It used to be that visits were so infrequent, I was convinced they’d changed the carpet in my absence. The longer the gap, the odder it looked. Are you sure?, I’d casually interrogate, looking down at a previously unregistered row of flowers snaking under the glass table. From there it zigzagged towards another buoying up an assortment of exhibits proudly wearing their counties of origin like a status-tag.

Waterford still borders Belleek despite the arrival of Galway and other Rocha-come-latelies. Well, something’s different, I mumbled the other evening, ignoring the dust no longer visible to the octogenarian eye. Who’s that making his own tea in the kitchen? “Your Father”.

By the third day, our one wondered when we were going home. This could only have meant one of two things: 1. She was having an enjoyable time 2. She was having such a good time she was growing ever anxious about the inevitable Sunday-night-like Fear. Or (I’m gathering momentum here so feel it necessary to add a third) most likely 3. She was experiencing a disturbing combination of 1. and 2. We’ve all been there. In receipt of unfettered treats knowing there’s a comedown at the bottom of the next empty wrapper and a return to front-seat issued orders about bed-time. They get you into a confined space where you can’t move for two hours and set all sorts of conditions. You hate it now, I smiled sympathetically, but will learn to master it by the time you’re in a serious relationship.

By the fourth day, I was beginning to feel at home. This could only have meant one of two things 1. I was at home 2. I was at home, but it was my home. Or (work with me) 3. I was experiencing a disturbing inner conflict between rejection and romanticising of 1. and 2. We’ve all been there. In receipt of unwavering hospitality from one, and from the other a raised brow at the level of oil usage. They get you into a confined space where you can’t move for two days and set all sorts of unspoken conditions for keeping it civil. You hate it now, she smiled up at me sympathetically, but just think what all’s ahead of me.

I thought better of sticking my tongue out at her, so robbed a Curly Wurly instead.

waterford crystal

Seeing through each other

9 thoughts on “Checkmate

  1. ignoring the dust no longer visible to the octogenarian eye….a tremendous remark. I’m looking forward to that day too. Now that I’m in a noo hoose I’ve had the overwhelming realisation that Quentin Crisp was wrong about the dust. Am finding myself dusting said noo hoose with my specs on. *counts on fingers, toes, and those of nearby family to work out how many years until I’m 80*

    • How is the new gaff going, birdie? I imagine you in a smoking jacket with your specs perched on the tip of your nose as you inspect your surfaces. We’re on the move next month. I’m OK at moving. It’s the staying put that’s challenging.

  2. Still feels like I’m in a holiday cottage; except that as the wise one points out (the Kid) we know where everything is. So that shows how domesticated I’ve become. Having said that, I do have a wee pile of boxes of Stuff which have become something I just walk around. That’s grand that you have a new place – what’s it like? Any interesting plumbing features?

    • That Kid’s got succinctness sussed. Didn’t lick off the ground then. You had me at ‘cottage’. I’ll probably lose you when I say ‘semi-d’. It’s disgustingly conformist and I’ve comprised every non-conformist fibre in my body.

  3. Well, it’s true that we have gone up in the world – now we live in a cottage which is semi-detached to another cottage. Our previous abode was semi-detached to a cow shed…and it was also semi-detached from its roof. 🙂

    • Yeah, but what’s the curtain-twitching potential and fumbling with keys at the wrong house should you return in the dark inebriated because it’s surrounded by a gazillion other semi-ds? I can’t wait til we get our Neighbourhood Watch sticker. That’s when I know we’ve arrived.

      • Good point. I completely lose my sense of direction in shopping centres and estates with too many cul-de-sacs. I find my way by trees and asking postmen.

  4. PS I reckon that the Kid is healthy because he came from a dust and grime filled household. Everyone knows that losing 99.9% of the germs is bad for you.

    • Darn right. My fella is asthmatic. His Ma regularly plunged the house in disinfectant. East Berlin throughout communism with their fondness for coal and other dodgy industrial emissions? Not one of them had asthma. Well, not as many as the West anyway. And that concludes today’s edition of Dodgy Science.

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