Ross O’Car­roll- Kelly

‘ Now I’m to­tally con­fused. I’m think­ing, is she dou­ble- bluff­ing me? Or is she dou­ble- dou­ble- bluff­ing me?’

The Irish Times Magazine - - NEWS -

‘ Now I’m to­tally con­fused. I’m think­ing, is she dou­ble- bluff­ing me? Or is she dou­ble- dou­ble- bluff­ing me?’

Sor­cha has gone away for the week­end to a Hi­malayan Spa Re­treat in a ho­tel on the R280 just as you’re com­ing into Drumshanbo. She’s hav­ing some­thing done to her chakras – they’re ei­ther be­ing re­paired, or re­bal­anced, or maybe she’s hav­ing the oil and fil­ters changed on them. I ac­tu­ally laughed when she said it to me. “Your chakras?” I went. “Are they sud­denly a thing again?” be­cause – like “arugula” and “work- life bal­ance” – I haven’t heard any­one men­tion them since lit­er­ally 2008. “They’ve al­ways been a thing,” she went. “It’s just that since the crash we’ve all been too busy with, like, stay­ing alive to worry about our psy­chic en­ergy cen­tres.”

I have to say, I miss my wife when she goes away. Not her non­sense talk – I gen­er­ally ig­nore that. I just miss ac­tu­ally hav­ing her around.

Some­times when she’s away, I’ll get in the cor and set a des­ti­na­tion on the sat­nav, then I’ll drive in to­tally the op­po­site di­rec­tion, just to hear a woman’s voice telling me ev­ery 20 sec­onds where I’m go­ing wrong.

Then other times – like now – I’ll take Honor out with me. She’s usu­ally my hor­sh­est critic, but this morn­ing, she’s be­ing weirdly – I don’t know – nice to me?

In fact, she goes, “I’ve de­cided I’m not go­ing to be a bitch to you any more.” I’m like, “Re­ally? Why not?” “You’re al­ways say­ing I make your life a mis­ery.” “Well, it’s just that when you say horrible things to me – es­pe­cially about my rugby ca­reer – it gen­uinely af­fects my con­fi­dence.”

“Well, that’s why I’m go­ing to stop. I’m go­ing to be, like, so nice to you. In fact, I was think­ing this morn­ing, the Lions would prob­a­bly have beaten New Zealand if you’d been part of the coach­ing team.”

I can’t even be­gin to tell you how in­cred­i­ble that makes me feel – even though the girl knows fock- all about rugby. She ob­vi­ously heard me shout­ing at the TV this morn­ing.

I’m like, “The key to win­ning that third test was in my Rugby Tac­tics Books. Gat­land was just too proud to ask me for my in­put be­cause of, well, things I’ve said about him in the past.”

“Then he’s a fool. Be­cause you’ve got – oh my God – so much to con­trib­ute.”

“That’s what I’m al­ways say­ing. Je­sus, I’m lov­ing this new you, Honor – even though, deep down, I don’t prop­erly trust it.”

“Well, you can trust it, Dad. Be­cause I’ve turned over a def­i­nite new leaf.”

We have two things to do be­fore we go shop­ping this morn­ing. Sor­cha has asked me drop off her laun­dry at the dry clean­ers, then hand a bag of her old clothes into the St Vin­cent de Paul in Dun­drum.

So I pull up on the Main Street. I get out of the cor and I open the boot. And you can pos­si­bly guess where this story is go­ing. There’s, like, two bins bags full of clothes in there – one green, one black. Sor­cha has ob­vi­ously told me which bag is for the dry clean­ers and which is for the char­ity shop, but I must have had my brain switched to out- of- of­fice mode be­cause I can’t re­mem­ber now.

“The green one is for the laun­derette,” Honor goes – she’s stand­ing be­side me, star­ing into the boot, “and the black one is for the char­ity shop.”

And you can see my dilemma, I’m sure. Do I trust her? I mean, I want to? But 12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence tells me to be def­i­nitely wary.

So I reach into the black bag and I pull some­thing out ran­domly. “Oh my God,” Honor goes, “you don’t be­lieve me! That’s her candy- striped jump­suit that she got from H& M. She only wore it once be­cause you said it made her look like a clown.”

It ac­tu­ally did make her look like a clown? But does that mean she’d give it to the old V de P?

I reach into the green bag and – again – I whip out the first thing I put my hand on. It’s her black Alexan­der McQueen blazer. It’s her good black Alexan­der McQueen blazer. And I think, yeah, no, there’s no way she’d be giv­ing that away. So Honor must be telling the truth.

She goes, “Oh my God, I can’t be­lieve you don’t trust me!” and I try to apol­o­gise to her, ex­cept she won’t lis­ten to me. She goes, “I told you I wasn’t go­ing to be a bitch any­more!” and she gets back into the cor and slams the door. I grab the two bags out of the boot and I cross over the road with them. And then for some rea­son I look back at the cor and I catch Honor grinning at me. And now I’m to­tally con­fused. I’m think­ing, is she dou­ble- bluff­ing me? Or is she dou­ble- dou­ble- bluff­ing me. I’m stand­ing on Dun­drum Main Street with the two bags, think­ing, what do I here? Then I make up my mind. Honor’s play­ing me. So I give the bag with the Alexan­der Wang blazer in it to the char­ity shop and I drop the one with the clown suit into the dry clean­ers. Then I go back to the cor. Honor says noth­ing. She’s sulk­ing with me – prob­a­bly be­cause I didn’t fall for it. We’re about to drive into the shop­ping cen­tre cor pork when Sor­cha rings. I go, “Hey, how are the chakras? Good for an­other 50,000 kilo­me­tres?” She’s like, “I know you’re mock­ing me, Ross. It’s no won­der my so­lar plexus one was, like, to­tally blocked. Did you drop those clothes off?” I’m like, “Yeah, no, I did,” and then I very sub­tly go, “That jump suit brought back a mem­ory or two. I re­ally love that on you.” She goes, “Ross, you said I should ac­ces­sorise it with a red nose and a flower that squirts wa­ter. That’s why I gave it to the Vin­cent de Paul.” I’m like, “Sor­cha, I have to hang up,” which I do, then I slam on the brake and per­form a U- turn in the mid­dle of the road. I head back to the char­ity shop to see if I can buy back my wife’s clothes. Honor laughs. She goes, “This should be a les­son to you. If I was ac­tu­ally nice to you, you wouldn’t know where you stood.”

IL­LUS­TRA­TION: ALAN CLARKE

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