About Me

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I like to write and I like to party, but mostly just the writing. Disclaimer: A lot of these stories are true ones. The memory of growing-up in and around Killybegs. When you hold a mirror up to small communities, sometimes there are those who don't like the reflection. Capote knew this only too well. If you find the refraction just a little too much and would like the angle of incidence changed in your favor, please email me at georgevial@hotmail.com and I will be happy to make a name change here or there.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Emerging Man

Waking, dry mouthed from the night’s excesses Conor lifts his bleary eyed head from the pillow and stares in disbelief at the alarm clock. Had tomorrow come already, just a few moments ago it was yesterday and that seemed to be endless?

The shower water pelting down upon his throbbing head seemed to clear the cobwebs at least until the Panadol took effect. He began to think about last night’s events. “What was her name? Yes Edel, that was it, brown hair, big boobs, eyes…shit can’t remember, but then who the fuck cares. We danced and drank, went clubbing on to Avalon, yeah that was sweet, she moved like a mink. Back to her place for some shagging and man was she ever good.” He began to laugh as he remembered that he had fallen asleep during their second bout. She had to wake him and call a taxi to send him home, calling an end to the night.

Twisting the shower off Conor felt a sharp pain in the wrist of his right hand, “Damn,” then he remembered why. Some guy had bugged him in O’Brien’s before he met Sarah and he decked him out cold, one shot, the good old right still worked a charm. Been a while since he’d done that, “and do you know what?” he thought, “it felt good.”

Conor grabbed a towel and began to dab himself dry all the while smiling and laughing to himself thinking “shit that was a good night.”

He stepped in front of the mirror and there gazing back at him was a red-eyed wreck. He grabbed his face with his two hands and squeezed, spread his fingers a little and peered out between them. “I’ve to stop this craic, it’s turning me into an old man.”

After brushing his teeth, the hair was fixed, the body clothed and with his gym bag over his arm he was ready to leave.

Since he lived smack in the middle of the city he walked to Bewley’s rather than driving, the traffic could take forever. His brother Jack was meeting him there for lunch, he had to be there in ten minutes, so the pace was brisk.

He passed an old drunk lying in a door way, Conor stopped, backed up a little and handed the man five pounds. The man’s face showed amazement and Conor said “Go on, get some food in ya, ye’ve a lot of drinking to do later,” the man smiled and Conor was on his way.

“Bunch a bana-aa-nas-sss pound” shouted the old knacker at the fruit and veg stand on the side of Dame Street. Conor hated her, she hassled him every day to buy and he always replied “forgot my wallet.” Recently she’d taken to replying to this with “Ya miserable Nordy.” To which he would reply “And fuck you too.” They’d developed a real hate relationship over the last six months since Conor had moved into the apartment. Some day he planned to buy something from her and shock the Dub’ shit out of her.

Hitting the bottom of Grafton St. Conor found the milieu of endless walking people a tad irritating. “Why the fuck do they all have to be walking in the other direction?” This was Conor’s thought and he was right, no matter which way you wanted to go on this, Dublin’s premier street, everybody else appeared to be going in the complete opposite direction just to impede your travels.

He shouldered his way up to Bewley’s, inside he found Jack already starting on a pot of tea. “I’ll have some-a-that,” and poured himself a cup, adding just a drop of milk, so sparingly in fact you’d hardly even notice he had poured any at all, then he took Jack’s water glass and poured some of it into his tea too. Now the cup was perfect, and age old tradition passed on to him from his mother, and destined to be passed on to his children, if such a day would ever come where he would actually have a cup of tea with offspring of his own.
“Fancy some grub?” asked Jack.

“Nah, my insides are wrecked, just tea for now.”
“Well I’m gonna go up and get some, back in a minute.”
“Grand job.”

As Jack left to go through the self-service line, Conor looked around the restaurant. Bewley’s always gathered the most pretentious crowd in the city. Young South Siders with no dining-out etiquette, only the knowledge that people of their stock ate at such places as this. As Garry was chastising all the people in the restaurant in his mind, he saw a waitress walking towards him with a tray full of dishes. He tried to catch her eye, but she just looked ahead trying not to drop her load.

