Well here's an update, as well as a precis of what happened in the first place. I'd appreciate your help, advice and wise counsel. Not you Blacker!
A few days before I departed for Serendib, around the 20th of December, or Dizzember as it's pronounced in Singlish, A asked me if she could have some friends round on the 31st to RD Towers.
My gut reaction was No, with a capital N and, as I think on it, probably with a capital O as well, so more of a NO than a mere No. But logic and rationale raged a battle against gut feeling and instinct in my head. I wouldn't have wanted to be a fellow passing through the RD mind at around that time. Most of it was absorbed by that last few days level of excitement I get whenever I'm about to hit the shores of Lanka.
I feel a constant urge to poo, a conscious need to remind myself to breathe, something I'm normally pretty good at, and a disconnect from what's actually going on around me at the time. So, while all of this was happening, my mind had to also deal with that fierce war between the logic and the gut about letting A have my apartment.
Gut feeling was shouting pretty loudly about boys, alcohol and Facebook messages telling people that there was shindig going on at A's Dad's luxury pad. Logic was muttering slightly under its breath about points that I, the Dad who struggles, would score by letting A do this. Rationale was also mumbling things about A having the apartment a couple of times before and there never being a problem, that she'd actually been quite responsible. Even Cerno would have been bewildered by the variety of voices in my head.
So, after listening to all the voices, I had a poo. Then I texted A and said a firm, a resounding and an emphatic NO. There are times, and all men will relate to this, when we're firm, strong and resolute. We mean what we say and we say what we mean. We don't negotiate, we don't waiver. This was one of those times.
About four minutes later I'd agreed to let her use the apartment. I can't be entirely sure how it happened, but, to be honest, I'd never fully made up my mind in the first place. A few text messages, that deadly combination of sweet talk and threats, of "Dad I'll be really grateful" with "Yeah Dad, there's never been a problem before, what's YOUR problem?" seemed to do the trick.
And so it came to pass that, on 31st Dizzember, I celebrated with friends, flashed a bit of nipple and shook a leg or two, all with a mental background of worry and anguish about what was going to be taking place in my apartment.
I'd laid down some strict conditions; no boys, no alcohol and a maximum of four girls apart from A were allowed to stay the night there. I knew that my conditions were about as powerful and effective as the department of bribery and corruption in Sri Lanka. A's fuss free acceptance of my terms only made my anguish worse.
During the course of the night I sent A a couple of texts. There was a happy new year one, its hidden message being "is my flat okay?" She replied saying all was fine, with that exasperated tone in her text message. How on earth can a woman, particularly one who's only sixteen and still in training, manage to portray a sighing and exasperated tone in a text message? They do it though, it must be ingrained in their genes or something.
On New Year's day I spoke to her and was told in sighing tones again that everything was cool, that all went well and no apartments had been burnt to a cinder. I let it go, figuring that I could do no more and would find out the truth upon my return.
I got back to Londinium on the 9th day of 2011, coincidentally it was also the 9th of January. My 'rents picked me up at the airport. As hard as I try, I can't seem to prevent from happening. As usual I navigated for my Dad as he negotiated that tricky journey; from the airport to my place. He manages to make every road appear as if it was only built the day before despite the fact that he's lived in that very neck of the woods for about forty years.
We got to the flat, I was tired and had aeroplane breath, that strange smell of sickness and tiredness that only happens after a long flight and is never quite remedied by brushing teeth and using mouthwash on the plane itself.
I didn't know what to expect. The apartment might have been spotless, sparkling and clean as a whistle, it might have been as grubby and dirty as could be or anywhere in between.
As me and my olds entered the place my heart dropped. It was, on a scale of grubbiness from one to ten where ten is as bad as it gets, hovering at about a twenty seven. The kitchen dustbin was full to the brim, the bag tied up but not emptied. The dishwasher was full, badly stacked too would you believe, and hadn't been put on. There were dirty glasses out, bits of tobacco around, mud all over one carpet in one of the bedrooms and I felt totally pissed off......
to be continued..........(sorry about that!)