Maurice

Posted: September 27, 2011 in Back To The Edge, Family Fortunes - Love A Bit Of Les Dennis

Life.

Utterly limitless.

Full of moments.

Moments you don’t forget.

Moments like meeting Maurice.

I’m in Walsall, spending the afternoon with old friend Phil. His work schedule’s as mad as his hair, so this time together is valuable. We’ve gone from daily after-school PlayStation to tri-monthly wife’s-away Xbox, in the most Spiderman 3 of friendships. I meet Phil outside the train station, and he buys us burgers before revealing his shopping list.

It’s an A4 page.

Filled.

With six items. I write cheap DVDs under Phil’s hilariously huge penmanship and we set off to do our business .

It is five minutes later, and we’ve successfully managed to buy a lilt and a pepsi. We are very proud of ourselves. And rightly so! For we could have bought two milkybars. But no! For that would be indulgence. We are heading back to Phil’s when Phil drops a bomb.

A literal bomb.

So… in August I’m pretty much definitely moving to Bristol for work.”

My face fights the pressure wave as my ears pick apart Phil’s admission.

Oh. That sucks. I don’t smile. But then, we’re twenty-four. Life has taken off! Phil’s married! I’m going to university! Big Boots even has a toolkit! Maybe it’s just time for us to grow up. To let go.

I let go.

And spill my lilt.

And am even more gutted.

We speak with candour about the future. About friendship, Facebook, and secret pacts. Which I can’t tell you about. Because they’re secret.

A thought crosses my mind. Life has took us this far… will it ever take us… further? I look at Phil; with a look that tells him this is going to be an awkward question.

D’you think you and Steph will ever have children?

Phil’s answer is assured. He’ll be a daddy someday. I smile. Because for Phil to not be a father would be a waste. The weirdness factor hits me, and I feel like I’m watching my own insides being eaten live, in HD. We will have been children together; teenagers; men.

Parents?

We arrive at Phil’s, whip out Gears of War and lose to the computer heavily as Phil keeps not saving me until it’s too late and referring to himself as ‘a lone wolf’. He looks a slightly strange yellow-ish colour. I smirk. It must be the stress of being such a bad team-mate. Serves him right. Like a Tim Vine joke.

Steph comes home and we eat garlic bread with Bolton accents.

Is Big Boots home tonight, Dan?”

Yeah, he should be. Why?”

We’ll take you back home. That way we can see him for a bit too.”

I accept, and Phil and I terrorise Steph all the way back to mine with impressively atonal singing. She buries her head under her coat. We sing louder.

A live Mike Pilavachi Christmas Album later we arrive at mine, and I knock on the ceiling to tell Big Boots that our guests are here.

Make yourselves at home while I put the kettle on.”

A few minutes later I walk into the living room with cups of tea. Phil is sitting on the sofa.

In his pants.

Which is a relief.

Big Boots pipes up. “There’s a glow about you Phil. You’re looking quite… yellow. Are you pregnant?” I smile. Yeah Phil! Call yourself a lone wolf now!

Phil laughingly denies his jaundice and moves the conversation on. He announces that they have some news. Big Boots doesn’t know about Bristol yet. Or that I know. I hope he takes it well. It’s hilarious that Phil’s gonna tell him about this in his pants. But it’d be so much better if he told him in his pants.

Silence.

Gosh, awkwardness! Even when I know what’s coming!

We’re having a baby.”

Oh.

Oh! The sudden rush of excitement makes me briefly check my gender.

I’m drinking from a pint glass with a handle.

I am safe.

I thought you looked pregnant!”

You thought I looked pregnant!”

I interrupt for some reason. “D’you know what you’re gonna call it?”

We’re not finding out the sex of the baby, so for now it’s called Maurice.”

I smile. And punch Phil in the chest.

He says the line.

–-

It is nine months later, and I am in an armchair, as Phil lays a two-week-old wonder across my lap. Suddenly it hits me – by which I don’t mean the baby – We have…

…Grown-up!

I smile.

And give Maurice two milkybars.

And punch Phil in the chest.

 

 

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