“Damn, I missed that one,” thought Conor as she walked past him and on through the kitchen doors.

Robert sat down to regain his place at the table and Conor felt obliged to fill him in on what he had just missed. “Jaysus man you missed that, wild fine doll just went into the kitchen, she’ll be out in a minute, serious set on her.”

“Jesus Christ man, you’ve tits on the brain. So, you have a good night last night with that bird, what was her name?”
“Rachel,” Conor answered smiling.
“Yeah, Rachel, I was off with her friend Michelle, shagged her rotten baby, how’d you do?”
“Same as yourself and I was good, yeah, yeah baby, made her really horny.”
This imitation of Austin Powers was a regular part of Conor and his friend’s daily dialogue. In a way he idolized the sexy, super spy, shagadellic.
After lunch Conor and Jack stood among the bustle of Grafton St. talking.
“You be home after work Conor?”
“Nah, meself and Shane are hitting the Old Dub. Yah coming for a pint?”
“Nah, don’t fink so, I’ve a ton o’ shit to do for work.”
“Well I’ll drink one for ya then man.”
“You do that, I’ll catch ya later.”

Conor headed towards the Liffey and on to the bottom of Marlborough St., to the gym, the daily cure for his hangovers. Only for all the drink he’d be in great shape, but as it was, the gym and the drink balanced each other out. It maintained him at a healthy and very strong level without loosing the drinker’s physique, and that didn’t come cheap.

The routine usually consisted of 40 minutes serious lifting and a couple of hundred sit-ups. Then it was 30 minutes on the bike, which he didn’t really enjoy, but it gave him a chance to eye up all the women in the place. The good old bike had got him laid several times already since he’d joined the gym. Nothing seemed to be biting today and he let his mind wander, rather than his eyes.

He began to mull over his current situation: “ Twenty three years old, single, thank fuck, head chef, good restaurant, good wages, great social life, nice car, grand apartment, perfect roommate, the brother and good health was always a bonus. There had to be more,” but for the life of him he couldn’t think of anything else.

His eyes popped open as a buxom blond took to the treadmill in front of his bike. She was wearing lycra shorts and a sports bra; that was it. As she ran, her boobs nearly came out of her bra. She looked at Garry and smiled and he thought, “lunch has taken a bite.”

When she finished running he approached her. They talked chitchat for twenty minutes and it turned out she knew this great little place to get a bite to eat near her flat.

Before they had their food eaten, both had consumed four glasses of wine and with the blood flowing to all the right places so early in the day, they left their plates and some money and headed to her place.

This was no shy girl, Anne was her name, and she led him straight to her room. They frantically ripped of each other’s gym clothes and she pulled him into the shower of her en-suite. After washing each other down they fucked like dogs on her bed for a whole hour and then fell exhausted, to their respective sides of the bed.

Conor dozed off and Anne got up to make coffee. She looked in on the naked sleeping Conor and thought “What was it about this man that made me do this so freely?” She walked over to him, stroked his hair and kissed his forehead: This was the kind of man she could marry.

She let him sleep for about forty minutes then woke him with a warm cup of coffee. He kissed her and grabbed her into the bed beside him. They played about for a while, until he asked, “What time’s it?”
“Four fifteen”
“Ahh, shit I’ve to be to work in forty-five minutes.”
“Can I call you” she asked.
“Yeah, here’s my number, give us a call this weekend, we should go out.”

He hurriedly put on fresh clothes from his bag. Kissed her goodbye and bolted out the door, up towards the Green. He had to pass over O’Connell Bridge and as he did he stopped in the middle of it, went over to the edge and stared down into the river. All that water just flowing, a couple of hours ago it had been in Kildare or somewhere and now it was flowing out the bay to be diluted with the Irish Sea, “Wonder if the river minds loosing its identity in such a big sea?” He mused on this for a moment, thinking about how his life was just like the river’s: he had come from a small town and now he just seemed to dissolve into the all the other unknown faces that plodded around the city. There was just not much that set him or anyone else apart. He had no real identity, that worried him, his life had to be more than just this. How he had imagined his life would be when he came up here first. He’d stop drinking, womanizing, settle down a bit, put a hundred and ten percent in to his work and start carving out his place in the world, but none of this he had achieved yet; still just river water flowing into the big sea. Then he realized what time it was and said out loud “Fuck, got to be going.”

