There’s a kind of magic when you get in a bar and you see those pair of eyes, that you don’t know yet, but you feel that they will take you home. There’s a kind of magic in the recognition of two strangers who just know that they belong to each other, even for one night, even for a second. There’s a different brightness in the eye. There’s a silent contract. You look at the other, and you just know this is the one you came to meet. That’s why it was so strange to get to that conclusion, looking at those green-blue-grey eyes: they were 15 years younger, but they were mine. The second I saw him, I understood all that Joy Division has tried to say on Temptation. And I’ve never seen anyone quite like him before.
He was in Dublin for only one night, for the match. And I was in that same bar for my last night in Ireland. And our little story was the most adventurous thing that has ever happened to him so far. And maybe the sweetest to me. On the smoking area, I asked a young fella for a bit of tobacco. I genuinely had no interest on him, given his age. But started a conversation anyway, because that’s what you do in Ireland. My teenage lover was not that guy, but the one on the middle of the table, and I felt it as soon as I looked on his direction: there was the brightness, the secret contract, though he was so insecure, being even younger than the guy who gave me tobacco.
The small talk, quickly evolved to a deep one. And now I was this temporary character turned into a kind of guru, that would pass him all of my wisdom of a 34 years old woman, and we would laugh about all the topics I would choose: life, sex, drugs and other stuff that parents feel concerned about their kids on that age. In the middle of the jokes: kindness and attraction, which was sometimes weakened by thoughts of “is this really happening?”, that we would share without knowing.
“If I was your age, 19, I wouldn’t bring a 34 year-old home, unless he was Bradley Cooper… oh wait, am I your Bradley Cooper?”; “Yes, you are my Bradley Cooper”. I would find out later, he had searched for any ring or signs of marriage before he has tried, and has thought “Why would she come home to a 19 year old?”.
How could I say no? The boy, still growing, was taller than all the tall men I’ve ever had, piled one by one on top of the other, and he is a farmer. He lives in a farm in West Cork, a distant kingdom where there’s nothing but farms. There, he takes care of the cows, he collects their milk, he helps them giving birth to the calves. “So you are a… midwife?”; he would answer yes, with a sweet laugh. During the summer, he works in the shop to make some buck, even though his family has a life that is comfortable enough. In college, he studies to become a primary school teacher, and this is his dream.
He, innocently, listened to my whole 34 years of life condensed into pillow talk. He listened to it with attention and presence, impressed by the crazy things life has to offer. When he thought something I’ve been through was really hard to me, he would hug me. Even though my past experiences no longer have the power of hurting me, that was sweet. And I kept listening to his little things, the still innocent and unfolded life, delighted by the way life could be much simpler and only really gets complicated on our twenties. He’s still in a phase in which boys fall in love with girls for their looks. It takes a lot of maturity and experience to make the process elaborated enough so that the main reason on their teens is only an important detail on their 30s. But the fact that he’s made a choice of being talking to a woman rather than dancing to young girls in the club would give a glimpse of the type of kid he was. He was an old soul. He hated to be that young. He felt older.
He was my fourth and last man on the holidays marathon of one night stands in Ireland. I was the fourth woman in his still fresh sexual life, even though in many ways, we knew I was his first. So we listened to Bob Dylan’s 4th time around by Yo La Tengo together. After our night, I saw myself going back home smelling like sex, remembering all the crazy years of youth, and singing our song in the bus. I found the energy to appreciate the fact that he has said the house in which he was staying was only 5 minutes walking from the centre, when, in fact, it was 15 minutes away by car! And for what I know about men, when they want to take you home, their houses are never where they say they are: they are always either too far, or too close, depending on where they want to get you. I laughed remembering that this situation always reminds me on Strokes: “Can’t you see I’m trying, I don’t even like it, I just lied to get to your apartment”. And the men I loved most in my life, they have always lied about the distance to their houses.
In bed, I asked what was the little medallion around his neck about. It was Holy Mary. As a child, he got very sick, really sick:”I had nothing left to lose, I thought ‘fuck it!, I’m gonna say a Holy Mary’, when I finished, I was perfect! Healed! I went to the kitchen and told my parents what had happened, they laughed at me, and from time to time, my father still mocks me up. I don’t care what they think, I know what I felt, I know what’s happened! ” Almost impossible not to fall in love after that, almost impossible after the sweet kiss on the medallion while finishing his story.
It seemed like we had known each other for a thousand years, for that was so comfortable talking about anything. “I don’t want to sleep because if I sleep, then I know that this night will be over.” I listened to that realizing that he didn’t even know how beautiful and poetic his words sounded. As if we were part of a fairy tale, when I was almost falling asleep, he would wake me up again, so we would not disappear.
From time to time, he would say, “I can’t stop remembering you singing ‘it’s too late’ in the taxi. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I don’t want to forget it! That’s so strange!”
We ended up disappearing into the night anyway,
I recorded him speaking two different things in Gaelic. One of them, I chose: The Holy Mary. The other one he chose and taught me to speak: it was the Gaelic version for
“There is no place like home.”