I had been showing off the city and so we had started at The Long Hall which is as deeply real, perhaps as deeply Dublin as you'll get in those places just south of the Liffey and then gone to St. Patrick's Cathedral because, you know you have to, though I had told her not to light the votive there because "it is not really a Catholic Church," a comment that drew one of those, "Jesus, get over it" looks, in this case richly deserved, and then walked past Christ Church but did not go in because if you've seen one ancient cathedral seized by Henry the Eighth you've seen them all, and then down the hill, stopping at The Brazen Head for pints and stew. "Yes," I told her, "it is for tourists, but amazing nonetheless." We sat outside, smoking heavily from her packs of duty-free Camels. In this spot I always try to conjure the
Thirty or so Euros lighter we walked out onto Merchants Quay. The river and sky were matching grays. The Four Courts loomed across the water. She said, "There might be too much history here for your own good." I shrugged, lit another cigarette. She said, "You seem a little depressed, and maybe a little like you like being depressed." I shrugged again, walked a few more paces, staring at my shoes. "History yes," I told her, "but not really my history. Depressed? Not really, just displaced." She put her hand on my arm, but gently. "So what now?" She put the question to me in a whisper that let me choose not to hear.
Through Wood Quay and Essex Quay we shared that American kind of small talk. I pointed out those strange amphibious tourist craft in the river, pointed up
But we were good at silence. And so we turned south from the river, away from the Ha'penny and wandered into a touristy place with people playing music too loudly. We sat in the smoking courtyard near enough to the pipes and guitar that there was no chance to hear each other's voices, and we drank our pints as the gray sky above turned black.
Copyright 2006 by Ira Socol