The points had been clocking up for just over three years. 1,095 “I’ll go/you go” school-run squabbles and innumerable nappy-changing arguments later, the time had finally come. In honour of a rather large pending birthday, Mum and Dad were about to spend some QT together. As a couple. Ditching our generic titles in favour of Mr and Mrs M and with daughter deployed, we were to embark upon a short-escape, city-break. Sans child.
After all, it’s not every day that your other half turns a decade less than half a century.
And it’s not every day that life begins again. Apparently.
It’s normal to expect some “deviances” at fabulous forty, so I believe. Clandestine smoking sessions, pendulum mood swings and [even] more grey hairs? All a given. But with this new life [more commonly known as a mid-life crisis] heralding the possibility of an outrageously illegitimate lusty-busty affair with an even younger model and/or the surprise arrival of an outrageously sexy, brand-new Aston Martin DB7, I had to take control. Covert control.
This was going to be a birthday to remember.
For all the right reasons.
With seven [not so] sensible years on me, who would have thought he’d be so easily fooled. Dangling “Destination Unknown” as a carrot, his duplicitous wife effortlessly teased and tortured him with booby-traps and red-herrings. Led to believe we were about to re-live it up 90’s style at Pasha Ibiza, my “old” fella packed shades, shorts and enough VodBulls to see us through the night. In fact it wasn’t until we’d safely navigated check-in AND security that the g’ddam boarding cards gave the game away. Team M&D were about to take on Marrakech. City of spices, souks, sheesha and plenty of baksheesh.
Upon arrival, our super-deluxe, private transfer consisted of taxi. Followed by cart.
[That’s right, c.a.r.t.]
Led by boy
Who, gesticulating this way and that, greeting this one and that one, rattled us through dimly-lit, labyrinthesque city walls lined by burkha-clad stares. With darkness closing in, Dad turned a greenish shade of grey. Hacking into the local wi-fi [intermittent at the worst, sufficient at the best], he was already booking us onto the next flight out of there. And we hadn’t even unpacked yet. Needless to say, I had nearly killed him off with this move. Or at least, he suffered a mini-breakdown/coronary and promptly threatened divorce. Where on earth had I dragged him to? What in G’d’s name was I thinking? And why the hell weren’t we checked into La 5* Mamounia?
A far cry from the majestic magnificence of the aforementioned hotel, our accommodation was, shall we say, basic chic. [Perhaps, in my youth, I had perhaps been somewhat misguided in supposing he’d appreciate authenticity over luxury.] Without even an old fashioned TV to serve as distraction, Mum and Dad had to rely on old fashioned entertainment and luke warm VodBulls to survive the night. And after a spot of light herbal relief dispensed by the local chemist aka hairdresser/tobacconist/carpet seller/snake charmer [you get the gist], the night’s events didn’t seem quite so catastrophic.
Perhaps this place isn’t so bad after all.
I’ll sleep on it.
Which he did.
And quite clearly, there’s a lot to be said for a good night’s sleep.
With a few argan-asmic, hot and steamy all-over body rubs [not to mention the hammam] and glass after glass of the sickliest sweetest Moroccan tea one could ever have the unfortunate obligation to force down, Dad was well and truly sold. In fact, decked out in top-to-toe djellaba and babouches, he could [quite innocently] have been “lost”, haggling among the handbags.
Sadly, even despite his bartering skills, I was not so easily sold. Not even for one lousy camel.