The Saturday Boy, Two Years On
Walking into the Spa building revealed a large high ceilinged reception room. A maritime themed chandelier hung from the ceiling and all around the large room there were little water features bringing an immediate calmness to the place, the sound of trickling water and ambient music seeped into your consciousness. I could feel my blood pressure edging downwards every minute.
Mum led us over to a long walnut counter together with a very well presented assistant behind it . The room echoed as our feet moved across the white marble floor.
"Good Morning, welcome to Celtic Retreat, how may I help you," she asked in a soft voice.
"Two gold passes please, and can we have access to the tanning booths?"
"Of course madam. If you could please fill out this form and hand it back to me I can input you on our system. Do you require rooms or are you only planning to stay for the day?"
"Just the day please."
"No problem. Please allow me to offer you a glass of Champagne once you are done with the form."
Mum started to fill out the form while I continued to look around the room with my eyes. It was a very old building with rich and detailed features and I wondered if someone once lived here with their family.
The windows were very interesting to look at and had arched tops, the kind of ones you see in churches. The glass itself was frosted with moulded pictures of aquatic creatures signifying the type of place this was. It was evident that a lot of effort went into giving the place a peaceful feel and it was working because I felt somewhat disconnected already from the stresses of life.
"Joey, can you sign here please and I can hand this back to the lady."
"Yeah sure mum." I took the pen from her hand and placed my signature where she had written my name. Once done she took the form from me and handed it back to the lady. Then, as if by telepathic power she placed the form down and a smartly dressed young man came out from a door behind the desk with a silver tray containing flutes of sparkling champagne.
Mum and I looked at each other and smiled. "I can see you are impressed Joey?" she said, winking.
"You could say that, this place is awesome." My comment caused the waiter and reception lady to each smile too until she went back to her computer and the man left us, disappearing back through the door he cam through.
"Mum, so you been here before?"
"What makes you say that?"
"Well you just knew what to ask for and the way you talked earlier, it was like you knew what to expect."
"Well yes I have been here several times, but if your father ever asks how much it costs you_"
"Keep my mouth shut and claim ignorance right?"
She chuckled. "You learn fast Joey. I think I would feel less guilty if your dad had a hobby or something but, hmm." Her voice trailed off as if trying to remember if he ever had anything he was interested in. "Come on, let's go to the bar and relax, you can tell me all about what's been going on in your life."
"I don't think there is much you don't know, mum." I said as she led me over to a set of doors that opened up into a large room with tables and comfortable looking lounge chairs. Slap bang in the middle of the room was a compact square bar with an easy on the eye young guy within it.
"Go find a table Joey, what would you like to drink… Shall I just get a bottle of white wine?"
"Sounds good mum, I'll go grab a seat then." I left her at the bar and wandered over to a table at the window. Looking out there was a small lake with reeds in it. It was occupied by two solitary white swans paddling slowly round in the cold December dew that hung a few feet in the air. It was a really nice setting, and seeing as the room I was in was lovely and warm it made me relax even more, just sitting there looking out.
I turned my head and saw mum coming towards me empty handed. "No drink?" I asked, looking at her hands void of bottle or glass.
"Joey, we are not at the club or some workman's pub. In this place your drinks are brought over to you and for the cost I should bloody hope they are," she said, starting to giggle.
"Hmm, I guess I don't get out enough then." I replied as she took a seat opposite me, placing her clutch bag on the table.
"So, how have you found working full time at the club?"
"Jesus mum, you sound like my boss."
"I am your boss, but today I am just your mum, and I'm interested," she whined.
"It's ok, although the late nights are harder than I expected. Mum why don't you just say what you are really thinking rather than making small talk. I know you have brought me out here for a reason and I think it has something to do with the way I have been acting recently."
"Ok, you got me. But that's not the whole reason. Look Joey, I don't spend any time with you. I mean for Roman that's fine, and I think he likes it like that, but you have always been the sensitive one and I just think its high time I did something with you, you know, to show I am still your mum and still here for you."
"I… I know you are mum, it's just been hard lately, like with all the issues with Jack and me. It's just stuff I'm working through."
Mum didn't answer me as she saw the barman walking towards us with our bottle of wine complete with glasses. He set them down on the table and smiled before wandering back off to his little cubicle in the middle of the room.
"I know it's a little early to be drinking but what the hell, its just a couple of glasses right?"
