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Monday, 15 June 2015

A Small Boy Falling from a Window, Lovely Girls scattered in the Wind.

So there you are, sitting in a Taxi, on the way from a north city suburb back to town agreeing with the Taxi Driver that yeah the traffic is mental, as you do, wondering if you should pick up something in town for dinner and if so what that might be, as you do. The Taxi driver is is off on a riff of his own,  supported by your murmured "Yeahs?.   You are not really listening. And then you hear this;

"So they just scattered,  like leaves in the wind they were.  You could see the fear on their faces.  As soon as the nun clap-clapped, gone, all of them gone. Sure they were only talking, like."
"Eh?"
"Yeah, I was chopping down trees in there, used to do a bit to that,  and I saw them. "
He inclines his head to the right, towards a high wall, trees weeping over the rim.
 "They came over to me, just asking me like,  what I was doing. I was just telling them how you fell  the trees at the spongy bit. They were curious, they were doing no harm.  Lovely they were,  lovely friendly girls."
"Girls?"
"Well some young, some middle aged.   Girls,  women, dressed different though. To everyone else, I mean.  You could the fear on their faces when the nun came and clapped.  Sharp like. Clap clap. Said nothing.  Its only later like you realize they were Magdalenes. That was a Convent  laundry."
"Right."
We're stuck in traffic now, rooted to that spot.
 "The Religious have a lot to answer for, only. Sure your parents used to tell you when I was a child they'd put you in Artane. If you mitched school. So I was always afraid. But I used to mitch school anyway. Sometimes.  They put a chap I knew in there and I was always asking him after what it was like.  I was so afraid of it. Sometimes he'd tell you things, twitchy he was, always nervous. Dead now. He told me, he said he was abused in there by the brothers. And another chap he knew, thin delicate little chap, the first night he was there he got pulled out of bed and sent to one priest. Thought he had done something wrong, he did, he told my friend that . But that wasn't it.  The priest raped him, that night and the next, and always after that. Always him.  Till one night he jumped out of a window. Just jumped. And afterwards the Brothers said he'd run off.  Told the guards that too. That's all they had to say.  The chap I knew used to clam up after that.
"Right. God. God Almighty."
The car has left the convent behind now.  We are on our way into town.
"So, why did they put  him in there, your friend?"
"For mitching, I told you. I was lucky. I was never caught. So I always wanted to know what it was went on in there.  We only knew, we were only told whatever it was,  it was bad."

 You walk past the GPO and turn unto Henry Street thinking about how the dead speak. They are legion.   Telling the living the story, throwing up bones, shadows, elliptic dreams.  Only listen.  Hear my story, remember this, acknowledge me.  And the living channel the deadspeak so seamlessly that  you miss it most of the time, you miss it but still it persists, long after the news story is over, the soundbite done, till you see them at last.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Exams, Holiday, All the Married Lesbian Priests.

                                                     Finally Definitely Over at Last.

We are getting closer now to the beginning of the end. The Leaving Certificate, the Junior Certificate  begins. "I'm glad" the boy tells me.  "At last. Soon it will be over."  "Yes" I say  "but are you ready?" "Yeah" he says, "Kind of.  In a way. You can be lucky."  Oh.  "But anyway, I'm so sick of it, everyone,  teachers, you, everybody,  talk,  talk,  talking about it, asking about it,  telling me what to do about it,  I just want it to be over."  Me too,  dear boy. Quite as much as you I'd say.
                                           
                                            Just tie my arms behind my back and let me at it.
                                        
The boss on the other hand is absolutely totally ready for it, going to chew it up and spit it out. Why she'd even have a go at the Leaving Certificate if she could. She has a study plan. She has exam timetables taped to the wall in her bedroom, to the fridge door in the kitchen.  ("You can google it, if you want it, and eh print it" the boy told me) She watches disapprovingly as he slinks out to play xbox with his friends, goes fishing for an hour (or eight).  " Back in an hour"  he sings over his shoulder on his way out the door. She arranges her pens and calculater in a transparent pencil case and asks you to up the fruit and fish oil quota in the weekly shop, oh and dark chocolate! Brainfood!  You find yourself wondering if it will all be an Egregious Anticlimax for her in the end. She wants to be challenged is all.  "Do you think she should be handicapped, maybe"?  her Aunt offers  "like a, you know, horse in a race? Make it interesting for her?"  Hmm.

