We - that's me and the boys - met my Dad's new squeeze the other day. I'm going to call her Irene. She's nice (and has provided good fodder for a future blog post).
Anyway, we all sat down at a table in a a pub. Bit awkward, making small talk, shuffling chair legs. Pretending to be engrossed in the menu. But Irene is staring at Teen. Teen has noticed, and is sweating slightly. He is making a strange gurgling noise, and his focus is fixed on the middle-distance - as it happens, on the large bazoomas of a rather attractive waitress.
"My, what an attractive young man you are!" says Irene. Very, very loudly.
Tween snorts with laughter and derision, forcing diet coke out of his nose. Teen has turned white - now red - now grey. Ashen. Then, suddenly, he mutters something about the toilet and dashes off in the wrong direction (as it happens, towards the waitress with the big bazoomas).
Irene is unfazed. "What a lovely looking boy!" she says. "He looks Italian. Is his father Italian?" (More Tween snorting.) "Lovely eyes. Did you see his eyes?" she asks me. "Yes," I replied, "I am his mother. I have seen his eyes."
Whilst I might normally write Irene off as deranged, she is not the only person to have commented on Teen's looks. And there was an occasion when we were on holiday in Wales when he was swarmed by teenage girls (he was 13 - they were 16) which made me feel very ill indeed. So logically, I understand that he is good looking.
But when I look at him, I see an awkward boy with the face of my ex. A boy who has spent most of his life in my pocket, who is literally part of me, and who has built up layers and layers of love and arguments and laughter and sulking and angst and all the other shite that 'family' throws at you. I look at his eyes and see my child's eyes - they function and have my colour and reflect his feelings. The shape of them reminds me of my ex husband. And that's pretty much it. But others obviously see something else. Something....attractive. Sexual even. (Excuse me whilst I throw up in a bucket.)
He IS NOT A SEXUAL BEING! He is MY SON! Fourteen years old. Doesn't know his arse from his elbow. And if I catch any women looking at him, I will tell them to fuck right off and come back when he's 18.
But seriously (actually, I was being serious), all this has made me realise that there is more to my son than I thought. To me he is a moody teenager; to others he has a sexual edge (*shudder*) that I simply don't (or won't) see.
Tween, who I think is much more attractive (probably because he looks more like me) is yet to come out from behind the glass wall of puberty. Irene complimented him on his green eyes, but it was Teen that she couldn't stop looking at.
For fuck's sake. Put your tongue in. You're 72.
I just need to get used to it. There will be girlfriends (or boyfriends perhaps) and I will be nice. Charming. "Cake?" I will say, and while my back's turned I will hiss, "Hurt him and you will know pain..." and they will say, "Pardon?" and I will say, "What time is your train?"
And when she takes his hand under the table, I will pretend not to notice. And when she looks into his eyes, those eyes of his that remind me of my ex, I will quietly leave the room.