I chuckled. "You know when its too early when you realise we are the only two in here."
"True," mum said, looking around the empty room. "So as you were saying… stuff?"
"I just dunno what I wanna do with my life mum. Jack seems to have his worked out, you know like getting a job and talking about getting our own place."
"Look I know working at the blub is not putting that good mind of yours to good use, but I'm not going to be one of those mum's who push their child in a direction they don't want to go in, so I'll say this… you're young and you have time to figure out what it is you want to do in life. At least in the meantime while that decision is not being made you have your job at the club which is earning you decent money. I honestly think with the way things are in the job market for young people right now, you are probably one up on most Joey. At least you can look into other lines of work while you actually have a job already."
"Yeah, you're right. I guess I just got a little bit envious when Jack got his job offer."
"Oh, he actually got it then, wow, that's great news."
"Yeah sorry, I don't imagine he got chance to tell you. He uh… he got the letter saying he had been offered a job. I felt really bad because I didn't even know what job he was on about, I have been so wrapped up in my own life lately."
"I'm sure he understands, he's a very understanding person Joey you know that as well as I do."
"Yeah he is," I replied as mum took hold of the wine bottle and poured us both a glass.
"Listen, I know you don't like it when I go all gooey on you, but the other day I realised that… well I think what I am trying to say is that when you really needed me, which I think you probably have recently, I haven't been there for you and for that I am truly sorry Joey. I love you boys so much, but sometimes I get so involved in other stuff I forget about the important things in my life."
"Well mum, normally I would say, hey its ok I know you are busy, but this time I cant because yeah, I could have really done with you in my corner." Mum reached out and took hold of my hand in hers and pressed her lips together.
"I know I have let you down, and I am really sorry I haven't been there for you lately, but I'm here now and I promise that while you are living under my roof I will be more involved in your life. From now on I want you to come and talk to me if you ever need to vent or have a problem you want to share ok?"
"Deal, thanks mum."
"So, how are things going with Jack now, you both seem happier these last few days?"
"Things are much better yeah. They're not totally fixed but I am trying to be less full on and controlling which seems to be doing the trick."
"Relationships are funny old things and you'll probably get some old people giving you the line that you need to work at them constantly but its true you know."
"Hmm, well now I am seeing clearly I don't think our relationship has been the issue, its more been about my behaviour."
"The birthday episode?"
"Well that and other stuff. I just cant help getting into a state when Jack talks to other guys. If I could not worry about that things would be almost fixed over night."
"Look Joey, and take this on board. Jack is a very attractive boy so it's natural that people are going to want to talk to him. Yes, there will be a lot of people who won't give a damn that he is with someone, all they will care about is jumping into bed with him. But, the important thing is not to forget that on the other side of that coin, Jack knows he is with you, and being an intelligent person he will know damn well what these people are up to."
"But… but what if one comes along that he likes and… and, well you know"
"First rule of screwing around Joey? Never do it on your own doorstep. By that I mean, if Jack was going to screw around with someone else, or already is as you think, do you think he would do it in the club right in front of you?"
"Well, no I guess not."
"Well there is your answer then. Joey, Jack and you are never apart as far as I can see so I don't know where you get this idea he is cheating on you, plus the fact I don't think he ever would from what I know about him."
"I know mum, I know deep down he is not doing anything behind my back, I've just got this monkey round my neck called jealousy."
"Well Grandad used to say that there was nothing more unattractive than a jealous person."
"So your saying_"
"I'm saying that if you don't want him to cheat on you, don't give him a reason to, and that can start with ending this jealous streak in you. Show him that you trust him, let him go out with his friends without you once in a while. That is what it is to be a normal couple. You can't go through your life watching every little thing he does, that is not a life Joey and it will end up ruining what you have."
"I know what you are saying is right mum, its just easier said than done."
"Most things in life normally are Joey, and your right, I can sit here an dish out the advice, but its you that needs to decide if you take it or not. But you need to realise that being in a relationship should be a happy experience. If you are always unhappy putting all your energy into worrying about what Jack is doing then you need to ask yourself if that is the life you want."
"So you are saying that I should leave him?"
"No of course not, I think you both have a lot going for you, and I can see you being together for the rest of your lives but I'm trying to make a point here Joey. In life we choose to do things that make us happy and choose to avoid things that make us unhappy. This goes for the people we are with as well. If being with Jack means your mind is always on what he is doing and is making you unhappy then you need to decide if that's what you want."
