THIS is the life! Duck stir fry and jazz. Wes Montgomery,” says Middle Child.
“Yeah. Sound,” says Eldest, tucking in.
My ‘teach the boys to cook’ programme is running as smooth as Wes, and after a triumphant macaroni cheese from Eldest, Middle has turned out a sizzling stir fry. All we need to do now is extend the repertoire and enlist Youngest. Then I can take to my bed and stay there.
“That’s why bars and restaurants play jazz. Makes people linger,” says Middle Child authoritatively, adopting a suave barfly tone. He doesn’t even drink.
“Yeah,” says Eldest. “That’s why we’re still here talking to you. Otherwise we’d be back in our rooms doing something more…,” he lets the sentence tail away discreetly. “But now we’re having family time, sharing our stories of the day, the episodes that have made us think, bringing them all back…”
Sometimes that boy worries me. The bedroom philosopher. Middle Child jumps up: “Back in a minute.”
Eldest continues. “So, today I was skateboarding, safely, along the pavement…”
Middle returns with chopsticks. “Been using them on the drums.”
“... and this angry man said to me, ‘Watch it! That could have been women and children!’”
Assorted women and ‘children’ around the table laugh.
“Yeah, what kind of weirdy misogyny is that?” says Eldest.
“And did he want me to skateboard on the road?” he continues. Probably.
“You just have to indicate,” says Middle Child, demonstrating, sliding in socks across the kitchen floor, indicating direction with a hand.
“Nah, what you have to do,” says Eldest, “is look in the direction you’re going, go that way, and don’t be distracted. People see it and work round it. That’s a metaphor for life, really. A metaphor for life,” he says. “You can have that.”
Like I say, he worries me.