Archive for the 'Story' Category

May 03 2011

We Never Grow Up

Published by under Blog,DART,Story

Two old ladies, chatting at the DART station. Very old – well into their seventies. My eavesdropping required no covert behaviour. Whether through declining hearing in their decaying years or just a complete disregard for social ettiquette, they were loud enough to hear from about 20 feet away.

These well-to-do aul’ wans were discussing a mutual friend, one they seemed to have both known for a significant number of years. While I picked up no names, their inflexions and tones on each “he said” and “she said” made it easy to decipher the individual “he’s” and “she’s”.

At the moment I picked up on their less-than-clandestine conversation, aul’ wan A (let’s call her Ann) was saying that she had enough of “her” (the mutual friend’s) behaviour. Aul’ wan B (shall we say Barbara?) completely agreed. Ann’s annoyance grew as she spoke of the mutual friend’s recent gallivanting.

Ann: “I saw her up dancing in the Grand last Sunday. And she a married woman.”

Barbara: “Sure, she’s always been the same. Do you not remember back in nineteen sixty-something when she was with yer man? She knew then I had a thing for him and she didn’t care. Why would it be any different now?”

Ann: “She’s a hussy. It’s no way to be behave.”

Barbara: “Well, I’m having no more to do with her. I’m cutting her out.” (this is honestly what this woman said)

Ann: “What do you mean?”

Barbara: “I’m not speaking to her. I’m not even going to look at her. I’ll walk by her if I see her.”

Ann: “You’re dead right. I’m not talking to someone like that. I’ll cut her off too.”

Two elderly women behaving like bitchy teenagers – I could only smile in disbelief.

I’m beginning to think their no such thing as ‘growing up’. It’s just a phrase that adults use to make themselves feel better.

2 responses so far

Nov 12 2009

He Listens For The Footsteps That Would Follow Him Around

Published by under Blog,DART

We slip in and out of peoples lives everyday. Sometimes our effect can be profound, sometimes slight, sometimes we go unnoticed at all. But we’re there. We cross paths with the world and don’t even realise that for the briefest of moments, we are a part of these peoples lives.

I think about that quite a bit. But never more so than when I’m sitting on the DART on the way to work in the mornings. It’s fascinating to watch them all.

Just think about this – how vast is your life? Think about all the years you’re on this planet; think of all the things you’ve done, you’ve thought about, you’ve been involved in; think about all the things you did in school, in college, in work; think about all those nights out, the gigs, the movies, the shows you’ve been to; think about all the people you’ve met this week, last week, last month, last year. It’s truly epic in scale. And that’s just your life. I look around the DART and see about 50 other people on this carriage alone. Each and every one of those people have had similarly vast lives. Mindblowing stuff.

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Jul 28 2009

The Oddballs Are Out In Force

Published by under Blog,DART,Story

The oddballs are out in force this morning. The DARTs have been getting quieter and quieter in the mornings, and therefore less eventful. Occasionally, we find our eardrums accosted by Spanish students on their way to a tour of Dublin’s sites, but mostly it’s just me and dwindling numbers of half-recognised faces ignoring each other, staring blankly out at the sea or buried deep in our books, phones, laptops.

This morning, had the sun not been shining in the sky I would have assumed it a full moon. We begin with Mr. Touch. I watched him board. He gently caressed the door frame. He did not just tip his hand off it or hold the frame for support. He ran his fingers and hand along both sides and the upper part of the door frame, as he stepped onto the train. Then he stood. He looked around the carriage. As I mentioned, it’s very quiet these days, so he had his pick of seats. I didn’t see what he was waiting for. Then he reached out and grabbed one of the bars people use for support when standing. With both hands he rubs the bar up and down, up and down, up and down. More than just me was staring, bewildered at this man’s disturbing ritual.

As he moved forward into the carriage I could see he was wearing trousers that were a few inches too small for him, odd socks (black and white) and a t-shirt that was about 4 sizes too big for him. It draped on him like a poncho. His jacked was old – it was a rain jacket, black and shiny. His telescopic glasses looked like they could identify individual grains of sand on the moon.

He finally chose a seat. Not beside me, thankfully, but in the next set of four seats. As he sat down, he touched everything. Again, he rubbed and caressed. His chair below his ass, the back of his seat behind him and then the wall behind him before settling on the window. For two stations, he just sat there head down, rubbing the window. A woman sitting across from him looked very worried – perhaps concerned that he might start rubbing her. He did not. Perhaps she wasn’t the right texture for him.