"I kind of get the feeling I would feel like that whoever I was with. So I either need to be single or find my version of the elephant man so I don't have to worry."
"Well that's the price of ending up with someone who is very easy on the eye Joey. It's a trade-off."
"Yeah and don't I know it."
"But use that to your advantage. Tell yourself, this guy is with me, ME, and no one else. Don't think that you don't deserve him, because you do."
"Thanks mum," I said, forming a smile on my face after looking serious for so long.
"Your welcome honey, what are mum's for?"
"Yeah its good when you can get hold of one," I said, have a jokey dig.
"You got me there. But I meant what I said earlier, about being here for you."
"Yeah, I know."
"So, erm… I've been meaning to ask you about something."
"Go on," I said slowly and deliberately.
"I said to Jack that I would not mention how I found this out, but I can't think of a lie that would be believable so I am going to admit that He and I had a talk the other day."
"Why would you have to lie about that, he is your son too and I get that you would ask him how he is and how things are between us."
"Well part of me was afraid that you might think we were gossiping about you, and to be clear I had to drag out some information from him that I wanted to discuss with you today."
"Your kind of scaring me now… what exactly has you two been discussing?"
"Well for a start, Roman and you."
I darted my head up and stared at mum, swallowing hard. I felt light headed and I knew the colour was draining from my face. "W-w-what do you mean," I spluttered out.
"Joey you look unwell, are you ok?"
"Yeah, fine, just tell me what you mean, Roman and I?"
"About how you tell him everything and your father and I nothing."
The relief I felt was palpable as those words left her mouth. Somehow I knew Jack would never tell mum about me and Roman's past but when she first uttered our names together it did make me feel like my life was about to end.
"It's not like that, mum"
"Do you feel when your life gets tough you can't come to me and dad?"
"No, its just… I dunno, Roman has always been there when you and dad were busy with the pub, and now the club, it was always just easier to tell him and he always knew how to fix stuff."
"I'm just worried that you might have been in serious trouble at some points and it's been covered up."
"No mum, the only trouble I have ever been in you know about and that was the night I spent in a prison cell over Shaun."
"Well good, because its not Roman's job to decide what's best for you, and before you get annoyed with that comment I know I have not been around as much as I should and I know Roman is a very sensible young man. But he should be coming to me when either of you have issues."
"So what else did you and Jack discuss?"
"Joey, do you think you are depressed?"
"Is that what he said?"
"No, that's what I'm asking," mum came back quickly. I was suspicious now, but went along with what she said.
"I don't know, life has felt difficult lately due to what we have already talked about."
Do you think it would help if you spoke to someone?"
"He has said something hasn't he? If you must know I have already got an appointment booked."
"Hey, Joey, no need to get defensive, Jack was just worried about you, and like I said, I had to drag this information from him, so I don't want you giving him a hard time over this, as I was not even supposed to say anything regarding the fact we spoke."
"I'm sorry, it's just a little bit embarrassing that's all and I don't like the thought of people feeling sorry for me behind my back."
"So do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really, it's just going to be a counselling session, you know to talk about stuff. I'm only doing it because Jack told me too."
"So not because you think you need it?"
I sighed. "Don't you start, you sound like him."
Mum paused, I imagine to gather her thoughts. "Look, if you do go, and hope you do, just go in there with an open mind Joey. More importantly, go because you want to get something out of it, not because someone has told you to, otherwise there is little point."
"We'll see how it goes. I just don't see what this person is going to be able to do that I can't do on my own."
"If you want my honest opinion, you have nothing to lose Joey in going. I don't know much about how these people work, but they are trained to ask questions in a certain way, plus sometimes, it's good to talk to someone you don't know so you can get an unbiased opinion on things."
"If it saves my relationship, I'll do just about anything."
Mum gave me a heartfelt smile and then suggested we drink up and go sample the delights of the Spa. At times it was difficult to talk about the things we did, and even more difficult to hear her advice, but overall I was glad we sat down and chatted about things. It was good to know I could go to her, and for the first time in a while I really felt like I could. Slowly things were being fixed, and this was yet another example of something improving. Sure I was a little narked Jack had spoken to mum behind my back, but I knew his intentions were meant well. Maybe he felt desperate and scared by the way I was being and had no choice, or maybe mum was telling the truth when she said she had to drag it out of him. It didn't really matter, not really.
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