Too Good for this World

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2008

Her mum and Jonny had always got on like a house on fire. They agreed on many things, and enjoyed heated debates when they didn’t. The two of them were both so fiery, and so sure of their views, that their exchange of opinions could practically make sparks fly. Two days before Imogen and Jonny got married he came round and sat with her and her mum at the kitchen table, helping to sort out some last minute wedding things.

They were working on the wedding favours, which were packets of wild flower seeds tied up with ribbon and with each guest’s name hand-written on a little label. This sort of formality wasn’t particularly in Jonny’s nature, but Imogen wanted all the little pretty details and he seemed quite happy to help make them.

‘So,’ Jonny said to her mum, ‘tell me again. I’m going to get some money, but I need to be wary…’

Her mum slapped Jonny good-naturedly on the wrist with a packet of seeds. Jonny had let her read him his horoscope earlier on and he wasn’t letting her hear the end of it.

‘It would be good if I knew where this money was going to come from,’ he said, ‘to make sure I get it.’

‘If you’re supposed to get it, you will get it,’ she said.

Jonny nodded slowly, his chin in his hand, his mouth twitching as he tried not to laugh. ‘Mm,’ he said.

Imogen went to the fridge, where there was some white wine. ‘Enough, you two,’ she said. She held up the bottle. ‘Less talking, and more working… and drinking.’

Later on, Imogen went to find some more ribbons from her room. When she came back downstairs, she could hear the low murmur of conversation. Jonny was unbelievably upfront about things, which her mum loved. He’d even been so daring as to talk with her mum about sex on more than one occasion, which she’d been shocked by. But then she’d realised, it wasn’t actually daring that had made him do it. To him sex was just another part of life, and as open for discussion as any other element of being in the world. When she’d questioned him about it he’d said, ‘your mum is a person, isn’t she? I wasn’t being dirty about it, I was just talking.’

When she drew close to the kitchen, she heard Jonny say the most extraordinary thing, and without so much as a hint of embarrassment in his voice. ‘Marie,’ he said, which was her mum’s name, ‘I just want you to know that I love Imogen more than life itself, and you can rest assured that I am going to devote the rest of my days to making her happy in every possible way.’

Imogen flattened herself against the wall in delighted embarrassment, while she heard her mum give a surprised laugh. A few seconds later she went back inside, still thinking about Jonny’s extraordinary words. Once she’d sat back down at the table, her mum put her hand on Jonny’s shoulder and said, ‘I wish there were more like this one.’ Then she cackled away and Jonny looked at Imogen and gave her a wink.

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