Irish Holiday

It came as a complete surprise to us all, to see Simon back home. It must have been years since he'd upped it and gone off to France. To be quite honest I didn't really believe it, when my sister told me he'd gone. I'd heard about prodigal sons and all that lark, but this was one son, who hadn't been terribly prodigal and had no real reason for turning his back on all he knew. Of course, I had my own, perhaps not so secret reasons for not wanting Simon to go. I had hoped that we might end up getting together. We'd shared a couple of kiss and cuddle sessions at the local dances. Doubtless, I wasn't the only one, but at least I could hold my own in any boasting that was to be done. And we'd known each other ever since we were kids. Practically grown up together. He'd always been the big brother, best friend I'd never had and all rolled into one.

As to why he was so popular, it's difficult to say really. He wasn't exactly handsome. His shock of red hair was far too Irish to make him stand out in our company. Indeed, he looked like a hundred and one other boys you find in a small-town Irish setting. I wouldn't gamble on any one of them winning a beauty contest. But Simon didn't need looks. He just needed charm, and Mother Ireland had gifted him with all she had left to spare. The moment he looked at you and gave one of those cocky little smiles that usually boded no good, your legs melted beneath you.

Of course, not Mum in the village had a good word for him, and Dads often held him up as an example of what not to aspire to. But I understood him and I know they did him wrong. They couldn't understand his suffering. Indeed, with a father like that it was a wonder he found room even to breath. He was totally smothered. I think ultimately that's what made him go. Smother by ambition; by the ambition of a father who was still trying to become what he wasn't and was failing to come to terms with the fact. Simon's reaction was to deny ambition. Despite his intelligence he turned his back on school as soon as he could - he'd never done much work there anyway which was always a bone of contention with his father. I remember one afternoon we'd been swimming and we lazing around on the small island talking about this and that when he began sharing his ambition with me. For the first and only time in his life, his eyes had lit up and it seemed to me, he'd had something to live for. But the change was only temporary. We'd not been five minutes back in the village when his father had sought him out and succeded with one brief remark in putting that light out. So I guess he had to go away.

But no crying over spilt milk. It was Sissy who called me. And the moment she'd mentioned her brother was back, I was making plans to make sure he'd never leave again. I'm sure I must have got myself ready in record time, but it still took me upwards of an hour to get bathed, dressed, perfumed up and walk casually three houses down the street in a renewed attempt to land the best fish I'd hooked for. Of course, what Sissy had omitted to to tell me was that Simon was not alone. You could still sell my face for a ripe juicy tomato some two hours later, so embarrassed I was. And a queer, looking thing she was too. Looked almost Irish, didn't speak a word of English, but could string together more Gaelic than I ever managed. Well, you win some and you lose some. That's what I always say. Still, I'm not quitting town yet, because you just never know...


I enjoyed how your words could be "sensed"; I could almost taste "juicy red tomato." I enjoyed the narrator's surprise, also.

31 July 2008 at 00:06  

ahh, the story has moved a few steps forward... i musta missed the wedding... glad to hear they ended up together... and going back home is never easy... thanks for the continuation of the story... im hooked... why is it thrz always the girl back home waiting perfectly placed memories of love waiting... makes a great story.. haha

31 July 2008 at 02:10  

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