‘She’s not exactly a looker, but I still would, if you know what I mean. I’m heteroflexible – I’d roide anything’
Illustration: Alan Clarke
“There’s something I want to talk to you about,” Sorcha goes, in her Caps Lock voice – this while I’m enjoying my traditional Monday morning lie-in. She’s like, “Come downstairs when you’re ready,” which anyone familiar with the Deadlier of the Species will recognise as a passive-aggressive way of saying come downstairs right this second.
Fifteen minutes later, I’m sitting at the island in the kitchen, still half-asleep, with a mug of coffee in front of me, when my wife goes, “I was talking to JP’s dad. I bumped into him last week in Stillorgan Shopping Centre.”
“Well,” I go, “they do say you’re never more than eight feet away from an estate agent.”
“We ended up having this big discussion about the whole, like, property thing? He was saying it’s definitely the time to buy.”
“That’s because he’s trying to sell you a gaff. If he was interested in buying this gaff from us, he’d be telling you it’s definitely time to sell. This is the shit they teach you on day one, Sorcha.”
“Anyway, Ross, what he said actually registered with me? I was thinking, we have some savings, don’t we? If we took out a small, short-term loan, we could buy an aportment in town.”
I’m like, “Why would we want an aportment in town?”
And that’s when she says it. “It’s not for us,” she goes, “it’s for Honor.”
A smile somersaults across my face. I think I even laugh. I’m there, “For Honor? Babes, I think that’s an amazing idea.”
She’s like, “You do?”
“I definitely do. I think we need our space from her. It’d do us all good.”
Sorcha gives me a look that suggests I’ve possibly got the wrong end of the stick here. “Ross,” she goes, “I’m talking about investing in an apartment that Honor can live in when she goes to college.”
I’m like, “Oh.”
“Are you talking about her moving out? Now?”
“I’m just making the point that it’s not working out, her living here with us.”
“Ross, she’s eight years old.”
“She’s a very independent eight-year-old, Sorcha.”
“I can’t believe you’d let your eight-year-old daughter live by herself.”
“I thought it was what you were suggesting and I was just agreeing that it would be a solution to a lot of problems.”
It’s at that exact point that Honor appears at the kitchen door. Usually, there’s a crack of thunder and lightning when she shows her face, but not this morning.
“I heard every word of that,” she goes.
I just stare straight ahead, terrified of making eye contact with her, just in case she says something hurtful about my weight or my rugby.
“Go and get dressed,” Sorcha goes, “the two of you. I’ve made an appointment at the bank for eleven.”
Sorcha, it turns out, is already halfway down the road with this aportment idea. She’s already got what they call approval in principle and she’s submitted all sorts of paperwork to demonstrate our monthly incomings and outgoings.
Half an hour later, we’re sitting in the bank and Sorcha is warning me and Honor to keep our mouths shut and let her do the talking. Maybe I’ll move into the aportment – yeah, no, I’ll float that idea later.
Honor says she’ll wait outside, which seems to come as a relief to Sorcha.
We’re shown into the office of this bird called Gillian. She’s not exactly a looker, but yet I still would, if you know what I mean. I’m heteroflexible, of course – I’d ride anything.
We sit down opposite her. She’s throwing her eyes over our paperwork with a big smile on her face. I realise that what she’s looking at is my most recent credit cord statement. She’s like, “You go out a lot, don’t you? Kielys . . . House . . . Kielys . . . Kielys again . . .”
Am I the only one who’s noticed that bank people weren’t long getting their confidence back?
She goes, “A lot of these are from Wednesday and Thursday nights,” and she has a little, like, chuckle to herself?
I feel like asking her how it’s any of her bee’s wax how often I go out, except I’ve promised Sorcha that I won’t open my mouth – and I’m hungover anyway – so I let it go.
“Okay,” the bird eventually goes, “I’m happy to tell you that you’ve been approved for a loan of €310,000, payable over 37 years.”
Sorcha ends up nearly choking. “Oh my God,” she goes, “we don’t need to borrow anything like that amount. No, all we’re looking for is €90,000. And we’ll hopefully have it paid off within five years.”
The woman just stares at her like she’s Baghdad. She’s like, “I’m not . . . sure if we can arrange that.”
Sorcha’s like, “Why not?”
“Well, I could equally ask you why don’t you just take the €310,000 over 37 years that you’re being offered.”
“Because we don’t want €310,000 and we don’t want to be indentured slaves until we reach the age of 70.”
“Well, what you’re requesting is not a loan that performs for us.”
“Performs for you?”
“Performs optimally – no, it’s not.”
“You’ll give us almost a third of a million euros . . .”
“Over 37 years.”
“But you won’t give us €90,000?”
I’m getting ready to throw my own two cents in then, by asking her what the fock someone’s midweek alcohol consumption has to do with their ability to pay a mortgage, when all of a sudden the door behind us opens and in walks Honor, hand-in-hand with another woman, who I take to be the manager.
“Gillian,” she goes, “I think you should ask these two to leave.”
Honor, I notice, is pretending to cry.
“This poor little girl,” the woman goes, “has been explaining to me what they’re planning to do. They want to buy an apartment and put her in it.”
Sorcha goes, “It’s for when she starts college. Honor, stop making yourself cry. You know very well that it’s for when you’re 18.”
I’m there, “I’d make the case for 14,” imagining, for one horrible moment, what an absolute wagon she’s going to be as a teenager. “I think once she hits transition year, she should be ready to stand on her own two feet.”
The interview ends very shortly after that with Gillian threatening to call security and, well, social services, then Sorcha telling her that she has an attitude problem – a serious attitude problem. And Honor says nothing at all until we reach the cor, then she laughs, cruelly, and goes, “Oh my God, that was like . . . Hill! Air!”