He arrived in good time for work. He moved into his little kitchen and relieved Shane. “I’ll see you later man in the Auld Dub about eleven, alright.”
“Yeah, I’ll already be tanked up, so ya better catch up quick!”
“I’ll start on that before I close here.”

The restaurant had 50 or so booked in and another 40 walk ins. The meals all went fine and Conor loved flirting with all the girls at work. The Maitre de was a 29-year-old red head, real slim and sexy. Conor shagged her and she still had a thing for him, but he had conquered that land and moved on. He’d love to get a bit of action from Sinead, a college student attending UCD, the snotty University on the south side of the city. He’d tried her a few times, but she was too wise to his reputation and remained unconquered.

He always kept a change of clothes at work and showered there too, he downed a few Bailey’s as he prepared to go out for the third time that week, and it was only Wednesday night. His life had turned into one big night out, really hard to tell where one night ended and the other began. All the faces he met, drinks he took, heads he punched, lips he kissed all appeared one homogenous blur in his mind.

He caught up with Shane in the Auld Dub. It was one of those newly built pubs in the Temple Bar area for Dublin’s new young and rising class. Not really Yuppies like the Eighties produced, but a different breed, more assured, less flashy and heavier drinking. A traditional band played some Christy Moore in the far corner, that made talking a chore and more often than not when someone went close to your ear to tell you something all you got were some muffled sounds and a earful of saliva. The air was saturated with smoke, some people didn’t mind it and others like Conor abhorred it. After only one drink he decided they should move on to another place to so they could get a bit of action, and give his ears some reprieve from the noise of the band.
They ended up in Peg Woffington’s the over priced, over rated ass-hole of a nightclub on Nassau Street. It was a glorified basement with a bar, overcharged admission and drinks and the people who went there, on a regular basis, over rated themselves.

Conor hit the bar like a wild man who’d been in the desert without a drink of anything for days. He turned around to hand Shane a beer but he was stuck in some bird and standing next to him, all wide eyed and horny, was no one but the waitress from Bewley’s he had seen this morning when he had lunched with his brother.

“I saw you at work earlier today, you from around here,” she started the conversation.
“Nah, from Donegal, Killybegs. Up here working, where are you from?”
“Just out the road, Dalkey, I go to Cathal Brugha, just work the odd day in Bewley’s.”

They talked for ages, flirting and giving each other the eye until last rounds were being shouted by the incessant bouncers, clanging their bottles and shouting “All right folks, this is a nightclub not a hotel, you can drink all night, but you can’t stay here.” He asked if she would like to walk and she said that would be good. They walked up Wicklow St. to the Green and ambled around it in the opposite direction as they should have been going, their talk was free and full of humor, neither were too intoxicated that it was just drunk talk, but actual conversation. Conor hadn’t actually talked to a girl in a while and found it quite refreshing rather than the usual hopping into the sack straight of the bat.

As they passed Planet Hollywood, toward the top of Grafton Street, Conor asked her if she’d like to come back to his place for one. She said no, but he could walk her back to her bus stop for the No. 8 and come into Bewley’s for lunch and then maybe they could see about breakfast another morning. Garry was caught a little off guard by her refusal but with her last prompting remark Conor thought it worth his while to walk her safely to the bus stop and be the gentleman. She kissed him quickly, but soft and gently, before she boarded the bus.

“Goodnight Conor O’Hara, see you for lunch.”
“Goodnight….” He couldn’t recall her name! He tried again “ Goodnight Ms. Bewley’s, I’ll see you there, eleven thirty in the morning,” he recovered with a smile, a wink and a nod.

On the way back up Grafton Street he ran into Shane with his bird. She had a girlfriend with her and yes it would be no bother for Conor to walk her home and take good care of her, real good care of her.

