A short article about not
coming from anywhere
I did not know the old man well. There was the time the proud old republican, irascible and confused, suffered the indignity of having his bow tied by a cocky, posh-ish, young-ish Englishman at his own son’s wedding. But that is all.
And yet there we were, in the city, when he died. In support, sympathy, as friends of the son, we went to the funeral.
In a corner of the city I do not know, outside a modern, squat chapel, nervous young gardaí, anxious to be seen to honour one of their own, needlessly and nervously directed the traffic.
Inside, a certain heft, a weight amongst the mourners, common to every gathering of policemen I have ever encountered.
The casket was open. The undertaker had done tremendous work. The old man lay in immaculate calm and dignity.
That evening, ever the interloper, I found myself at a private ceremony of remembrance. In a church, in a village by the rush-running Bandon. We sat and listened as those closest spoke with enormous love of the young man who had come south years before, ‘stolen’ a local girl and made his home and life amongst them.
We walked out into the cool of the evening – under the azure, early summer sky and its silver sliver moon.
Days later, after the afters, we met again – the son and his family, we and ours. Amongst giraffes and lemurs, the kids started something new.