It’s lovely to see one of my own qualities reflected back at me in one of my children
So I swing out to UCD to surprise Ronan, but I’m the one who ends up being surprised, because I find him in the bor, with his orm around a girl I’ve never seen before. For the sake of the story, let’s just call her Not The Girl He’s Engaged To.
He’s so like me, it frightens me sometimes.
I duck behind a pillar, not wanting to embarrass him, then I ring his phone. I watch him pick it up off the table, then he stares at the screen, throws his eyes heavenwards and kills the call.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much it hurts me. We all become a burden to our children eventually. Next, he’ll have his orm around me, as he talks me through a glossy brochure for a retirement village called – I don’t know – Sleepy Bye-Byes.
So I just send him a text. It’s like, “Hey ro im on the ucd campus looking for you, wanted to see did you fancy a drink, are you in the bor by any chance?’
He reads it, then he hops up off his seat like his orse is on fire. Not The Girl He’s Engaged To has this look of just, like, bewilderment on her face – although that could just be that she’s first year Orts.
Ronan kisses her, knocks back the last of his pint, then rushes out of there so fast that he ends up running straight past me.
I tip up to the bor, order a pint of the old Amsterdamage and wait for Ro’s reply. It arrives, like, 60 seconds later. “Im in the library rosser, I’ll see u in the bar in a few mins.”
I’m on my second pint by the time he arrives, carrying – hilariously – a big pile of books. He goes, “Howiya, Rosser,” at the same looking over my shoulder to make sure Not The Girl He’s Engaged To has gone. She has. “How’s tings?”
I’m there, “All is good in the neighbourhood, Ro. All is good in the neighbourhood. Drink?”
He goes, “Yeah, point of Caddles Borg,” putting his books down on the bor. “So, er, what are you doing arowunt hee-or?”
I’m there, “Yeah, no, I just came to visit you.”
“It’s just Ine up to me boddicks at the moment.”
“I’d say you are – most nights.”
Father’s Day: Paul Simon, John Gorka, Seamus Heaney, Slievenamon and my Dad
“Ine just saying Ine in the libroddy day and neet, so I am. I doatunt want to fook up me foorst year exadams.’
“I know you’ve a lot on. Plus you’ve got a wedding to plan.”
I watch this look of something cross his face. It’s guilt. It’s his one major weakness as a serial womaniser. The reason he’ll never be in my league in terms of sheer numbers.
I’m there, “What’s wrong, Ro? And I’m asking that as your best man.”
He goes, “Nuttin, Rosser. It’s just happaden veddy fast is alt”
“Well, the second you produce that ring, the clock storts ticking, Ro.”
“I’d have luvven a longer engayuchment. Shadden’s mutter is arthur getting involved, but. She’s pladding evvyting.”
“It’s not too late to call a halt to it.”
“You mean doatunt maddy Shadden?”
“Marriage is a massive, massive commitment, Ro. Okay, imagine I’m Yoda for a minute and you’re Luke Skywalker and I’m trying to tell you that, deep, deep down in my hort, I know you’re not ready to face Dorth Vader. Except Dorth Vader, in this case, is marriage, which is 10 times more terrifying and 20 times more likely to shorten your life.”
“I caddent pull out, Rosser.”
“Of course you can. You haven’t signed anything.”
“Shadden’s arthur applying for us to go on Doatunt Ted the Burride.”
“Okay, are you trying to say, Don’t Tell the Bride?”
“I am, yeah.”
“And, what, they’ve accepted?”
“We’re godda be one of the couples, Rosser, what’s featured on the show. Ine arthur signing conthracts and evvyting. They’re godda have camerdas foddying us arowunt.”
“Well, they’re in for a treat if they’re going to be following you around. They’ll have to rename it Don’t Tell the Bride I Just Did the Dirt on Her Again.”
“Ro, I walked in here 15 minutes ago and you were sitting over there with your orm around some young one. I saw you with my own eyes. And I was very hurt, by the way, when I saw you kill my call.”
“I know the geerdle you’re on about, Rosser – she’s just a veddy good friend of moyen.”
“Ro, I’m Ireland’s biggest dirtbag. There’s no lie you can tell me that I haven’t told a hundred times myself. The difference between us, though, is that I can tell a lie convincingly. Which is how I’ve managed to stay on the old bucking bronco of marriage for nearly 13 years now.”
“Ine joost godda have to get bettor at loyen.”
“You don’t have it in you, Ro. The urge to be unfaithful, yes. And it’s lovely for me to see one of my own qualities reflected back at me in one of my children. But the other skills you need – the ability to handle guilt, the ability to look someone you love straight in the eye and lie to them without your hort quickening a beat. As Yoda would say: have these things, you do not.”
“Thee can be leardunt, but.”
“Ro, it’s not too late to pull out of this.”
“We’re arthur soynun the conthracts.”
“I’m not talking about the TV programme. Jesus, Hennessy could get you out of that with just one threatening letter. I’m talking about the wedding, Ro. You can’t go through with it.”
“I lub Shadden, but.”
“I know you love her. That’s why it’s not fair to put her through this.”
He shakes his head and goes, “Ine madying her, Rosser. That’s alt there is to it.”
“Well, one thing’s for sure,” I go, knocking back the last of my pint, “it’s going to make great TV.”