#AMREADING MARY COSTELLO, ACADEMY STREET.
DUBLIN IN THE 50s: In the carpeted lounge off the hall the young women stand at the bar and order two glasses of orange and then turn to find their father sitting with a group of men in a corner… When he sees them his face darkens. He does not acknowledge them, or even glance at them later when they leave. On the way home his fuming silence fills the car. Inside the house, he breaks out. They have no shame entering a public bar like that, sitting up on high stools with men watching them. Like streetwalkers. Laughing and streecing and making a show of themselves.
THE OLD MAN. “Will I cut your hair?” she asks her father. He looks at her, baffled, stunned, as if he has suddenly found himself somewhere else. His chin begins to quiver, and he looks down… She gets up and lays a towel on his shoulders and begins to cut his hair. Neither of them says a word…The sound of the scissors is in the air between them, the hair falling to the floor. And his sorrow, for all that is lost, lying silent within him.
AFTER LOOKING AT VAN GOGH PAINTINGS. Walking along the street, for no reason, she began to cry. ..When her tears passed, she saw things clearly. Each person’s face, the nose and eyes, the buttons on their shirts, the shivery pattern of leaves. Beauty everywhere. After a little distance a space began to open inside her, the aftermath of pain.
A MAN IN LOVE: Minutes passed and nothing happened… She gazed at his hand resting on his thigh and longed to hold it, make something of it. She sensed a longing in him too. She closed her eyes. She remembered something she had read – that the more desperately a man is in love, the greater the violence he must do his feelings to risk offending the woman he loves by taking her hand.
(Photo source: Kavanagh's Pub, RTE Archives)