Friday, April 11, 2008

Tea in Dublin

Tae sa Baile Átha Cliath

She had the organic porridge with Drambuie and cream. I had the "famous" Irish breakfast. We're both coffee drinkers but on this morning we had a pot of tea. It seemed more proper. And if we were actually meeting again and actually spending the money for breakfast at Bewley's, it seemed important, or perhaps simply logical, to be proper.

"What about ya?" I asked. An unconscious fall into northern phrasing. Her laugh was just as I had left it seven years ago, a dangerous combination of lovely and vicious. "You'd think after all these years you'd have learned how to speak." "Ah," I answered, "you wouldn'a have changed at'all." She only looked at me then, her dark eyes slashing though they barely moved, and sipped her tea.

We'd been lovers. Briefly. Wildly. Cataclysmically. I had been in Dublin short term. She had assumed that meant a meaningless fling. I had deluded myself into believing something else. I had deluded myself into believing many
things. I flew home shattered. What's that song, "I awoke with a broken heart and a ticket home?" Maybe, but, in retrospect, she was not truly the object of real love. It was my fantasy of conquering the high-powered Dublin woman, bringing her to love me. It was that which had likely mattered, and it was that which had ended up broken. So, in my memory I was not fair to her. It is always more reciprocal than we want to admit. Always.

There was much less conversation than I had imagined or prepared for. She looked much older, much more tired. I might hav
e as well. She seemed less self-assured, less confident, and that made me sad. Her angry self-centeredness had made her attractive at the start - in that way that I often seek out the bad drama - and thus she was easy to hate in the aftermath. Now there seemed less of a point to all of the emotional energy that had been expended.

"There's a rumour," she said, "that you want to go to UU." "Nuh," I told her, "well, perhaps. I'd go back to Derry if something came up at Magee, and maybe to Coleraine, but I wouldn'a necessarily move to take something at Jordanstown." She wasn't really listening, it had just been her habit of repeating stories. So I asked about her new book, and she described that in detail. She likes her work. She's damn smart. And that was always attractive.

There were some other things exchanged. Her kids, mine, in surface description. Her research and mine, again, skimmed. A few places she'd been, places I still was.

And then, breakfast was done, and so was the second pot. And it was time. She hugged me momentarily at the door, I responded with one arm. She walked on up Grafton Street, back into her own world. I looked her way, then looked the other. It was nearing noon, and the street was aflood with shoppers and walkers and buskers and tourists. I walked back toward College Green, stopped for afternoon pub cash at the ATM at the Bank of Ireland. I said to myself, "I should go into this building more often - it is so beautiful." Then I crossed the street, and walked through the gates of Trinity. From the light of the day, to the dim of the ancient corridor, and back out into the light of the day.

copyright 2007 by Ira Socol

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Some people, who knows why, are so close to us that the way we commune is almost an undercurrent to life and yet so vital that such connections we might call soul connections. She is such for you. It's very deep. It holds mysteries and endless explorations. You grow through this love, somehow what you wrestle with expands your understanding of the process of love, in pain and loss and beauty and togetherness, and yet something always eludes... perhaps the very essence of mystery itself. What holds you to her? There are no rational reasons that truly encompass the feelings, nor their histories. What is elusive is where the mystery is and what counts. Aye, there's the rub.