Bulmers cans sprawled across the coffee table, an ashtray next to them over flowed its bowels of butts and gray ash. The smell of both hung heavily in the air, the sharp nicotine odor cut thorough the air and the fermented apple smell of the Bulmers lingered everywhere. The opening of a window let in some welcome air and expelled some of the stench, from too many other mornings like this the smells had worked their way into the carpet and furniture.

The open window let in some extra light too. Clothes and shoes lay scattered all around across the floor and a comatose body occupied the sofa, wearing only its boxer shorts. Empty take-away food containers adorned the counter in the kitchen and next to them were many unwashed plates, glasses and sets of silverware. The sink itself was full of gray grimy cold water, filled the day before with good intentions, but now adding to the overall feel of filth.

Slowly the room began to take shape again, the water was replaced with hot fresh soapy water; dishes began to appear in the drying rack clean. The empty cans and ashtray were disposed off into a plastic sack. The television was switched on bringing life to the room and causing the body on the sofa to stir, reaching down for the rest of its clothes, dressed without saying a word and lethargically let itself out of the apartment.

Some Fibreeze was sprayed to combat the habitual stench of stale beer and cigarettes. A stack of men’s magazines has been toppled and it was righted and those that had got wet from splashing beer were throwing out with the cans. The corner of a poster curled up on itself, trying to force the rest of it to fall off the wall; it was re-tacked and looked decent even though the poster’s subject could never be called so.

Music came in through the sitting-room door from one of the two bedrooms in the apartment, some Indie kinda Grunge that was popular in the early nineties and was now making a come back in the new millennium. A male figure with a bath towel around its waist stood in the doorway looking at the person who had started the clean up. They met eyes and grinned and then began to laugh uncontrollably. They were more than friends, they were brothers and they were laughing at the thought of their mother worrying about them moving to the city together and not having her to clean up after them. They knew she’d kill them if she seen the state of the room and she was due in an hour for her monthly visit. They had to get their asses in gear and get the place and themselves cleaned up before she arrived and dragged them kicking and screaming back to their hometown because they were unfit to look after themselves.

Conor and Jack managed to get the place clean in time for their mother’s arrival. Before Conor had time to announce to her that he had to meet someone for an early lunch, she told them she was dying for a cup of decent tea and was famished from her drive up to Dublin and that they would go to Bewley’s for a nice lunch and a cuppa.

Well, this worked fine for Conor as he had told Ms. Beweley last night he would be in around eleven thirty. Now a big issue here for Conor was that he is the apple of his mother’s eye and even though he has three brothers and they all know Conor is the favorite and this has lead to some advantages and disadvantages. One of the greatest disadvantages is that no girl will ever be good enough for Conor in the eye’s of his Mother Rose. Probably why he just sleeps around and never settles with one girl: none will ever be good enough for his mother and therefore none will be good enough of him.

Something about the girl he had met last night told him she was different and maybe it was serendipity that his mother wanted to go to Bewley’s for lunch.

As they walked down the street to Rose began her monthly inquisition of the two boys:

“Have you been going to Mass?”
“Yes, Mum,” replied Jack lying through his teeth. Conor decided to take a more honest approach.
“I work a lot of Sundays and I just don’t get time, I try to go Saturday evenings but I usually work then too. But I’ve been on my hands and knees praying most nights.” Conor said this a little too sarcastically and his mother picked up on it.

“Conor you’ll burn in hell with all those other sinners. When I get back to Killybegs I’ll ask Father Sharkey to say a Rosary for you and I’ll have a candle burning for you that the light will lead you back to Mass.”

“Christ-sake Mum, don’t you think that’s a bit much. This is the 21st century and people do have lives and can’t spend every free moment rhyming off prayers. Like how often do you even pray?”

“Don’t you dare challenge your Mother,” she said firmly and then adding for the record. “I pray every hour on the hour and every hour I choose the soul of one of you boys to pray for and now I see my prayers for you Conor have been landing on deaf ears!”

“Mum, I’m not going to hell, I’m just living life and having a good time and from the stories I hear from Dad about you when you lived in Dublin, when you were around my age, I reckon you did quite the bit of living!”

“Well that may be so but I’m praying for forgiveness now so I won’t burn in the fires of hell like all the heathen in this city.”

