Chapter 9

Dennis is the first to grab a beer. This is less about settling nerves and more about how good beer is.  He is confident of a good turnout tonight but nervous of who may unexpectedly turn up.  Mary had set this event up.  

‘Make an occasion of it, “she said.

“You’re right,” he said to himself 2 weeks out.

This party was not high on his list of things to organise.  All it needed was someone else in his life to instigate it.  That’s why “Girlfriends will always change you,” never leaves his mind.


Helen is not drinking tonight. She hasn’t drunk anything alcoholic for 4 months.  First born children, while being the most sensitive, are also a secret weapon in playing your life cards right.

She wants her baby to come out clean and wholesome.  So, what goes into her mouth is clean.


The brown uber station-wagon stops outside Dennis’s party house.  Amanda exits while giving her driver, Ahmed, his 5-star rating with no tip.

She walks up the path and through the open front door with confidence.  Stephen, talking to Dennis, sees Amanda come in and makes his way over to make her feel happy/comfortable.

“Thanks for coming Amanda,” he says holding out this hand.

“That’s ok,” says a confident slightly drunk Amanda. 

“I’m part of your family now in a funny kind of way.”

Stephen looks quizzical about this.

“Oh yeah Dennis sees you at your work too,” admits Stephen.

You’re not too bright eh Stephen?” says Amanda to her own self.

I think I’ll give you a miss tonight.” 


Helen looks over at Stephen with Amanda. She catches Amanda’s eye. They both stare at each other. Stephen notices and takes Amanda over to Helen.  Both the girls continue to stare at each other.

“This is my lovely pregnant sister Helen,” says Stephen.

Amanda holds out her hand and shakes Helen’s.  

“Lovely to meet you,” says Helen.

They continue to look at each other and cannot let go of the warm handshake.

“Stephen talks about you a lot.”

“Thanks,” says Amanda 

“He talks affectionately about his family too.”

Amanda looks at Stephen’s boyish face with untold affection but little respect.


Brenda stumbles out of her uber without giving the slightest thank you.  She is determined to get down to bass level tonight.

Mary is holding 2 full champagne glasses. She sees Brenda enter. 

Helen catches Brenda’s eye.  Mary looks to Helen and sees they have engaged.

Amanda is walking towards the bar when she also catches Brenda’s eye.

Brenda stops.  Amanda stops.  They all stare at each other.

Brenda moves quickly towards Amanda.  They stare at each other more.

“You’re the first one I gave away," says Brenda to Amanda then looking at Helen who stares at Amanda.

“You are the sister that I never knew I had,” says a starting to cry Helen.

“That’s true,”  says Brenda.

“Í gave you both away,” says Brenda with a hand on each of their shoulders.


I am loving this. What really gets me interested and amused is that through the dialogue I can picture the speakers and see the expressions on their faces without Ken describing them - the dialogue is that good. “You are the sister that I never knew I had,” says a starting to cry Helen. Wonderful work, Ken. I hope to pick your brains shortly.