Padraic, my nineteen year old boy who recently moved into a bachelor pad with some mates was over on Tuesday with one of his housies. He was wearing the glow in the dark contact lenses he’s planning on wearing to the Full Moon party he’s going to on Friday night.
“You look weird Padraic!” I snapped. “And you’re too skinny!” I added channelling Marie Barone. “Come home tomorrow night for dinner. I’ll cook your favourite…tacos with the works.”
“Can I come too?” asked Brandon, his bulky, professional footy- playing mate.
“Of course you can Brandon,” I replied with a nervous swallow wondering how much this boy would need to fill him up. Several kilograms of mince would be required, surely.
I read somewhere you should try to feed your teenage kids’ friends and it’s the one piece of parental advice I’ve managed to tenuously cling to and follow through with; unlike the one about not yelling and screaming at them like an unrestrained mental patient in the middle of a psychotic episode.
Later on Tuesday night I received a text from the Golden Child.
“Can Ben come for dinner too Mum?”
Ben is another flatmate and I like Ben because he gives me a hug and shakes Scotto’s hand whenever he comes over. It's amazing how teenage boys can totally suck me in by simple things like that.
“Yes he can,” I texted back. Ben is a six foot plus behemoth and probably had the appetite of a starved piranha so I began mentally calculating if I had a large enough pot to cook the chilli in.
It was Wednesday afternoon and there’d been no news to the contrary so I went shopping after work and bought out Coles in mince, tomatoes, kidney beans, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, chilli and taco shells.
“What time do you want us there?” came Padraic’s text at 5:30pm.
Elated they hadn’t cancelled I replied that 6:30pm would be perfect thank you sir.
At 6:30 there was no sign of Padraic’s ute crunching into our driveway. I began to panic. I’d even chopped fudging carrots and that extra touch rarely makes it into the taco menu. If the boys let me down Scotto would be eating tacos for the next six weeks.
But then I received a reassuring text.
“Be there in five Mum!” Happy dance.
I’d cooked enough food to feed the entire fudging Cowboys Under 20 team and I would have been pissed off in the extreme if they’d changed their mind at the last minute.
I was in the kitchen, adeptly ladling out steaming chilli and thirty-six taco shells on to plates when they arrived.
Padraic stood in the kitchen doorway with a quite pleasant-looking but decidedly slight, young lad. In fact if I'd sighed too hard he may have blown away in the breeze.
“This is my other flatmate, Charlie,” said Padraic.
“Hi Charlie!” I shrilled, squinting past them at nothing... no-one, an empty hallway.
“Where are the other boys?” I asked in a frightened voice.
“Oh… they already ate Mum so they’re not coming.”
This really happened.
What would you have done?