On the way out the door, I said to Michelle: ‘Will I pack the buggy?’
‘If you think we need it.’ She said.
Fuck it. Packed it anyway. Quinny job. Pure expensive. Borrowed from the sister. Requires a degree in Structural Engineering just to collapse it. Managed it somehow and packed it into the boot with all the other stuff like suitcases and bags and spare clothes and all the things that fall under the “Just in Case” umbrella.
Took off. Drove to Cork. Missed the M8 motorway and ended up on the scenic route with all the traffic and towns named after cheese. Down passed Charleville, Buttevant, and Newtwopothouse. Parked in Merchants Quay and went for “A look around the shops.’
This entailed a visit to Dunnes and Boots and strange coloured bottles and multiple bags of moisturisers and creams and hair stuff and “Tan.” We were somewhere outside Marks and Spencer when she said: ‘I’ll hold Nairobi, and you push the buggy. Mind my stuff too, it’s really expensive, so don’t lose it.’
Can’t bate the whole new age dad thing.
Got all her expensive shopping and put it in the pram and we walked around some more. After, we got back to the car. Looked at the ticket. There was eight minutes before the next hour kicked in and we’d be charged another colossal €2.20. Went to the pay station and paid it. Came back and announced that we had only five minutes to leave before the ticket was invalidated and we’d have to pay again. (Not the kind of behaviour advised for those wishing to join the rich elite.)
Turned the ignition in a hurry. Closed all the doors and took off. Up through the scenic towns again. Found an Aldi outside Limerick. Did some shopping. Opened the boot to put in the bags and noticed it was awful empty.
Then, with melting dread, I realised: “We’ve the fuckin pram left down in Cork!”
That wasn’t too bad til I remembered: “And all Michelle’s expensive shite is inside it!”
Hard to know how to handle this. Michelle hadn’t noticed. Said she was awful tired. Mad to get home and use some of her “New Creams.’ The problem being that the same “creams” were now abandoned in a lonely parking space a hundred miles away. And that was nothin til my sister found out.
We drove on. Michelle and Nairobi chilled. Me keeping it calm and asking questions like: ‘Are you looking forward to the stuff you got in Boots?’
‘Do you need to use it tonight?’
‘Oh, I can’t wait.’
‘Ah no, sure you should just go to bed now at home…’
‘Yeah, I’ll put on my creams first, and sure you can bring Nairobi for a walk in the pram when we’re back while I try and relax…’
‘It’ll probably be raining…bad evenin for a walk…’
‘It’s a lovely evening….’
‘Yeah, I suppose…but…we should get a new buggy anyway, that one’s too hard to collapse.’
‘You figured it out I thought?’
‘It’s dangerous though. Some fella lost a finger on one in America, I wouldn’t be takin it out tonight…’
‘We’ll need to get all my stuff that I bought underneath.’
‘Let me take care of all that….tomorrow.’
‘I’m not leavin it overnight….’
As a writer, you have to be able to think fast. Like this: ‘Well the Landlord said we can’t park at the house tonight.’
‘Yeah, we have to park up the road. Bill the handyman dug a big hole outside the door and the car could get damaged….’
‘Bill didn’t dig a big hole?! When?!’
‘Today, while we were gone, so we’ll have to leave all the stuff in the car, can’t take it out cos we won’t be able to carry it cos we have to walk to the house from at least 500 yards away….’
‘A big hole?’
‘Oh a big massive hole, too dangerous to bring bags and stuff down the driveway…’
‘But I need my stuff!’
‘I know, it’s terrible, but don’t worry. I’ll work it all out tomorrow. Just remember, we still have each other, and a beautiful daughter, so no matter how bad things seem, they’re always ok… Ok?’
‘What sorta shite are you talkin, you did somethin, what did you do?’
‘What is it, I know you did somethin, you’ve got that look, like when I’m about to get really mad…’
‘It’s nothin, just bein philosophical, you never know what’s down the line…and…you know, ah…we’re very tired now, pity bout this big hole, hope you can manage a walk from the head of the road….good thing we don’t have to carry the stuff…’
Then She said. ‘WHAT DID YOU FORGET IN CORK?!”