Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Sixty Eight
“And this is Rory.” I am presented with a skinny boy with blond shoulder length hair, steel rimmed glasses and the longest face I have ever seen. I don’t mean like sad, I mean literally long, as if it had been stretched like pizza dough. I have already had his mum paraded before me. Sash’s dad looked embarrassed when we all met. Whether that was because he is ashamed of his new love or because he is ashamed of me, I am not altogether sure. Melanie is also tall and skinny but her face is of average length. Perhaps Rory will grow into his. I don’t really know why I decided to come to this strange meet up, even if it was my idea. I panicked that Sash was going to be with a couple of people I had never met. It seemed weird. Rory looks terrified of me and I am quite sure that he is and will continue to be terrified of Sash. I didn’t even bother giving him my goth mum stare, I think he would have cried.
“Sash says you’ve booked your Croatia trip,” says her dad.
“Yeah.” I say, unable to find anything else to say. I now regret only having two glasses of wine at work. I was trying to be sensible but that’s just not really, um, sensible.
“And Jimmy’s going too?” I know what he’s getting at. He’s saying, well you are taking someone from outside of the immediate family with you too when you take our daughter away. He doesn’t mean it maliciously, I think he’s just trying to reassure us both that what we are doing is ok. And it is.
“Yeah, Jimmy’s good with Sash and he’s good with like getting things done, cos, you know, I’m not.” He smiles but not too broadly so that I think he’s taking the piss.
“Is Jimmy your boyfriend?” Oh Melanie has joined the chat. It’s literally the first thing she has said beyond hello.
“He’s our best friend and we love Jimmy, don’t we mum?” Sash has woken up too, jumping in to save me as usual.
“Yes Sash, Jimmy is our friend and we do love him very much.” I look at Melanie and cock my head slightly to ask does that answer your fucking nosey question?
“So anyway, lovely to meet you both. I have to get off now, sorry.” I am so not sorry.
“Sash darling, I will see you tomorrow after school, ok?”
“Aha, ok mum.” She has fallen inside her phone again. I turn to go and she holds out a hand from the sofa, eyes still on the phone and pulls me down to her level and kisses me on the cheek. Such a beautiful and odd little girl.
I go to the pub on the corner on the way home. I order a beer and whilst I am waiting for it to arrive, I see Marco and a new woman talking at a table on the other side of the bar. I want to duck down and hide. I don’t but I do kinda shrink a little. My beer comes, I pay quickly and dash for a neutral corner. I text Jimmy and ask if he can come meet me. He’s just got home and will be here in 10. Thank fuck for that. I try to look over the bar from where I am sitting to look at the woman that Marco is with. She is mainly hidden behind a beer pump at this angle but occasionally parts of her face appear as she moves her head. She has a nice nose. I used to be confused as to why I got all kinda jealous about Marco and his coming and goings, I mean, it made no sense. I didn’t even like the bloke really. Yet some strange movement in me would surge and unbalance me when I thought of him with someone else, or him as somehow unavailable. I don’t now. Now I’m just curious. I see Jimmy open the door and he walks around the other side of the bar, clearly not having seen me. I see him stop at Marco’s table, I see them shake hands and the woman say something to Jimmy. Then he turns and continues around the bar until he ends up by me.
“Hey Jimmy boy.”
“Who’s that with Marco?” I can’t resist.
“He said she was his fiancee.”
“What?!” I almost shout this.
“Fiancee, like someone you’re gonna marry.”
“Sweetheart, I know what it means.” He looks a bit hurt.
“I’m sorry Jimmy, I just didn’t expect that answer.”
“Nah, me neither. It’s a bit funny though, him getting married, ain’t it?”
“Funny? It’s fucking hilarious Jimmy!”
We spent the next couple of hours drinking way too fast and laughing at the prospect of Marco being a married man.It really is the most ridiculous notion, especially as he seems to have been fucking half the town in recent weeks. I wonder if he’ll still go lifting in Waitrose? Thankfully him and his bride to be left shortly after Jimmy came in so we were free to fully cackle at high volume without arousing any suspicion. We did shots and toasted the happy couple, people at other tables looking side eyed across as we raised our glasses. We ordered fish and chips, we stood outside together smoking with bits of mushy peas still in our teeth, we had a fucking ball.