Last night Guido and I invited both sets of parents over to The Spanish Onion. It’ll probably be the last time we see them before we move out of our loft above the café.
Guido’s parents, Rosa and Juan, insisted on cooking from scratch which was obviously terrific. My mother’s no longer dating the rich Sheikh or the highly muscular but worryingly pliable American businessman. My father’s also split with Amber. So it was just the six of us and in my opinion that was even more terrific.
It was weird seeing my parents sitting at the same table being nice. I think it’s the longest they’ve been in a room together since their divorce without one of them throwing a frying pan at the other. After dessert Guido and I made the coffee. When I say we made the coffee what I mean is Guido made the coffee. I rattled the cups and saucers.
“Your parents seem to be getting along extremely well,” said Guido. “At one point I thought your father was going to feed your mother some chorizo from the end of his fork.”
“I know,” I said, “it’s pretty amazing what three bottles of a good Rioja and some homemade tapas can do to salve decades of wanting to strangle each other. Just saying.”
“They were staring intently at each other through the flickering candle in the middle of the table,” said Guido frothing up some milk.
Here’s another one of Guido’s secret insider barista tips for you – if you want really frothy milk make sure its stone cold before you start.
“My mother was probably trying to figure out if she could set my father alight like a human fireball with only the aid of a small naked flame,” I said sceptically.
“Oh I don’t think so,” Guido said smiling, “that candle wasn’t the only thing being rekindled tonight.”
At about eleven o’clock Rosa and Juan caught the bus back to Dulwich and a while later, after some Cointreau, my parents left too.
My father hugged Guido good-night and then I watched him walk towards Southwark Street and he turned left out of sight. Just before he did, he paused at the corner under a street lamp and glanced back at me and he blew a kiss.
Then my mother got into a cab and wound down the window.
“You know I envy you?” she said.
“What?” I asked.
“I do,” and she took my hand and she squeezed it tight. “You’re one of the lucky ones. You’ve found what some of us spend our whole lives searching for but never find.”
I must have still looked bemused.
“Love, of course,” she smiled. “Darling, in the end, it’s all that really matters.”
Later when Guido and I were in bed and the lights were switched out and he was fast asleep, I lay there thinking.
I thought about our finances and if there was enough for the new cafe and if Guido would still love me when we’re completely broke and I’m even fatter than I already am now and my eyebrows are even more bushy.
I think I sighed a big sigh and just rolled over and closed my eyes.
My mother was right. In the end there’s only one thing that really matters.