At Dalkey, another odd gent got on. He was elderly, but probably not as old as he looked. Short, extremely skinny and with two bugged eyes that more or less held banners out in front of him proclaiming “I am strange”. The banner toting eyeballs did not lie. He sat directly behind me, opposite a woman who was so engrossed in her copy of Let The Right One In that she didn’t even notice him sit down.

He immediately began apologising to her. Now, as far as I could see, he had not done anything to apologise for. He didn’t bump into her or knock over her bag, so she was understandably startled by his sorries. He kept saying it – “I’m very sorry, I’m sorry ma’am, I’m sorry, I’m very sorry” and she was baffled by him. She tried to calm him with her own incessant “it’s fine, it’s fine, don’t worry, it’s ok”, but it did no good. Eventually, he just quietened down. The apologies became a dull murmur and then a faint whisper and then they were gone.

But sadly for the young woman, that wasn’t the end of it. He quietly said, “excuse me ma’am, excuse me ma’am”. She had no choice but to respond. He was very quietly spoken and I couldn’t make out what he said. Neither could she it seemed, at first. I heard her say “oh, Sydney Parade? Yes, I’ll tell you”. Presumably he had asked her to let him know when he reached his stop. This was followed with another minute-long tirade of “thank you, thank you, thank you very much, thank you ma’am, thank you”. This too eventually dwindled and tapered off.

At Sydney Parade, she did her duty and told him it was his stop. He immediately began a new set of thank you’s and as the train pulled out of the station, we could see him staring back at her, still mouthing the words – “thank you ma’am”.

Is it a full moon tonight?

6 responses so far

Jul 08 2009

Abandoned

Published by under Big Brother,Blog,Story

My little project has been abandoned. Lack of time, lack of interest, lack of motivation – take your pick. It’s all finished in my notepad, so I may come back to it some day, but not right now.

 

Cheers to anyone who was reading. 🙂

7 responses so far

May 24 2009

An Empty DART Story

Published by under Blog,Story

Just Lottie and I. On a Saturday afternoon. On an empty DART.

There’s no annoying teen voices, no too-loud headphones, no intricate lies across strangers faces, no loves being born nor hearts being broken.

Just a quiet train and an empty notepad.


7 responses so far

May 20 2009

The Turtle

Published by under Blog,Story

The turtle wished he could fly…and it was so.

As he floated away, he looked down at his turtle friends and felt no sorrow. Some day he would fly their way again. They would welcome him back with open arms and it would be good.

For years, he flew to new lands and saw great things. He looked down on the gazelles and the plains, the saw the high trees of the rainforest and the wallowing hippos in the Amazon river. He travelled to man made cities and rested atop high concrete towers. He witnessed the turning of time from on high and it was beautiful.

Then he flew with the eagle and the eagle’s family. The eagle greeted him with a smile and they all flew high into the clouds together. For days, the turtle soared with the birds and the eagle showed him many great things. Sometimes he would catch the eagle looking inquisitively at him. For the first few times he let it pass – it was fun to watch the great bird’s confusion at the flying turtle.

Then, after a week, he said to the eagle, “You stare at me strangely, you know?”

“I am sorry. I do not mean to… I was wondering…” The eagle’s voice trailed off. He was unsure if he should continue.

“If you want to ask me a question, ” said the turtle, “please, go ahead”.

“Where is your family?” asked the eagle.

The turtle was stunned. He did not expect this question.

“What do you mean? Do you not want to ask me how it is that I fly? Do you not want to know what I’ve seen? Do you not want to know what it is like for a turtle to see the world from the eagle’s viewpoint?”

“But you are not an eagle. What use is there in seeing all these wonders, if you have no family, no friends to share them with?”

The eagle felt so sorry for the turtle. The turtle stared on. He did not want to fly anymore. He realised that seeing all these great things on high was empty. He experienced nothing. He was not living.

Resolute, he flew off at speed. He flew day and night without pause. Over the mountains and rivers and trees and animals and seas, he flew, ignoring all of it, knowing where he wanted to be.

He was home. High above, he looked down on his old friends. There seemed to be more turtles now and his friends had aged. He supposed that he must look aged too.

He flew down and proclaimed, “friends, fellow turtles, I am home. I am returned.”

With a slow, gentle and warm glance, one of his old friends nodded in acknowledgement at the returning turtle. Then he turned his back and walked away.

The other turtles, one by one, did the same.

“But why don’t you talk to me,” the turtle asked. “I have seen great things and I want to share them with you, I want you to know all the wonders I have known.”

One of them turned and spoke, “Old friend, we are happy for you. We are happy that you have done well and have seen great wonders. But we have grown older and moved on. We have families and other responsibilities. Though we wish you well, there is no place for you here now. Goodbye.”

