“Tom. I’ve got 2 kids here waiting for you. Hello?!”
I was late. The gymnastics and football practice was part of the Divorced Dad routine. I was late for both. There was no point going home so I watched Emma go through her gymnastics. As she did her back flips and summersaults I gazed into space wondering how a new relationship could survive two ex’s, three mortgages and four kids.
And the logistics couldn’t have been any more awkward. I had my kids at the weekend she had hers in the week. Her working hours didn’t coincide with mine. And worst of all she was a Capricorn and I was a Cancer, and we all know what that means!
It was like being given the keys to the sweetshop only for someone to break in overnight and change the locks. It wasn’t fair. And dissecting a relationship via electronic means was a waste of time.
The iron was hot, it needed to be struck. So I went along to our next date with surprise number two up my sleeve.
The date was once again at the generic multinational tax dodging coffee and tea emporium in the precinct. I was beginning to hate that place. The dull eyed girl behind the counter with half a scrap yard hanging off her face and her gormless colleague with the acne and runny nose.
Then, for the first time since the concert I saw Sarah walk through he door. Immediately, the stress of the day evaporated like morning mist in the summer sun. I snatched my watery chocolate and we weaved our way through the laptops and vacant looking student types and sat at our table. Big smiles and more big smiles that segued into giggles about nothing in particular. My hand weaved past the menu to find hers.
“So have you listened to any more Bruce albums?
“No I deleted them all, it was only a ruse to get you into bed.”
Have you ever done that coughing out of the nose splutter thing with hot chocolate? It’s like being jump started in second?
“Are you alight?
“That was a joke by the way.
“I’m sure it was.
‘Well half a joke. (big smile)
Now, I do believe, if John Motson had been sat at the next table with his sheepskin coat and Microphone he would have described the action thusly:
And that’s a lovely pass from Rooney to the feet of Tom Hughes – he’s clear through, and the flag stays down , he’s on side , surely he must score!
Surprise number two was half out of my pocket when Sarah’s ex rang and they recommenced the argument that had been going on since 1998. Sarah’s face changed to black and the surprise went back into my pants
“And would you believe it – he’s put it wide!”
Then it was time to spring surprise number two
“Look, what are you doing a week on Friday? Can you get the night off ?
“Er I’m not sure, why?
“I’m not asking you to organise it this second Tom, I just want to know if it’s a non starter or not?
“No, I know you are not asking that? I am just thinking about it. About the logistics, that’s all.”
“Well get the logistics about this, a night in Rookery Hall with me.”
She looked around the room to see if anyone was looking, then slid a voucher across the table. She whsipered in my ear
“Someone at work won this and gave it to me. It’s a freebie. 3 course dinner and….an upgraded room
I felt my heart pounding in my ears.
“Why are we whispering? Have you brought your duvet?
“Don’t be funny, I am not in the habit of doing this.”
I felt a micro chill in the air. Men suggest stuff like this to women all the time, almost half expecting the brush off. But the other way round? Its no laughing matter. Why was I hesitating? What was up with me ?
“Well, its up to you. I –
“Yes! Of course, yes, it will be a giggle.
“Tom, it will hopefully be a lot of things, but one thing I am not expecting it to be, is a giggle, ok?