“Fair enough Mum, I’ll pray for redemption when I’m your age for now I am going to do a bit of living.”
“Will the pair of you give it a rest. You’re like two politicians arguing over some-fin that is not worth the air ya breath” Jack interjected. “Call it a truce, at least till we get through lunch?”

The two antagonists looked at each other and silently agreed to Robert’s wise counsel. The rest of the walk was filled with questions about their jobs, shopping for groceries, what they do with their spare time and had any of them met any nice Catholic girls?

“Funny you should ask that Mum, you’re about to meet a girl I met last night. She works at Bewley’s and I told her I’d been in this morning”

“Arrah Garry, I can’t be meeting some girl you met out in a nasty night club. She’s probably a tramp, meets guys every night she goes out and you are just the flavor of the day.”

“Well, I’ll say nothing, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.” Garry left it at that.

The trio made their way with Conor leading, to the section he had seen the girl in the day before. Mary’s head was stretched out, bobbing over and back like a bantam hen, eyeing the room for a hussy that fitted the description in her mind of the harlot her son was going to have her meet.

They seated themselves and a girl that was not her served them. By the time the meal was half way over there had been no sight of elusive one. Conor was thoroughly disappointed and Mary was thoroughly pleased.

Jack was getting a little impatient and made up the excuse that he had to be getting to work, even though he had scheduled to have the whole day off to spend it with his mother. Really he had to meet some of the lads for early drinks. His favorite soccer team, Hib’s, was playing their arch rivals, Rangers, in a big game this evening. It was tradition to go on the beer early to be in the right state of mind to do a wild bit of cheering down the pub.

“Mum, I’ll see you again next month, tell Dad I’ll call him tomorrow about how the big game goes tonight.”
“I hope Jack you are not going out to the pub to watch that game?”
“Naw, I’ve to work late and I’ll get one of the lads to record it for me” he said this with a wink in his eye to Conor that his mother didn’t see.
“You’re a good boy Jack, I only hope you are a good influence on your brother. See if you can’t get him to go to Mass with you this Sunday.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but hey, you just don’t know with these pagans! I’ll see you at home later Conor,” and as he reached over to shake his bother’s hand he sent the milk jug flying over the table spilling into Mary’s lap.

“Arrah, Jack. Look what you’ve done ya big egit.”
“Sorry Mum, I’ve to rush. Bye.”
“Conor where’s the toilets till I get myself cleaned off.” Conor pointed and off she went muttering something to herself, Conor reckoned it was probably some payer specially for the removal of milk from a pair of pants! That be a real fancy miracle, put Lever Brother’s right out of business.

Conor sat alone at the table, looking around to see if he could see the girl. She had said she would be here and with this thought Conor caught himself thinking ‘what the hell do I care’ and tried to put her face out of his system. Tried to tell himself that she was just another in a long litany of girls he’d take to before he settled down a million years from now.

Rose seemed to be gone an awful long time, it must have been a real long prayer she was reciting he figured and began to laugh like a mad man sitting all alone. Just then a hand plopped on his shoulder.

“Hi ya, there handsome,” it was her, Conor was speechless, he still couldn’t remember her name, then seeing the name tag on her uniform, he recovered.

“Hey, how are you Sarah, we’ve been in here a while, you get home safely last night?”
“Yeah, I got home safe all right, Da was up waiting me, he’s a big dote, always waiting to see if his little girl gets in home, oh yeah, sorry I’m late, I was put upstairs on a different station and couldn’t get down ‘till now. So how’s things with you today?”
“Fine, my Mum is in town, she’s here, just went to the bathroom. You want to meet her?”
“Ach, I don’t know, maybe we can meet up later?”
Conor was disappointed at this refusal, he’d never asked a girl to meet his mother before and this rebuke was a bit much. “That be fine,” she saw the hurt in his eyes.
Before she had a chance to respond Rose came back from the bathroom like a miniature whirlwind all flustered.

“Conor, can you believe the people here, I was in the bathroom, with my pants up to the hand-drier doing nothing unusual and in comes this pup of a girl telling me to stop being obscene, that old women like me should be in a home and not making a spectacle of themselves in public. Like can you believe the cheek.”
“Mum, calm her down there, yeah that’s wild terrible, but I’d like you to meet my friend Sarah.”

