This town seems different, but maybe it’s because I was hardly here. It seems bigger and I’m not sure where Charlie and I sat and watched the boats. The harbor is full of fishing boats, why do I remember sails?
I really think things are more romantic in the mind.
I’m sitting in The Lobster Bar, eating seafood chowder and drinking a Bulmers. I’m thinking of everyone else on this trip: Jack in Wales; Stacy + Cam on Skellig Michael; John, Beth, + David still in Cork. I’m missing them for some reason right now. The lonliness of traveling alone. But I know I needed to come here alone.
The Irish love the “Umbrella” song [by Rhianna]. It’s playing in this pub right now, and it’s the American song I’ve heard the most since arriving here.
This is where we must have sat, on park benches along a walkway, looking out into the Bay. Water with blue sky in it, a reflection of clouds. What about memory? What sticks with us and all we forget.
I’ve ditched the hostel and I’m now staying in a motel of sorts, one over a really loud bar. The music is bad + American: Guns N Roses “Sweet Child of Mine”; “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, and the damn “Umbrella” song I keep hearing everywhere. Out my window is a beer garden, but instead of people drinking there’s an bouncy house, and dozens of kids screaming as they jump up and down. After trying to nap + read through this (and a pounding headache) I’ve decided to grab a bit to eat. In whitefish town, you must order white fish — but all the white fish here is fried — so it’s another night of fish and chips.
Dinner is done and it’s time to hit a pub.
Charlie, I’m sorry. I should have remained in Ireland with you six years ago. Coming back here without you is a disappointment of sorts. The place isn’t as quaint as I remember it, but it still feels special to me in moments. I’m not sure why I came back. To reclaim something? To write an article? To be alone? To move on? To forget you. I don’t think that’s possible. I only knew you a week, and it was the best week of my life. And I let you go because of someone who ended up being as insignificant as D.
I’m married now, and I’m sure you’re remarried, a lot can happen in six years. I tried to email you, and it bounced back.
To fall in love with a place at the same time you fall in love with a man — to dream of what might have been is dangerous but unavoidable. I think of us sailing in Boston and spending another week here swimming, kayaking, making love. I should have let you take me that night under the stars — I was young and foolish. Why didn’t you kiss me? To go back to that moment when I met your eyes — I felt you then as I feel you now.
It’s funny in my mind you are frozen in time, a 39-year-old. Now you’re 45. I’m 31. What would that be like? Our older selves.
I shouldn’t have come back here, it’s been a fairly miserable day. Lots of aimless walking around the town in circles with nothing to do but think of you.
In the land of white fish
I echo you
as the bay echoes the sky
The bay echoes the sky,
bay with white clouds in it
To sit on this bench and remember
sitting here with you is impossible.
I was certain the boats had sails
the boats have lost their sails.