He did not fly off. He merely lay there alone and shed a tear. In seeking greatness, he had missed his whole life.

15 responses so far

May 01 2009

May Day

Published by under Blog,Story

Greystones DART StationOn a crowded rush hour DART an elderly man sits opposite me, head hung, nursing an old photograph.

I stare into space, as I am wont to do. The bearded guy beside me is buried in The Watchmen graphic novel. There is a young blond woman beside the old man reading Elle.

The old man sighs loudly and there is a distinct stench of last night’s Jameson coming from him. He wants attention.

I stare on. Beardy guy turns the page of his comic. Blondie lifts her hand to cover her nose, but her head stays in her glossy rag.

“I met her sixty years ago today”, he begins.

Beardy doesn’t seem to notice. I smirk slightly at Blondie’s obvious discomfort. She glances away from him, perhaps seeking another seat. There are none to spare.

“She did the washup and looked after the babbies in one of the English houses and I was working with their man in the house.

“We had eight children. Nine actually. And we fought like eejits on that first day.”

I am not sure where to look. It’s clear he is going to keep talking. I’m not sure if he’s addressing one of the other two, but I sure as hell am not about to make eye contact.

“Every few years we would talk about that May Day. I always forgot what we fought over, but she never forgot. She had a divil of a memory,” he says with a slight chirp in his tone. Without looking at him, I can hear the smile in his voice.

“I think she changed the story a bit over the years.

“I was doing some work in the yard and went into the little downstairs kitchen to get a cup. I’d swear I never saw the dog. I wouldn’t have let a muddy dog into the house.

“But out she comes after me. Effin’ and blindin’. She looked like a lady but she had a mouth like a sailor. She was hitting me, telling me I had let the dog loose in the house and he was after jumping up on one of the babbies’ baptism dresses. Big expensive white yoke.”

He’s not looking at any of us. We are all looking at him, with alternating glances at each other exchanging silent “should we say somethings” and “is he for reals“.

“She wouldn’t even let me speak. I was guarding myself from her slaps while laughing me head off – go away, you mad woman, I says.

“Sixty years ago.

“That’s her there”, he says nudging Blondie and showing her the old photo.

She smiles a genuine smile and looks intently at the picture. She presents it to Beardy and me too.

I’d say it was taken in the early eighties. There’s an old woman standing beside a brown car. Her frumpy, flowery dress was probably fashionable about ten years previous, but she carried it well. Quite glamourous, I would say. In fact I do say it.

“Oh, she always dressed well. We never had nothing but she made sure none of us left the house with a rip in our clothes or a hole in our shoes.”

Blondie took the picture back and in her big D4 accent she asked, “So, like, what happened then?”

“Ah, yer man I was working with let the animal in. She never once apologised, but I said she could make up for it by coming with me to the dance that night. We were together from that day on.

“And you know, she had a boyfriend at the time and I was seeing this young one too. There was war.”

Beardy finally pipes up – “That’s lovely, man”.

Then we pull into Killiney and he moves to get up. Blondie stands respectfully. I tell him that it was absolute pleasure to meet him and Beardy agrees.

The three of us chat about our wonderful shared moment as far as Bray where Blondie and Beardy both get off.

I should have spent more time talking to my Granny about her life while she was still around.

17 responses so far

Oct 05 2008

Another Saturday…

Published by under Blog,Story

Maxi has got our creative juices flowing this week. He has set up a little project involving seven bloggers with seven different viewpoints. Each of us were challenged to continue the previous person’s story in a new voice. English Mum kicked it off, so you can start the trail there. Thriftcriminal followed her and H of Shitetalker, came next. Maxi had his chance then and passed the baton to me. It was an interesting piece for me to write and I’d love to read any comments you might have.

When I was done, I passed it over to Darragh and he gave it to K8 to finish the story of seven parts.

So, I’m picking up where Maxi left off…

 

Story links: Intro | part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 6 | part 7

 


__________________________________________________________


I nervously drag myself towards him. On the outside I’m a wreck; I’m a pale, shaking pillar of anxiety, with a quivering voice and a head firmly buried in my chest. Inside, I’m different. I’m someone people should listen to, take heed of. If they knew what went on inside, they wouldn’t fuck with me.

 

But on the outside…

 

I nervously drag myself towards him and tap him lightly on the shoulder.

 

“Are you the manager?” I ask, knowing perfectly well he is. Why don’t I just grab him by the throat, kick him in his lardy stomach and then when he writhes on the floor, smash that wine bottle over his head? Why don’t I? He deserves it.

