Sunday, 18 July 2010

First Love, Last Rites - With Apologies to Ian McEwan*.

Josh's mad ideas are getting beyond a joke. Max and I decide to do a big clean-up of the house today, instead of simply lying around doing nothing. I am not exactly enthusiastic about the idea, but am hoping that his drive to carry out a late spring-clean may eventually be extended to encompass our relationship. He volunteers to dust all the high surfaces, while I am tasked with the hoovering. All okay so far, until I go to the cupboard to get the hoover, only to find it missing. Max has no idea where it is, and neither has Connie, though she starts giggling when I mention it.

"Con?" I use my best interrogation voice, coupled with an almost Botox-worthy raised eyebrow.

"What?" She's still laughing.

"Where is the bloody hoover?"

"Josh took it." Connie collapses in hysterics.

"Took it where?" For God's sake, now what?

"I don't know. He just said to tell you he was just popping round to Silver Hill with the lads."

I look at Max and he looks back at me. Then we move swiftly to the door, in that wordless synchronisation that comes of years of parenting a complete lunatic. We jog to the end of our road, turn the corner onto Silver Hill, and look down the slope. Half way down, there are Josh and Robbie, accompanied by various other members of their motley crew. Josh is standing on our hoover and Robbie is pushing him. Silver Hill is not some idyllic rural slope, as its name would imply, but one of the busiest roads in Northwick.

"What the f*ck do you think you're doing?" Max breaks into a run, as Josh starts rolling away from him, thankfully not at any significant speed.

"Extreme hoovering*," Robbie says, as Max catches them up.

"Extreme what?" Max is almost incoherent with rage. "Give me that - now!"

He yanks the hoover away from Josh, who never knows when to keep quiet.

"It's rubbish anyway," he says. "Wheels are crap."

Max gets him by the ear, pushes past me, and heads back up the hill, the hoover in one hand and Josh in the other. Robbie and the others shuffle about looking embarrassed - as they damn well should. I glare at them, then run to catch up with Max. Josh is really going to get it this time.

When we arrive back at the house, Connie is in a crumpled heap on the sofa, still shaking with what I initially assume is laughter, but which is quickly revealed to be tears.

"What on earth's the matter, Con?" I sit down next to her and try to cuddle her, but she shakes me off.

"," she says, hiccuping between each word. "Because I made him look a prat in front of those boys."

"Huh," says Josh. "Made himself look a prat if you ask me."

"You're in no bloody position to comment," says Max. "Con, I'm going to cook you a lovely dinner to cheer you up."

Max's usual solution doesn't work. Connie is too heartbroken to eat. I can't bear to see it, especially as Russ was a bit of an arsehole anyway - but she seems to have forgotten that, and just cries all the more when I mention it. She doesn't even laugh when Josh offers to go round to Russ' house in the middle of the night, take his boy racer car to bits, and lay all the pieces out neatly on his front lawn, though I think it's a stroke of genius.

For the rest of the evening, Connie only wants to talk to Max, as she says that he "understands first love." She sits next to him on the couch, and they just sit there cuddled up in front of the TV. Oddly, this does seem to calm her, and I am jealous that I'm not the one who has been able to help. Max doesn't even look triumphant about it, which I probably would have done in his place. Seeing this does remind me that he used to be able to calm me down too, just by being there. Now he's more likely to be the one causing me to cry.

I can't even remember my first love - though I'm sure it wasn't Johnny, whatever he may now claim.

*First Love, Last Rites - Ian McEwan's first collection of short stories. Almost as odd as my life appears to be becoming.
*Extreme hoovering turns out to be an actual "sport" - see here. Madness.


  1. "She doesn't even laugh when Josh offers to go round to Russ' house in the middle of the night, take his boy racer car to bits, and lay all the pieces out neatly on his front lawn, though I think it's a stroke of genius."

    See, it's not just me!

  2. I'm looking forward to the day Josh is Prime Minister! BG