Rose turned to inspect the hussy that was leading her little Conor astray, she eyed her up, making a mental note that she was too skinny, her boobs were to large, her hair too long and not tied back like a good catholic girl’s should be, and her blouse was too tight fitting! After this observation, she slowly and coolly extended her hand to Sarah and said, “Pleased to meet you, Conor says you’re nice” and that was all she said, her face didn’t even break a smile.

Sarah extended her hand too and repeated “please to meet you” returning the cold stare.
Oh hell, thought Conor, a bloody stand-down on their first meeting, this is not a good start. To break the tension Conor interjected some lighthearted conversation.

“Mum, Sarah lives out in Dalkey and goes to Cathal Brugha, studying Hotel Management. Didn’t you work in hotels in Dublin when you were her age.” Garry was too late to prevent the error of comparing Sarah to his mother.

“Yes, I did, but that was when Dublin was not the dirty, fast city it is today.”
Sarah stood up for her city “It’s not that bad, I’ve lived her all my life and I don’t think it’s that fast or dirty.” Sarah finished this off with a blank expression as if to say retort to that.

“Well, I just read in the Times, about all the bad things happening in the city everyday and I don’t remember there being too many murders or robberies when I was living here. Young people these days have lost all morals, they’ve gone to hell.”

Conor couldn’t help himself, he had to join in on Sarah’s defense “Mum. I’m young, does that mean I’m immoral, am I going to hell?”
“Well Conor if you keep that tone of voice with me and keep not going to Mass, then I’d pretty much say you’re going to hell!”
“Rose, I don’t think I am going to hell, I go to Mass every Sunday!”

People had actually begun to stop in the restaurant and listen to their conversation, when Rose noticed this she turned to the gawkers and shouted “Get a life, you too are going to hell!”

This was too much for Conor, he had to get his Mum and Sarah outside and calmed down. “How’s about we three go for a nice walk in the Green?”

Both just looked at Conor and headed for the door out onto Grafton Street. Garry was thinking to himself that whatever chance he had with Sarah was gone now thanks to his mother’s insolence. Out on the street Conor took a good look at Sarah, her hair was down now, last night it had been pinned up. Her skin was tanned, not really dark, but an outside tan, not like most Irish girls with their milk-white skin. Her eyes were looking a deep marble brown. He didn’t really notice them last night, but now they were magnificent.

Sarah and his mother walked side by side, a little ahead of Conor. Neither were talking, Sarah was just staring ahead, Rose was looking at the ground and glancing to Sarah every once in a while. As they entered the Green the three came parallel to each other with Conor in the middle. Conor was thinking about his walk around the perimeter of the Green last night with Sarah. With only the two of them it had been a pleasure, now it was agony. They made it the whole way around without making any real conversation. Mary was being ignorant and Conor knew that when he got home with her later he would be having quite the argument.

Sarah didn’t say much either, she smiled every so often at Conor and this gave him hope that something may be salvaged yet of this day. Mary stopped abruptly, pivoted on one foot and look at the two younger ones and announced;
“I’m going to Brown and Thomas to do some shopping, Conor I’ll see you back at the apartment later, we’ll have dinner after that, your lady friend can come along if she likes.”
“Thanks mum, how’d you like that Sarah?”
“I don’t know, we’ll see, I might be doing something with my family.”
Mary couldn’t resist “Are we not good enough for you?”
Sarah went to open her mouth but Conor went first “Mum, just go on, we’ll give you a call,” and Conor being the apple of his mother’s eye he had to ask before he could let her go and have a clean conscience “you all right Mum?”
Mary said nothing in reply just winced her face, tried a little smile and walked away.
“Sarah, I do apologize f or my mother’s behavior, I don’t know what got into her, she’s usually not too bad, apart from being a freak Catholic.”
“No, need to apologize to me, it’s plain to see.”
“What’s plane to see?”
“That you’re her boy.”
“What’s that suppose to mean?”
“You don’t get it do you? She loves you so much Conor, that no girl is good enough to take her place, not that I am saying I want to be with you forever, but she is not ready for any girl to come on her territory.”
“Well, that’s probably why I haven’t ever introduced her to any of my girlfriends since I was fourteen.”
“Are you calling me your girlfriend?”
“Na, I was just making a reference” Conor flashed her a big grin as he said this and added, “How much longer have you off today?”
“The whole day, why?”
“Well I think we should go for a drink.”
“It’s only one in the afternoon Conor, are you serious?”
“Hell yeah, sure it’d be good fun, come on.”
“All right, I’ll go.”

