Sunny days in Dublin
I caught up with an old friend who used to live in Dublin on Facebook today, I used to go there to visit relatives. Bunking off school and travelling with my uncle who was a truck driver, a job which brought him to England a few times a year. Getting suspended from school but my parents not finding out because I skipped off to Ireland – but not before intercepting the letter from the headmaster.
My cousin knew these lads in Ballymun and introduced me to them. That was it, I was taken in, made a member of the gang and every spare moment was spent with them. It didn’t matter to them that I was different, that I spoke differently. I was one of them.
Kicking a ball against a wall, hanging out in Belclare park on the swings, lazing in the sun on a grassy bank. The local disco which was one of the roughest places I’ve ever been to, you could guarantee at least one fight would break out, usually more. Long summer days with my friends.
Then today I learned that two of them have died in the last few years. It took the wind clean out of me. I haven’t seen them in thirty years, so why does it hurt so much? It hurts because in my mind’s eye they’re still the scruffy young urchins who took me in, who made me their friend. They never got any older and they’re still waiting for me with a football, always ready for a kickabout.
I’m not religious, all that stuff goes over my head, but wherever they are now I hope the sun is still shining.