For a while I was selfishly happy she didn’t have one. It meant I could keep her safe and at home and that we didn’t have to worry about her being at parties, drinking too much or getting lifts with strangers!
Of course I hoped one day that would all change but was secretly thankful that for the moment, it was one less thing to stress about.
The Rose doesn’t lack socialisation. She’s happy at college and mentions names and people fairly often (although the names change as she satellites around the various groups, never quite landing for long enough). I’ve met a handful of these people, (they don’t often come back)– but I am so grateful for social media – The Rose stays very well connected in her virtual world, and for now that’s just fine, she’s happy.
However there have been a couple of times when she has been asked ‘out’ into the real world.
My enthusiasm for this is shameful. No sooner has she mentioned the possibility than I’m on my feet, flying towards the door, wielding my car keys and ready to book the church! Of course I’ll take you right – Name? Age? Job? Criminal Record? I’ll wait outside in the car. So what if we’re a week too early you can’t lose the moment. COME ON let’s go!
Opps I haven’t actually checked if she wants to go.
And mostly she doesn’t. She’s quite picky The Rose. She’s nervous, of course but The Date has been envisioned in her mind for years and she knows in great detail what he looks like and what he’ll say. The Date must have milk chocolate skin, big brown eyes and play Premiership football. He’ll invite her to live with him in Old Trafford and he’ll have a holiday home in Brazil.
There’s a bit of a dearth of candidates round our way (although the paperboy’s quite nifty on his feet and got a lovely tan last year in Cornwall) but when I stop to listen properly, The Rose is usually asking me how she can say ‘no’.
So when the first ‘date’ she wanted to really go on actually happened – because she didn’t change her mind, or hide upstairs, or pretend to be dead – the angst levels (mine) and traumatic nerves (mine too) surrounding the event were unprecedented.
The Date has form. He tried to take her out once before but didn’t actually turn up. He later told her he hadn’t “felt like it “. The Rose had no problem with this. While my own inability to tidy the teaspoons correctly has often induced near death melt downs from her, she had remained cool in the face of this clear and logical excuse.
So this time we were armed for any eventuality. She’d been dressed and made up for 24 hrs (she went to bed in full make up so it was ‘all settled’ for the next day) . We’d practised the lipstick, rehearsed the lines; the eventualities; the outcomes. We’d counted her cash; we’d counted it again. She had two purses (one for coins one for notes OBVIOUSLY). We’d charged up the mobile, we’d charged it again. We squirted on perfume, body spay, eau da cologne and deodorant. – if he didn’t look at her properly it would only be because she was masked behind a chemical cloud and his eyeballs would be melting.
She’d been at the window for 2hrs. He was late. She was anxious. We prepared for the worst. So when he finally showed up and took her away like a secret assassin – I almost passed out!
The Rose was buzzing when she got back and hyper with adrenaline and nerves. I was numb with calming gin. Their 1.5 hr tryst had involved him driving her around a ring road many times “just chatting y’know, he’s a really good driver, he steers exactly right and does the lights and he’s passed his test and everything” and then taking her out to dinner…. at a petrol station where he bought her a bottle of fizzy water and some chewing gum.
She may as well have been to The Ball. He was Prince Charming and her foot had fitted. Her joy was absolute.
She proved it by being promptly sick, locking herself in the toilet and emerging 1/2 hr later stimming and twirling but silent before going straight up to bed dressed in her Tiger Stripe onesie.
I so hope there’s a second date – I’ve called The Fairy Godmother and booked the pumpkin .