Deborah Ross: Confessions Of A World Cup Widow

Withdrawal provides plenty of kicks
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The Independent Online

Oh dear. During the week, on Wednesday and Thursday, there were 48 hours without any football whatsoever and, for the boys, the withdrawal was awful.

I did feel sorry for them, the poor chaps, as they wandered listlessly and sadly around the house between 8pm and 10pm, wondering what on earth to do with themselves. They were pale, disoriented, depressed and, at one point, they even imagined I was laughing at them while doing a jubilant jig and exclaiming: "Hurrah, no football tonight and tomorrow; hurrah, no football tonight and tomorrow."

And the hallucinations did not stop there. They even imagined that I made a big show of putting on Property Ladder and getting comfortable on the sofa with a huge sigh of happiness that lasted not just through that show, but through much of Location, Location, Location as well.

Alas, they got the shakes, too, which seemed to affect their fists particularly. There I was, sitting so comfortably on the sofa, letting out those major sighs of contentment, and there they were, madly shaking their fists at me. It is a terrible, terrible thing, this withdrawal.

Of course, I did what I could, was there for them, or would have been, but after Location, Location, Location it was The F Word, which I didn't proceed to watch out of spite, even though it is boring and crap. "Ah, The F Word, lovely," I might have said but, as the boys' recall can not be trusted, their withdrawal symptoms being what they were, and there were no other witnesses, who can say for sure?

I do, I think, recall my son saying to me: "You're enjoying this, aren't you, mum?" but as I turned the volume up to max at that point I, too, cannot say for sure. I do know, though, that his shakes accelerated, even affecting his legs, such that one shot out and got my own in the shin, rather as a deliberate kick might. And so those 48 hours went on, until yesterday morning when they both came downstairs looking decidedly perkier.

My partner had lost his listlessness. My son had colour in his cheeks. Life, they concluded over the hearty breakfast I would have cooked for them, but didn't, so they had Shreddies, would have meaning again come 4pm.

I was happy for them, naturally, but - and here's a funny thing - as the day progressed I felt the shakes coming on. Indeed, come 4pm, by which time they were settled comfortably on the sofa, sighing loudly and contentedly, my fists were really going some, as were my legs. I think I got both in the shin during the course of the evening. Now, how on earth do you explain that?