The pair went back down Grafton Street to O’Neill’s pub, a trendy pub, very popular among the twenty somethings. When you went in first it looked like a small affair but as you walked further in you found that it snaked around, revealing nooks and crannies everywhere. They found one such nook to nest into and Conor went up to get himself a Bulmers and a Budwieser for Sarah. While the barman was getting the drinks Garry let his mind wander off:

‘Right, what am I doing now, I’ve pissed off the mother, I’m here in the pub with Sarah and where do I go from that, I don’t want to have dinner with the mother, don’t think Sarah wants that anyway, and how do I go from one in the afternoon to bed with Sarah when the mother is lurking around, maybe when I call the mother to tell her I’ll be back for dinner she’ll go off home early to Donegal, a shit, why am I even worried, I’ll just have a few drinks and it’ll all work itself out.’
“Hey, sir, hey” a voice was calling Conor.
“Your drinks, that’ll be four pounds eighty.”
“Cheers mate.”
Sitting back down beside Sarah he took a big gulp of his Bulmers and felt the sweet nectar flow throughout his body loosening all the joints, making him feel at ease, letting his tongue loosen up a little too. Ah, this was more like it.

“Conor, your mother is quite a character, don’t be worried about her offending me, I am a big girl, I can look after myself. She’s nothing compared to my ex’s mother, Jeannie. She was a real Blackrock bitch, you know the snotty South Side kind. Jesus, she gave me a time every chance she got.”

“Glad to hear it. Sarah, this has been a weird beginning to an afternoon. Let us start all over again. How are ya?”
“I’m fine Conor, how are you?” She replied laughing.
“I’m great now, you know what?”
“Your wild good looking,” Conor wasn’t much on compliments, but he felt compelled to say something to her.
“Thanks, you don’t look so bad yourself!”
“I mean it, since I saw you yesterday and then again last night I’ve been thinking about you. I’m not the sort of fella that likes to settle down or anything, but for some reason I get this strange feeling from you.”
“Strange, what do you mean strange?”
“Like, I like you or something.”
“Well, that’s encouraging for a girl, you like me or something, I hope something is as good as liking!” The two began to laugh at their silliness and waved at the nearest waitress for another round.

They stayed drinking in O’Neill’s until about five and by then they had quite a few beverages put away in them.

“Sarah, I’ve to call Mum, tell her we’ll see ourselves for dinner and for her to go ahead with Jack.”
“Conor, I can get us free dinner at the Hilton if you like?”
“Of course I like, how do you do that?”
“I work there on and off at large banquets, along with the job at Bewley’s, I know enough people there to get good service. After you call your Mum, call a taxi to bring us over there.”
“No, bother” replied Garry.

During a superb dinner they had two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon between them and for desert they had a few Bailey’s and ice. Conor was staring into Sarah’s eyes, and she was just looking at him with a smiling face.
“What are you looking at Mr. O’Hara?”
“Oh, it’s Mr. O’Hara now is it?”
“I was just looking at you and wondering how the hell I met you and have come to be across from you in the Hotel Hilton, half drunk, well fed and most of all, I haven’t kissed you yet!”
“Does that annoy you that we haven’t kissed yet?”
“Not annoy, makes it more challenging.”
“Why, have I been a challenge?”
“Compared to most of the tarts I meet here in Dublin, yes you have been a challenge, for heaven sake, I’ve seen you in the day time, I don’t know when I last saw a girl that I met the night before during the day!”
“Conor I want to kiss you!” This threw Conor for a loop.
“Excuse me?”
“I said I want to kiss you.”
“Well I don’t think the Clarabell Restaurant in the Hilton is the best place of that. Can it wait?”
“I can get us a room here, it can wait until then.” Her smile was beaming and Garry couldn’t control the smile on his face either, he didn’t know if it was from the alcohol or pure happiness. But this was a good day in the life of Conor C. O’Hara.