                                         Everybody needs to get away sometimes (though not with you)

We'll go away after I say. A week in the sun.  To recover. "Not me" the boy says. " Not with you. No offense, but I'd rather have the money. For like a week in Magaluf,  or Camping, or  Norway. Or whatever.  With like my friends. No offense".  None taken.  And never mind, the Boss and the Beautiful One are in. "So, did you go away with your friends and not your family to Spain after your leaving certificate" the Boss asks.  "Me?  Nope. We went to Wexford. The seaside. Like every other year, and had a hoot. And that was the first week. We had two weeks of carnival in the summer. My father, your grandfather you know,  went to the races in Galway in July and we, back at the ranch,  had a party! Picnics, films, trips to exotic places (the Japanese Gardens, the National Stud) to do exotic stuff.  My mother put on her "on vacation" hat,  tossed aside the everyday grind, and really,  home wasn't humdrum home that week. It was America, it was Italy!
                                                   
                                                 
"The only bum note ( I was on a roll now) was the Cattle Count every evening. Had to be done and reported back to your man in Galway, as he shaved in a Salthill BnB before the evening session. There was always one of 'em  missing. Or two.  Keep counting she'd say.  Keep at it.  I always wondered why she wouldn't  just tell him they were all there,  yeah, yeah all present and correct,  yeah all there dear,  just say they were,  maybe even OMG not bother counting at all,  because they always turned up, in the end, always,  and let us get of to the cinema or whatever jolly awaited.  But she wouldn't. She had too much character. Always.

                                                    Resistance being Totally Futile.

The day before the Exams start the Boss takes an hour out from book-learning and hangs out with me, idly watching the Nuns Story on television. "So, right,  how do you like become a nun,  I mean get to be one," she asks me. "Do you know?" "Vocation" I say "You heard all about it from the Nuns at school. The Lord calling you when you hit puberty? And girls resisting maybe? But the nuns said he, the Lord,  always got you in the end. So you used to think about that. I mean I had like a lot of other things calling me at the time, as you do. So was I like resisting? Did the fact that I really didn't want to mean I had to? I mean I lost a whole year of adolescence to that actual dilemma. Positively Hagridden.

The Boss had that expression on her face now.  That interested certainty that she would never ever  have been that soldier. She would never ever have been that dumb. "So, anyway, (I was really on a roll)  when I got past that, I lost the whole of the  next year to Lesbianism?  being preoccupied about being a Lesbian? I mean how could you be sure you weren't. Like the vocation, how could you know you  weren't in denial? I mean I just wanted to be bog standard normal, commonplace, nothing to see here move on.  I mean I figured I could hack being a Lesbian if I was one, but not the not knowing.  "Oh I know!"  the beautiful one walked in on this, "I  used to worry about that too.  But the thing is, no one ever is. Normal I mean. You just have to, sort of,  learn to be yourself, that's all" So she had that expression on her face now, the interested certainty that she would have cracked it, had cracked it. Easy peasy.  "Hmm, maybe so" I said. "But, its quite the burden being really truly you,  Miss Oh So Young and Certain. And you have to carry it on your own"
                             
                                         No Dinosaurs were hurt in the writing of this Blog.

"Well anyway," the Boss moves things along,  "Anyway, I mean Priests and Nuns, aren't they like dying out. So what will happen to the Church then?"  "The church dies too" I say firmly.  "But" her broad creamy  forehead creased, " that's not good. People need like spirituality? And Priests to do stuff?"   "Yeah,  they do. They do need stuff.  But that's just be too bad.  I mean why not Married Priests,  Women Priests?  What a shot in the arm, what a forgiving sunburst of energy blasting into the limp, shamed Church Body. So how about it?  The remedy in the Church's own hands. But they won't.  The Catholic Church is a Dinosaur, and will go the away of all the other Dinosaurs. And stuff the people, they don't rate in all that blinkered male hubris.  No sir,  let them eat cake, basically.  Now go to bed and let your great brain sleep the sleep of the totally prepared, angel girl. Tomorrow, it all kicks off."

                                                               Once we were Dinosaurs

So maybe back then if I thought that one day I could become a Married Lesbian Priest, I would have been less tormented by it all. Or tormented about something more useful to me. But guess what, I still can't. Dinosaurs.