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County Clare, 1983

"Ah, go on," she says. "Trust me. I know the way." She touches my arm as if to steady me, then turns and steps from the porch into the night. Of the two ancient bicycles leaning against the wall, she selects the one with the lantern and pushes off. I go wobbling after.

Beyond the hostel it is as black as oblivion. Her faint light on the wet road all we have for balance, for knowing top from bottom.

Two days before I'd hiked up that long hill as a funeral procession came winding down, the sun blasting through the grey sky edging the hearse, the four old cars in sudden glory. But now that vision is gone, and I am wondering where the corner of that ruined barn is, the one set hard against the side of the road.

She sings as we go, her tune a tinkling bell nearly lost in the wind, until - I don't know how - I am ahead of her. Awakened into complete darkness, I back pedal and skid, imagining immense pain before the crash...

But there is no crash. I feel her pass by like a shadow. The fragile light, floating like a fragment of song at the edge of memory, returns.

Story by:

Dan Allen

submitted at 12:14am

20 December 2011

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