 

He is taking a decade to turn around. People are always doing this to me. They think my time isn’t important. It’s very fucking important. I’m an important man and I could have deadlines and meetings. He should move faster. He doesn’t know what I could do.

 

He finally turns fully and I take a shaky half step backwards. Why did I do that?

 

“Pardon?” he says.

 

He was just doing it to piss me off. He knew what I said. He knew what I asked. He was like all the others. Like my ex wife. Like my mother. Like my boss and my kids and the guy at the train station. They know what I said. Why do I always have to repeat myself?

 

I take a deep breath. I know what I’m going to say to him. I know what I’m going to do. I’ll clasp my hands onto his hair. I’ll drag him down to my level. I’ll shove a fork in his ear – then he’ll have reason to say ‘pardon’. Everything would be ‘pardon’. He’ll be ‘pardon’ on the phone and ‘pardon’ at home and ‘pardon’ with his customers. He’ll regret ever saying ‘pardon’ to me.

 

I try to speak, but my throat dries up. I clear it and meekly say, “Excuse me, are…are you the manager?”

 

Of course he’s the fucking manager. What a stupid question? My mind races back to that idiot cyclist earlier in the day who went through that red light. I should have pushed him over. I should have pushed him onto the road and smashed his head in with my shoes. I should have stuck my umbrella between his spokes and sent him flying through the air. His face would be mangled on the tarmac and his nose would crack open. The red blood would cover the road and he’d never run a red light again. I should have done that.

 

“Yes, how can I help you?” he says. Pretentious prick. Help me? He can’t help himself. He thinks he’s something special with his fancy restaurant and his stupid uniform and his tea towel on his arm and his name badge and his perfect hair. I want to tell him how dumb he looks. I want to knee him in his balls and make him cry on the floor. I’ll rip out his hair and I’ll take his name badge. I’ll burn his whole fucking restaurant down around him. He makes me so angry.

 

Even now he’s smiling and waiting for me to say something. What if I say nothing? What if I just stare at him? He’d be scared. He’d wonder what I was going to do. He’d be worried. He should be worried.

 

I knew what I wanted to say. I wrote it down before I left Mother’s house. I had a plan. Where did I put my notepad?

 

I fumble. I search my pockets. I look in my briefcase. It’s not there.

 

I can feel my heart rate increase. My palms are becoming sweaty and my vision is blurring. Where is my notepad? Where did I put it? I looked at the manager and he is still smiling at me.

 

I can’t breathe.

 

“Is everything ok?” he asks.

 

“NO! No, it’s not,” I shout at him. I don’t know where that came from.

 

I run. I turn to him and I say “sorry” and keep running. My chest hurts. I can’t breathe. I fall over a chair, making a loud thud as I hit the ground. I can feel people staring at me. I’m crying now. I’m crying loudly. I get up and run. I don’t stop running. I’m running and I don’t know where I’m going. I’m still crying and my leg hurts. Why does my leg hurt? I can’t breathe. I have to stop.

 

I look around. I’m on a street corner somewhere and people are looking at me. My head is pounding and I don’t know where I am. I think I’ve stopped crying, but I’m still gasping for air. I take a deep breath and I look around again. Where am I?

 

I know where I am. I recognise that shop. I’m not far from home. Which direction? That way. I’m walking now. My head. It hurts so much. Why is my leg sore?

 

I’m nearly home. I’m limping now. What happened?

 

I look down and I see my trousers are red. Why are they red? I’m bleeding. My leg is bleeding. What happened? I don’t remember anything.

 

I don’t know how I got here.

 

I’m nearly home. I know that. But I don’t know where I was. Why is my leg bleeding?

 

I remember leaving the house. I said goodbye to Mother and I went out. I remember her face. She looked worried. Why was she worried?

 

I remember leaving the house and walking down the street. It was the first time I had been out of the house for a very long time. Why did I leave the house?

 

I see my front door and I see Mother. She runs to me.

 

“Oh my God, what happened to you? Are you ok? How did you do this?”

 

I can’t answer. I’m silent.

 

“What happened?” she screamed.

 

Silence. Everything is blurring again. It’s very dark.

 

………

 

I’m in my room, in my bed. I try to move and I stand up. My head hurts and my leg hurts. Why does my leg hurt?

 

I hear a shout from downstairs: “Are you ok up there?”

 

“Yeah”, I reply.

 

“Pardon?” she says.

 

“I’m fine,” I reply, louder this time.

 

Why do people always say that to me? Don’t they know who I am?

 

I look out my window, down onto the street and I see another bastard’s face, with his smug grin and know-it-all eyes. I’m going to kill him. I have a plan. Where did I put my notepad?

 


14 responses so far