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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

Scéal don nollaig - Christmas Story

The Cry For Help


She blamed herself. If she hadn’t humoured him at the beginning things would have been different.
She remembered it vividly. He had come down one morning with fluorescent blue bicycle shorts on him and a white cyclists top that did nothing for him but pronounce his middle class paunch. It had all been a great laugh and he asking her to feel his testicle pad. A great laugh, that is until he told her that he was going into work like that. Their three kids were appalled. “Dad, you look ridiculous”, said Sebastian, the eldest boy. Jenny had actually started to cry and couldn’t eat her croissant and Simon closed his eyes as their father sped off on his new mountain bike. He returned that night with a sprained calf and a scrape along his shin. He could hardly walk and she had hoped that that would be the end of it but...
The very next day, he put his suit and tie into his new luminous courier bag, clambered distressingly onto the bike and disappeared down the path at the side of the lawn. She remembered the birds scattering in disgust.

After a month his boss at the brokers firm where he worked had rung her to ask was everything OK and was there something wrong with the car? He also wanted to know what her husband was doing taking his lunch with a bunch of smelly couriers whose “habit” was to assemble at the green at lunchtime, stretch their legs and arms like baboons, dress wounds, scratch their balls and then sit on the ground wobbling their legs and eating brown bean curd and bread from disgusting plastic containers SOMETIMES WITH THEIR FINGERS. Then they drank some awful concoction.

At that point, she had decided to put her foot down.

When he got home that night she confronted him but rather than put his hands up and admit the truth that he was having a gay affair with some young boy who had bedazzled him with his wobbling walkie talkie, he had sat her down and talked of his “existential need” to change and to live like they did. It was worse than betrayal. It was the collapse of her home, just at the moment when they had begun to go gently into middle age. Into the soft night.

He had told her that he still loved her but she insisted that he go and see her brother who was a psychiatrist. Her husband did that without complaining and, after a week of nail biting waiting, her brother told her that it was very serious. It was obviously a mental collapse. A cry for help.

After three months, she bit the bullet and hired a private detective to follow him to and from work but all he could expensively report was that her husband had exhausted him and that there wasn’t a “spare bit of tail (male or female) in sight” and that “he just seemed to enjoy hanging out with couriers”. It was the final remark made by the fat detective as he walked through her porch to his car. “If you don’t mind me saying, lady, he seems to be having the best a’ craic”. That was that.

The end of their marriage came when he asked her whether she would consider buying a bike.

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Title: Scéal don nollaig - Christmas Story
Date posted: 13 Dec '09 - 09:15
Filed under: General
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