I always remember you as having a really fancy handbag with books by Proust and Yeats inside it.
Something one of Cian’s old friends said to me last weekend. Spending money, reading books — yup, me in a nutshell. (Pity it hasn’t been less of the former, more of the latter.)
Yesterday I got drinks with a girl that was in my Anglo-Irish Lit Master’s program at Trinity in Dublin. There were only about twelve of us in the course and we sat in a room with tall ceilings, around a heavy wooden table. The building was not as old as the Great Hall, but it was older than almost any structure in this country.
I paid very little attention to anyone in the program. Through my boyfriend (whom I met during my JYA at Trinity), I had a ready-made set of very sociable friends, and I probably thought my fellow lit students were too nerdy for me.
I definitely thought that.
I would have lost touch with every last one of them if it wasn’t for that boyfriend’s death this year.
The girl I met last night became friends with him in the intervening years and though she knew at the time that I had an Irish boyfriend, and she later learned that he had an ex “from New Orleans,” she didn’t put it together ‘til we commented on the same Facebook photo after his death. (I spent more time on Facebook in those two weeks than I have all year, easily. I read somewhere that at this rate, in year X, there will be more dead people than living people on the site, and I suppose someone will figure out how to make money off that.)
Dublin is a very small town. It turns out that she also knew his sister, though until his death didn’t know she was his sister.
I didn’t mean for this post to be about him. I have so much to say about him but I will never feel right doing it here.
I think what I wanted this post to be about was how interesting it was to talk to this girl — someone I honestly don’t remember, though she remembered me. (It could fill volumes, all that I’ve forgotten.)
She is also an American. She has lived in Dublin for the past nine years. She did what I thought I might have wanted to do — make a life in Ireland — and when she described her beautiful six week paid holidays every year, her travels in Europe, and the successes of our now-mutual friends, I admit I wondered if I’d made a mistake. It was a sort of Sliding Doors moment.
And the interesting part was that she was looking at me in that way, too. She is planning to move back to the States, to either San Francisco or New York (I hear rumors that there are other American cities but I find them hard to believe).
“But I’m 30,” she said. “I’ll feel so behind, moving here. Everyone gets started so young.”
Nonsense! I said but of course I know the feeling. Psyching yourself out before you even begin.
We really put ourselves through the wringer, don’t we?
If only we spoke to ourselves as we would our dearest friend, how much more confident we would be.