After the bombshell that my estranged parents are re-tying the knot, things have become even stranger over the last few weeks.
Life has completely changed since that afternoon at the spa, and I can’t even meet up with my gal pals to goss about the fact my ancient mum and dad have decided to get married AGAIN.
I’ve had to settle for video chats where it has become clear that, out of all the people currently living on Earth – my life is most definitely the hardest.
I wonder if I can bill mum and dad for all the therapy I needed to get over their very messy divorce? Even after those very expensive sessions I still can’t eradicate the image of my own mother getting basted in sun cream by Jorge the pool boy – not least because he was definitely flirting with me at the same time.
Pictured: "I wonder if I can bill mum and dad for all the therapy I needed to get over their very messy divorce?"
But now is not the time to delve into disturbing scenes from my suburban upbringing, diary, because there are more urgent matters at hand. For starters, given everything, mumsy’s initial plan of having a destination re-wedding in Hawaii has been put on hold. When I found out I really had to feign disappointment that she would no longer be able to walk down the aisle in full ‘hula’ gear.
Not that I’m happy about this sham marriage taking place for a second time, but at least we can postpone the cultural appropriation for another day. Just when I thought I wouldn’t have to think about this bizarre ceremony until the world stops falling apart under our feet, I get a call from ‘Bunty’ (that’s my mum’s pet name for her mid-life crisis).
“Fenny darling, you’ll never guess what?!”
Oh god, she’s using her excited voice. This can only mean that she’s planning another plastic surgery or it’s something about the dreaded wedding (the ‘dreading’ if you will).
“As you know, your father and I—”
“Yes, yes, mum, against the wishes of anyone who has ever met you, you’re resuming your state of marital piss."
“Fenella Bond, don’t you dare take that tone with me!” (Clearly not a fan of word play – noted).
“Ugh. Sorry ‘Bunty’” (I made sure to put extra whiney emphasis on her ‘name’ so she knew, implicitly, the only thing I was really sorry about is the fact I have to be bridesmaid), “what did you want to tell me?”
“Well, ‘Fenella’” (apparently two can play at that game) “you’ll never guess what! We were talking to a few friends of ours – you know Reginald and Caroline – about how disappointed we were that we couldn’t renew our vows in Hawaii like we’d planned and they said that the ‘in’ thing nowadays is to do it all online.”
Pictured: "The ‘in’ thing nowadays is to do it all online."
I’m very confused at this point. After several minutes of explanation and far too many uses of the word ‘gizmo’ for my liking, it became clear that my parents were going to do their wedding via video conference. Oh, and just in case that wasn’t bad enough, it’s happening this weekend. Joy of joys.
“It’s just going to be a small affair—”
I bite my tongue, but what I wanted to say is, “Ahh so just like the ones you and dad had when you were married the first time around?”
The day of the ‘wedding’ rolled around and I never thought the so-called happiest day of my parents’ lives would involve having to download a new piece of software. At least I don’t have to be in the same room as them when they inevitably have a few drinks and start insulting each other for sport. So romantic.
When we finally manage to connect to the call, I realise dad has somehow set his background to a still from ‘March of the Penguins’ and can’t figure out how to change it. I try and explain it to him but lose my patience and have to do a breathing exercise to calm down.
The officiator makes a bad joke about dad getting cold feet and I seriously contemplate hanging up.
A few of their friends are on the line too, but their video keeps freezing whilst their faces are contorted into bizarre expressions. One bloke who plays golf (naturally) with my dad keeps asking if they can hear him and I wonder if he does that at real weddings he attends – just shouting if he’s audible from the pews as the ceremony is about to start.
“No one needs to hear you, Nigel!” I eventually snap.
Inexplicably, a Beyoncé track plays and in walks my mum – you are not going to believe this, diary – decked head to toe in a full hula girl costume.
Strangely enough, the fact that her garb was entirely incongruous with the Arctic backdrop they appeared in front of was the least weird thing about this wedding.
Dad’s vows were literally the lyrics of Rick Astley’s hit ‘Never Gonna’ Give You Up’ and instead of exchanging rings they placed a cheap flower garland round each other’s necks. It was truly excruciating, completely unsentimental and yet, my mum insisted on bawling like a baby. Yeah, I’d be crying too if I was re-entering that poisonous relationship.
“And now, we’d like to call upon our beloved daughter, Fenella, to give a speech in our honour.”
Pictured: "I could think of nothing positive to say to bless this very unholy union."
Erm. Excuse me – what now? My palms started sweating, my breathing got heavier and despite wracking my brain I could think of nothing positive to say to bless this very unholy union.
So, diary, did I do the valiant thing and come up with something generic and spontaneous to appease my parents’ total ambush? Nope. Did I let rip and tell them what I really thought of this atrocity? Absolutely not.
I did what every child of two narcissists would do in this situation; I stammered, flickering my web cam on and off and froze in place to make it look like I’d lost connection before disconnecting from the call.
A few minutes later I sent mum a text – “Sorry there was a power cut in my building, and I’ve lost WiFi! So glad I could virtually be with you on your special day. Love you both xoxo”
Bio: Smart, succesful, sophisticated and so far, single, Fenella Bond is living the life of a 21st century professional woman in Jersey. She may be the new high-flying career junkie in your office; she may be your friend on Facebook; she may be your boss. She may even be the sassy lady sitting across from you...
This column first appeared in the May edition of Connect magazine. Only available online, CLICK HERE to read it in full.