Pact - Redux.
Previously, my eight-year-old daughter had managed to get me to promise never to take a girlfriend – under tenuous conditions, but I was happy enough with the deal.
But she’s upping her game.
Their Mother: [Teasing my daughter] Come to the phone! Daddy wants to tell you about his new girlfriend!
Favourite Daughter: [Background, clearly apalled] Noooooooo!
Me: That's not funny. Just put her on.
Me: Hello sweetheart. Mummy's just being silly.
I decide to reassure her. I know what all this is about. She's worried that one day she won't be my favourite.
I'm brilliant at this, me.
Me: Mummy's joking. And I don't have a girlfriend right now. I'll only ever love you best in the world anyway. So don't worry.
Genius. I’m great at this, me.
FD: But what about Mummy?
A lesser man would feel the ground begin to open, but not me. I'm fully prepared for this.
Me: I don't think Mummy really WANTS a girlfriend. Not REALLY.
Brilliant. I'm a genius, me. Did you see what I did?
FD: [Laughing] Nooo! But do you love Mummy?
I had this covered about two years ago. I’ve been waiting for it. I know the answer to this one. God, I'm awesome.
Me: Of course. Mummy gave me you and Favourite Son. I'll always love her for that.
Brilliant answer. I rock.
FD: [Quitely satisfied and oddly triumphant] Good.
After some moments our telephone conversation is concluded. And I think for a bit.
Forget the 'ground opening'. This is like that awful disaster movie 'The Core' when the pigeons all go screwy, the Northern Lights go bonkers, Rome and San Francisco explode (oddly nowhere else), the earth's crust starts revolving the wrong way and all electrical things go 'bang' and ,like, earthquakes start happening and that.
Her concern isn’t about my ongoing love for her at all.
I begin mentally constructing a craft that can drill to the earth’s core with Hilary Swank and detonate nuclear devices to get everything moving in the right way again. Metaphorically.
It’s about me and her mother. And she’s just got me to say something I can never really back up.
She is, of course, a genius.