You’re lucky Sniffle.
Bite me !
But the walk thing Sniffle.
What walk thing ? Sacred heart of Jesus Christ allmighty . Can’t you feel my permanent misery, see me in my mire, my cesspit. Aren’t you witnessing my stagnation.
That walk thing you do in the mornings, with the snappers Sniffle. And I remembered.
“Walk thing Dad?”, from the giggling back seat.
Four across and Princess up front with me, all of us shuffling along. Five oblivious to my exchanged glances with fellow prisoners, my furtive nose picking, my slow morning procession.
” Walk thing , Dad“, my slow progression .
“Walk thing, Dad“, a last chance to offset one day’s regression.
Car stops, Sniffle, Buzz, Omar Shariff, Princess, Joseppi and Carla , all bags and coats bundle out for a bindle. Sometimes good stuff happens and passes you by. But if you’re lucky and the planets align impossibly, well you’re actually present for your own personal happiness. And if this occurs only once, then it’s with you forever and can be called on for good karma in bad times. But if it never happens, well you’d hope that what you haven’t missed might never trouble you.
Single file across Sarsfield bridge, “no kaffling, no messing“. The Curraghower rocks expose themselves at low tide and King John’s Castle stands sentinel over old Limerick. Turrets and falls and we’re walking to school !
Inevitably Buzz and Joseppi are gowlin, Princess and Carla are doing their pre-teen dance, tall and straight, turning heads already. I hold Omar’s hand tightly, and he’s pulling away like mad to be with his older brother. Down the side stairs to the back of Dunnes, across the dock road to Arthur’s Key park, one of Limerick’s better ideas, and the boys cut loose. I become multiple bag carrier and they’re gone, an inexplicable game and the gals, well the gals don’t give a shit.
Cormorants fish for their breakfast and a corner boy Heron loiters, perched on a railing at Shannon rowing club. I remember an unlucky salmon, crimson blood gushing across his white belly, being hauled from that stretch of the Shannon. And I was their age.
Instant calm, silence, a space without noise or cars, without movement save for Buzz flashing up ahead checking the gate. We’ve rounded the Tax office and are behind the Hunt museum, street noise blocked and it’s an early morning playground in stab city Limerick. We own it, our voices echo around the empty green silence,
” Buzz, that gate open ?”
” Yeah , common lads” .
A green foot bridge across the raging Abbey opens into an empty court yard, scum bags and legal community still asleep. Cray Lane visible, the street noise returns and a day’s schooling beckons. Boisterous rosey cheeks re-join the race. I have no viable alternative.