It was early May. The weather was lovely, and I was looking forward to a relaxing summer in the garden, dining Al fresco at our new patio set;Jimmy barbecuing a few steaks while I tossed a nice salad and poured us both a cool beer. We were going to enjoy balmy nights on our loungers,listening to music, chatting, drinking wine and worrying about no one but ourselves. It was the first time we’d lived alone since we were first married; before the twins were born.
Whitney was in Australia with her waste of a space boyfriend, on a two year working visa. Jason was working in the building trade (just like his da) in Canada,Rick had moved to Galway with his new job and was sharing a house with a few lads from work. Kylie, pissed off with her job at the beauty salon, handed in her notice and fecked off to Ibiza, to do God knows what, and Koko was back packing around Europe with her pals before starting college in September.
Everyone had warned us of empty nest syndrome, said we’d be so lonely and wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. My arse! I’ve been here before, and they all came back like bleedin’ boomerangs, so this time we were going to make the most of it.We were going to love every minute of it…and when I say minute…
We’d just got back from the airport after dropping Koko at the departures.
Will I carry you over the threshold Bernie?
Feck off, Jimmy, we’re not newly weds, and anyway you have a bad back.
You’re right, Bernie, and you’re not as slim as you were back then. Better not risk it.
Are you saying I’m fat?
I wouldn’t dare.
Whatever…right, I’m just going to take off these jeans and put me shorts on while you fire up the barbie and pop that box of beer into the fridge.
This reminds me of when we really were newlyweds, Bernie.
Aww, does it?
Yeah, you stripping off the minute we got home and then telling me what to do.
Jimmy Violet! You’re a dirty git.
Get away out of that, you love it.
Go on, I’ll let you rub some factor fuck all into me back if you’re good.
I’ll be up in a minute so, and I promise, I’ll be very good.
You’re incorrigible, Jimmy Violet. Ah for gods sake, is that my phone ringing? I hope it’s not me ma. I’ll never get out to the sun at this rate.
Whitney love, I wasn’t expecting to hear from you today. I thought you were Facetiming me on Sunday?
I couldn’t wait until Sunday ma.
Why? Is everything ok?
I have some news.
Good or bad?
I lost me job.
Again? That’s the third one since you got there.
But the good news is, I’m coming home.
What? Why? Seriously?
Don’t sound too excited ma.
But I thought you loved Australia.
Not anymore ma.
It’s a long story, but can we stay until I get meself sorted?
I don’t think your da would be too happy to have Gary Boylan living under his roof.
Gary isn’t coming with me ma.
But you said ‘we’, Whitney.
I’m pregnant ma.
Holy mother of divine. What do you mean pregnant?
Pregnant, it means having a baby.
I know what pregnant means.
Aren’t you going to congratulate me?
I’m still trying to get my head around it. How the hell did you manage to get pregnant?
The usual way ma.
Don’t be cheeky miss.
Well, you did ask.
For gods sake, Whitney. I meant , with all the protection available in this day and age, how did you get caught?
Get caught? Jaysis ma, it’s not the nineteen fifties.
All the more reason for you not to be getting pregnant at your age.
I’m twenty three ma.
You’ve your whole life ahead of you Whitney. You said you were going to travel the world before settling down.
I’m in Australia ma. how far around the world do you want me to go? And who said anything about settling down?
Well what else would you be doing with a new baby?
Living my life ma, not worrying about a mortgage and life insurance.
A baby is a big responsibility, Whitney, and you will have to worry about getting somewhere to live…and life insurance. How far gone are you?
FOUR MONTHS? And you’re only telling me now.
I kept putting it off, ’cause I knew you’d be disappointed, and I know you don’t like Gary.
I’m not disappointed, and who said I don’t like Gary?
You did. I heard you telling da that Gary was a sleeveen.
If you love him, it doesn’t matter what I think. Is he going to stay in his mas gaff until you get your own place?
He’s not coming home, he’s staying in Australia.
That fucking sleeveen gets you pregnant, and now he’s letting you come home on your own?
He’s not ‘letting’ me ma. It’s my decision.
The little bastard. Your da will batter him.
I already did that ma.
What do you mean?
Well, that’s how I lost me job.
I’m not with you.
I came home early because of morning sickness, and I caught him in bed with me boss.
She’s in bed with your fella, and she fires you?
Well, I didn’t get fired exactly.
What ‘exactly’ happened?
I dragged her fat arse out of my bed and threw her out into the garden in her nip.
You could have done yourself and the baby an injury.
She had the cheek to threaten me with the sack, so I told her to stick her job up her hole.
And what about him?
I haven’t seen him since I gave him a few wallops and threw him out after her. He’s not speaking to me.
He’s not speaking to you? The bloody cheek of him.
I know. I even threw out the clothes they’d left on the floor, so it’s not as if they were naked for long.
That was nice of you. So why is he annoyed with you? The little gurrier.
I put all of his stuff in bags out on the pavement when they left.
You’re too soft for your own good, Whitney. I’ve always said it. I wouldn’t have wasted the bin bags on him.
Well, the garbage men were calling that morning soooo…
Good girl yourself.
I also gave the keys of the apartment back to the landlord, and because I didn’t give notice, he only gave back half of the deposit. So, I used it to buy a ticket home.
I suppose he’s moved in with the dirty hussy.
I doubt it.
I don’t think her husband would be too pleased, that’s if he doesn’t kick her out.
She has a husband?Does he know about his cheating bitch of a wife?
He does now.
Talk about Hell hath no fury.
So, you’re not mad with me anymore?
I wouldn’t go that far, Whit.
But I can come home?
Of course you can love. You don’t have to ask. This will always be your home.
What about da?
Ah he can stay as well.
Do you think he’ll do his nut when he hears?
I’m sure he will, but he’ll get over it.
Grand, will you ask him to pick me up from the airport?
When are you arriving?
Half an hour ago.
Are you serious? We’ve just come there after dropping Koko off.
Nice one, so I’ve the bedroom to meself then.
Empty nest my arse!
I’m coming love. I’m coming.
I don’t think so granddad.