I spontaneously took the afternoon off work and went on a road trip with our little’un to surprise her grandparents with cake and a soiled arse from pissing herself while asleep on the way.
We clinked mugs while her leggings were thrown violently around the dryer. Their road readiness coincided with our time to leave and we threw kisses from the tips of our fingers as we rallied back to the car we had hidden at the side of the house before sneaking up to the front door to squeal SURPRISE!!!!! to whoever answered. Which luckily was my Mother who responded with the right measure of shock and delight; as opposed to my Father who would’ve exhibited all the expectant indifference of someone who was expecting us (“Oh it’s yourselves”), followed by the urgent “Why didn’t you tell us you were coming?” and the relevant ”What was the traffic like?” before eventually pleading with us to stay. Never for the night, usually a week. It’s the over-obliging Irish in him. He does this to all the visitors. I think he asked the insurance man to stay once.(Remember those? Half way between a priest and a salesman). Or maybe it was the electrician.
The moon followed us the whole way back home despite our protestations we were fine and already had our own moon out the kitchen window. This after trying to coax it out from hiding behind the mountains and admiring its likeness to a giant football. “Let it Go, Moon”, she hollered at top tonsil, adding her own twist to the classic she has now taken to singing with all the heartfelt earnestness of an ’80s balladeer. Eyes closed, head rocking, immunity to other heads gawking sideways while we’re all stopped at traffic lights. She’s one repeat play away from dropping a clenched fist in slo-mo to complete the anthemic routine. I know this because I started teaching her at one particularly busy set of lights. I then switched over to Friday Night ’80s for some more inspiration. Love is a Battlefield wooaa wooaa wooaa wooaa. It was a bit too soon to teach her some aggressive shoulder/tit-shaking. I did enough for the two of us.
We arrived back hours later than expected because I determinedly ignored the Friday traffic warnings. This gave her Da enough time to do the cleaning I’d been avoiding. We all agreed that while spending the guts of five hours in the car for an hour’s chat and cake wasn’t the wisest move, it was by far the best this week. So far.
Today, I’m going back to a pub I broke up with over ten years ago. That’s right. I broke up with a pub. That’s not the half of it. I’ve given the cold shoulder to coffee shops, streets, neighbourhoods, entire towns and cities. In case old ghosts meet. I see him walking now. Away from me so unhurriedly. Those drawn-out break-ups are the worst. I might meet the dazed and confused me on the way in. I could even end up holding the door for her, catching her eye, and looking over my shoulder trying to remember where I know her from. Before bounding over to my mate in the latest overdue run for freedom from what doesn’t matter anymore. Let it Go, Pub.
And in the potential hat-trick of happenings, provision has been made for two films. In a row. I feel slightly dizzy.