What do they want?
I don’t know, she just asked if they could come round.
I said yes, of course, now go and put a shirt on.
We couldn’t calm down, even the dog was feeding off my wife’s tension. The doorbell sounded and she shot off her stool like a boxer.
“Please come in, Mrs Antell, Mr Antell.”
“We’re not married,” said Ms Antell, without looking back or breaking step.
Ms Antell had her hair scraped back into a pony tail, a crisp white blouse and a black pencil skirt, that drew a line above fat ankles making her shoes look too small for her feet.Mr — you can call me George — Antell, without any eye contact, couldn’t wait to disappear into his chair, using the dog as a welcome distraction.
Ms Antell spoke first. “I suppose you are wondering why we are here. It’s about your son.
”My whole body locked down, an imperial guard in full battle armor.
“Our son?” I said, looking at my wife as she nearly dropped the cups of tea as she entered the room.
“Yes, your son. Now I know you haven’t been in the area very long but my Jamie has been playing lead guitar in the school band for the last three years. This year however, in their misguided wisdom, they have chosen your son for the Christmas concert.
“Stephen!” my wife snapped back, “our son’s name is Stephen!” She folded her arms and sat bolt upright. The dog scurried out of the room; he had heard that tone before and I knew how he felt.
“Yes, Stephen, exactly. Now George and I have discussed this and we thought you would understand and ask “Stephen” to withdraw from the band as this concert is very important to Jamie and, to be honest, everyone knows he’s the better guitarist.”
My wife jumped up. “Well, thank you for coming,” she said, removing a half-drunk cup of tea from Ms Antell’s hand and placing it down next to the untouched biscuits.
George followed the dog through to the back, knowing it was time to leave, and they were both frog-marched out the door.
As it slammed, my wife turned to me. ”Can you believe the cheek of it? I can’t believe what I’ve just heard – who the hell does she think she is, coming into my home…”
This went on for a good hour, I didn’t help by laughing through most of her distressed outbursts.
Stephen finally came home and into the lounge carrying his guitar.
“Hello, son, how was band practice?”
“OK, thanks for asking. Dad – what’s up with mum?”
“She’s fine. How are you getting on with Jamie?”
“Jamie Antell!, How do you know him?”
“Never mind that, how are things working out between you two?”
“It’s all good, I think. He can’t play to save his life and I’ve been giving him lessons on the side. Oh, but don’t tell his mum, apparently she’s a bit of a nightmare.”