Talk to her

Niamh awakes in their dark bedroom. She feels the weight of Ben sitting on the corner of the bed, tying his tie, getting ready for another day. From the very start she has loved the heft of him.

It was at the afters of a wedding – a dancefloor full of leaping eejits air-guitaring to AC/DC momentarily parted, and there he was, sitting at a table on his own, looking at her, sitting at a table on her own. She smirked. He raised his eyebrows.

From then on, they were thunderstruck.

They danced that night to “A Wink and a Smile,” him tall and solid, and her fitting neatly into all his grooves.

Niamh had long known that she was prone to notions, so much so that she tended to get carried away with herself. In Ben, she found an anchor.

And she, in turn, offered him something that he could never have gotten on his own: bath bombs. His body was often in a ball of knots after a hard day running his own successful business. Niamh softened him. Often, literally. Continue reading

The Toy Show

Michael was a ten-year-old who knew two things: he secretly liked to dress up in his mammy’s clothes, and his “life would be complete” (he would say dramatically) if he could be on The Late Late Toy Show.

Of course, you could apply, but Ireland of the 80’s worked more like an underground Rube Goldberg machine: a system of whispers and nods and winks and taps on the nose until your request reached the right person. Michael’s dad knew a lad in the football club, who knew a lad in the rugby club, who knew a lad in RTE, and that’s how Michael got his interview.
Continue reading

Corn Flakes for Dinner


By July 2015, our bedroom is so bedoodled it looks like Banksy has had a stroke in there, except the artist in question is actually our seven-year-old daughter, Sophie.

She prefers to work with non-traditional materials, and she has a penchant for the permanent. Her 2014, ‘Handprints with Baby Oil on The Wall,’ is a fine example. Michelangelo has nothing on her extensive 2012 ceiling masterpiece, ‘The Resilience of Ribena,’ and there is great promise in her early red nail varnish floor work, ‘This Cream Carpet Was a Massive Mistake, You Eejits.’

Like a true artiste, she doesn’t say much; she lets her art speak for itself. ‘What do you think she’s trying to tell us, Martha?’ I asked my wife, one night. ‘I think what she’s saying is that she really likes to fuck shit up, Aidan,’ said Martha, quite astutely. Continue reading

Women’s Christmas

On January 6th, this year, you see a fifty-something woman with a tartan shopping trolley getting off the Luas at Jervis. What you do not see, what no-one will ever see, is the unbuilt city in her mind.

Her name is Maureen, and she is off to do her few bits, as she does every Women’s Christmas. 353 days to Christmas Day, and everything done, in the nick of time.

If you had been there for Women’s Christmas last year, you would have seen her daughter, Emma. Her approach is ever-so-slightly different. She usually bounces around the shops on Christmas Eve evening, collecting whatever crap she comes into contact with, like a Velcro-covered spinning top. Continue reading

Closer to Fine

In college, Niamh and Sarah were inseparable. The sort of inseparable that made a few lads sing K.D. Lang’s “Constant Craving” at them as they passed.

You know, dickheads.

Sarah loved five things: her purple Doc Martins, her guitar, changing her haircut, Niamh, and riding dickheads. Well, she didn’t know they were dickheads at the time, but that is invariably what they turned out to be.

Niamh, on the other hand, had a college-long love affair with her course-mate, Paul, which, unfortunately, he had no idea about. She was too shy to tell him that she thought he was, “A grand lad, altogether.” The whole thing was exasperatingly unrequited. For Sarah too. “For fuck sake, either you ride him or I will!” she would say, often. Continue reading

Mad Tom Saves The Day

On the bus home, Aisling has her handbag under the seat. The lad behind her takes her wallet out of it, and heads down the stairs to get off at the next stop. Someone alerts Aisling, and she runs down the stairs after the lad, but by then he’s already briskly walking off down the road as the bus pulls away.

The lad probably thinks he’s getting away with it.

I don’t. Continue reading