins?” playing it too cool for school.
“Never mind Frodo Baggins,” he tries to go. “Why are you still hanging around us like an ugly smell?” I’m there, “Dude, you know why. My aportment building had to be literally demolished?” “There are three hundred thousand vacant properties in this country – why do you have to sleep in my daughter’s spare room?” And of course I end up not being able to resist it. I go, “Who says I’m in the spare room?” and I give him one of my filthy winks.
He doesn’t know what to say to that. I watch his mouth working away like a trout trying to take a fly. Except no actual words come out – for a change.
I’m there, “That’s why we’re here, Dude. To tell you the news. Me and Sorcha getting back together.” He’s like, “You’re... You’re . . . You’re . . . You’re lying!” I’m there, “Ask her yourself,” and I stick the old feet up on the coffee table, really enjoying myself now.
“She wouldn’t. No, she wouldn’t. She’s spent years trying to extricate herself from you. There’s no way she’d have you back.”
“How many times have you thought that before? Dude, I think you know deep down that the girl has it bad for me and probably always will.” What happens next, I have to admit, genuinely shocks me? And I’m saying that as someone who’s been in this situation with probably dozens of parents who wanted to kill me. He storts off by going, “If you call me Dude one more time, I will throttle . . .” and then he suddenly stops – we’re talking mid-sentence? Then he sits down, as if he’s suddenly just resigned to it. Then I hear him – I shit you not! – sobbing.
I actually try to, like, console him. I’m there, “Dude, I’m going to definitely try to stay faithful this time?” And that’s when Sorcha and her old dear suddenly arrive in with the cocktails. Sorcha takes one look at her old man, then turns on me.
She’s like, “You told him, didn’t you?” I don’t even get a chance to answer? He goes, “If this is true, Sorcha,” managing to squeeze the words out between sobs, “and you’re determined to go back down this road, then I’m washing my hands of you. I mean it.”