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Friday, 4 October 2013

Ned Kelly/Lovers/ Villagers bearing torches

We took ourselves  to Cavan for a wedding on the weekend, orphans from the storm of family life. We sped along the motorway with a nice sense of the clandestine, though it was a trip punctuated with  news bites from a story just coming in on the car radio about the two young children lured away  from a children's party in Athlone.  The children, horribly assaulted,  escaped through a window and the alarm was raised." Not some desperate fruitless hunt then for little ones whose fate could only ever be imagined", I said uneasily, as we cut the radio off, " there is that at least.  Is there not? " My husband was silent as we arrived and parked.

"I met her on the internet" the beaming groom, long known in that part of the world as The Hen,  began the wedding speech. " That's how at first, and then..... I went to China, and..." He drew the air deep into his lungs to contain his emotion, to go on, when from the back of the room  the loud squawking of a hen and its human bearers drowned him out. The hen was carried to the bridal table and ceremoniously placed to cheers and guffaws. I watched her edgily where she perched on the wedding table by my elbow. She stared calmly back as though waiting with me for the groom to resume his story.

 He did attempt it, but the hen flew into the air to be snatched as she flew, by one of the guests, and sat tucked into his arm to increased cheers and catcalls. Each time the groom  reached  for the threads of his story he was derailed by the mockers thereafter, until at last he abandoned the attempt.

 " She's the love of my life and my soulmate ANYWAY" he roared above the crowd "and oh I know right well your smart remarks, your chinese takeaways and the like. Don't care, it's what she is" smiling down into the loving anxious face of his chinese bride. And she was. They  were an obvious couple.  Peas in a pod. Each other's only other.

" Why, oh why" I asked the man I  married "wouldn't they let him SPEAK?" But he was in the moment,  hooting at the dexterity of the wedding guest who never even rose from his chair as he reached up an arm to catch the flying hen. Earlier the dear man  had been hauled before a venerable old woman on the Groom's side, who after casting about her in vain for his seed and breed, announced "Oh it's you! Ah yes, you were always like your mother" bringing his beloved mother, lost to an aggressive cancer when he was still in his teens, to the wedding feast. And he was Cavan, native and son again.

On Monday's we watched the people massing on on the Garda Station  in Athlone where a man suspected of the frightful assault on the children was held. "What are they waiting for? I mean what do they want exactly?" I asked my husband, both of us blasted and loose after our pretty wild weekend. "Want? they don't know what they want,  they only know what they don't want, angelface"." Huh?"   Don't want to be alone,  be taken unawares,  be prey to the unexpected. There's safety in numbers, ease in the crowd, positive bliss, baby, in laying down the burden of your own adjectival individual tormenting knowing. Yeah"

Maybe baby. But. Smarts, heart and your adjectival  soul's well thrashed in the braying crowd. And I do not forgive that refusal of the Groom's story, though they drank and laughed and  feasted for him all night long.

And you might like to take a look at Peter Carey's True History Of the Kelly Gang if you want to hear the voice of an individual adjectival man..