It’s hard to explain, but I want to set the background to this.
I came to Ireland from Australia at the age of 13. It was supposed to be a one year break from Australia and then we were going back to Oz.
That didn’t happen. We came to Ireland and went to school and we all settled down in this delightful little town in southern Ireland.
My mother, in her wisdom, bought a shop. It was a big old Georgian building. It was three stories high. The tax man and the roof nearly killed her.
As usual I digress. However, the house was a focal point in town. We never locked the doors. People would just wander in and out.
I had a best friend in school. She was from out the country…about a mile away. I’m going to call her Brianna (I have been watching Grace and Frankie). She used to cycle into town and call in to me while I was having my breakfast. She would park her bike outside our house and no one ever stole it. Then we would go to school, after having a cigarette in the local cig shelter.
We would share tea and scones at the appropriate school break.
It was fecking idyllic. It was Maeve Binchy world.
On a Sunday, I would walk to her house. That was in between adventures at the local castle and park that involved googling boys.
On a a Sunday, Brianna’s mother made what I can only call high tea. Brown bread, scones and cakes. There was one time when I ran away from home and ended up in Briannas.
Brianna had a sister, I’m going to call her Mallory. She, along with the the other members of her family were absolutely delightful.
By a funny quirk of fate, I lived with Mallory for a year or so in Cork. We both ended up in Dublin and would meet from time to time in the bank or the local shopping center. She was so vivacious. She had bright red hair and a smile and laugh that was infectious.
She got sick within the last three years. A very aggressive form of breast cancer that led to tumours on the brain.
Her children are the same age as mine.
She died last week. And it wasn’t easy
I met Brianna for the first time in about twenty years at the funeral. She has MS. She looked fantastic. I also met many school friends. We all had such a laugh about my bedroom. There was a small chimney in my room and we used to go there and smoke and blow it up the chimney. Years later, my poor father decided to make a bookcase out of the chimney.
Jaysus, I was there as he pulled the butts and empty cig cartons out of this never-ending chimney. I blamed it on the previous occupants of the house and Dad just looked at me.
The memoriess are delicious. I was awful even then.
I wouldn’t change a thing.