The International Writers Magazine
Ben Macpherson on embarrassing
scene if you will: two families sat round a table for a meal.
One family - loud, large (in number), and fairly excitable. The
other, three people: mum, dad and only child; quieter, less chaotic
and in many ways, the cheese to the other familys chalk.
I am that only child.
I am sat opposite
my parents and daringly, precariously, but forcibly held in between
the mother of the other family, and her youngest daughter - who happens
to be my girlfriend. I say happens to be, I got threatened
with many horrible things if I didnt finally ask her out (after
what had seemed like an eternity of trying. Eight years give or take).
Now, this may come as no surprise. The two families who have known each
other for some years and who have a common bond (ie: the fact that they
may one day be related) sitting round, sharing a meal. However, why
is it that when these events take place, my other half and I sit there
and are the targets the whole time? We hear nothing but horrid embarrassing
stories about what we did when we were young and the parents just laugh
I can see my dad gearing up for take off. I tell him, in no uncertain
terms to be quiet. But the more I do, the more he proudly announces
Ah well, nineteen years of misery; its time we get our own
So I just sit there whilst my other half pays rapt attention to the
sordid details of the time I decided to empty the talcum powder all
over the green velvet arm chairs in the front room and mum couldnt
vacuum it out; or help with the decorating by drawing dinosaurs on the
newly papered walls (they looked quite good for four years old!). Me
going red, her smiling at me with patronising delight; Aw, its
sweet she says. I cringe.
I do tend to dread these outings. They dont happen that often
Im glad to say. Ah, good. Now her mum starts. Well, she
did the same thing with talcum powder and then blamed it on her brother.
Sounds about right. Shes Italian and female: passing the buck
comes in a double dose. It also means she is dark haired, olive skinned,
strong willed, a great cook and looks fantastic in red. But all of that
is somewhat besides the point. Her antics break the record in anyones
book. I laugh and she goes red. Tit for tat I say. She says nothing.
Next time we are all together; her mum proudly announces that she had
been got at my by other half for embarrassing the pair of us. Hell!
We do that enough together, let alone with our parents help! And my
dad still swears that at some point he will show her the baby
Even my best friend glints when he asks So, when you get married
and Im best man
what photos can and cant I show?.
He cant use the excuse of nineteen years of misery
can he? Bet that wouldnt stop him though.
© Ben Macphereson Feb 2004
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