They rode the elevator to the sixth floor and went down two corridors, Sarah stopped at room 628 and punched in the code. She was acting very cool, but Garry was holding his breath getting very nervous, which was not his usual self. He didn’t feel in control of the situation, somehow he felt like he was being seduced, but now was not the time to be getting philosophical, he was in a posh hotel room with a beautiful woman and she wanted him, he didn’t care who was in control if the end results were the same.

Sarah had brought a bottle of Cabernet up with her, got it from whatever connection she had to get the dinner and room. She opened the bottle with a screw she pulled from her pocket and poured a glass each.
“To us.”
“To us” replied Conor.
After taking a sip, she put a hand to Conor’s chest and pushed him backward onto the bed. Conor landed in a sitting position and took a gulp of his wine. Sarah began to sway to and fro, as if to some music in her head, putting her wineglass to her mouth and taking small sensuous sips. Then she put the glass down on a dresser and began to undo the buttons on her shirt. Conor just looked on in amazement. She looked up slyly as she undid the last button and as she stared him straight in the face she let the shirt fall off her shoulders and onto the floor.

Conor had to take a deep breath to prevent himself from hyperventilating. He wanted to reach out and pull her close to him, but her little show was not finished and he was being really aroused. As she undid her pants she walked slowly over to him and standing just inches from his face, she let her pants fall off her hips.

She now stood in only her bra and panties of white lace, she bent down to Conor and cupped his face in her hands and kissed him, then pulled back and looked at him. He was speechless, it was the greatest kiss he had ever tasted, the feel still lingered on his lips. He wanted more and put his hand out to her, she came in closer and straddled him, bringing her mouth to his once again.

They began to make love and for all the countless times Conor had performed this act in the past few years with nameless girls this felt like the first time, he felt like a virgin in her presence. Their lovemaking lasted for hours, sometimes taking a twenty-minute rest and commencing again. When they got hungry late in the night they ordered room service, ate a little and then went back to lovemaking.

Around four in the morning they lay spooned up in bed, Sarah was perfectly curved into his body, her skin felt so soft under his touch. They were talking about nothing in particular, conversation didn’t matter much now, all they wanted to hear was the sound of each other’s voices no matter what the words were.

As their eyes got heavier and to talk took an effort Conor leaned his head a little closer to Sarah’s ear and whispered “I love you.”
Sarah didn’t respond, she was asleep, and as Conor found himself falling asleep too, he thought to himself ‘at least I can tell her again in the morning.’

When Conor woke he didn’t recognize his surroundings and felt a little disorientated. Then the place came back to him The Hilton. He propped himself up in bed and stretched his jaw. Turning to his left he saw the empty half of a bed where Sarah had been the night before, on the bedside table there was a letter:

Sorry to leave you to wake alone, but I thought this would be the easiest way. Last night was the most amazing night I have ever had with a man and Conor you are an amazing man. Before I fell asleep I heard what you said and although you didn’t hear me, I said it back to you “I love you.” I had to leave before you got up or else I don’t know if I would have been able to leave at all. I have not been perfectly straight with you Conor, I'm engaged to be married. I graduate from Cathal Brugha in about five weeks and then my fiancee and I are moving to Dusseldorf in Germany. He is going to manage one of the Hilton Hotels there, he is currently in London at Hyde Park. That is how I got the room here, I’ve good connections. I don’t know when I will be back in Ireland. I just want you to know Conor that I love you and will not ever forget you. Somehow I know our lines will cross again sometime in the future, I wish it could have been different. You’ll love some lucky girl one-day and I’ll be forever jealous of that.
Love you,
Sarah Daly

‘Shit’ thought Conor, wasn’t thinking that!
As he walked back along the Green from the Hilton, he looked over into it and smiled, smiled big and wide and said out loud “Some girl.”

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