The children are gone

Padraig O’Morain wrote an excellent article in the Health Supplement of The Irish Times on 8th May and he quoted my blog.  I feel I must clarify that what you read below is a short story I wrote in my creative writing course.  My children never left me to clear up after them but the bit about Gay Byrne and Ronan is true.  As for the librarian in Terenure, chance’d be a fine thing.

I wake up each morning to silence and I still can’t believe it. No alarm clocks ringing. No one running up and down the stairs. No screams of ‘where did I leave my keys?’
In the kitchen everything is just as I left it. What bliss. No half-drunk cups of coffee, no remnants of half eaten toast. No milk left on the table to turn sour. No radio blaring away.

My life now is completely different. I can listen to my jazz records all day if I want. I am not tied to time. Dinner is a moveable feast and sometimes there is no dinner at all. I can eat whatever I like and don’t have to buy that rice milk that Susan loves but I still eat the hummus now and again. My friend Cissi calls sometimes and we go out in the afternoon to the pictures and I can stay out as long as I like. Sometimes we have our tea in the Gresham.

Sunday afternoons I can listen to Gay on Lyric without any slagging or snide remarks. I love listening to him. It reminds me of all the mornings when the children were at school when I would make a cup of tea and just sit there. It was like as if he was my friend, there with me and my problems. It’s funny how things stick in your mind. I remember the day he said that “When you are flushing the toilet you should always put down the lid beforehand to reduce the spread of bacteria”. I’ve done it ever since and always think of him when I got to the loo.

I’m losing weight too. I think that’s down to the dancing. The children were always embarrassed to see me getting up at weddings and parties. I know I’m not the greatest mover but there was no need for all that sniggering. Now I dance whenever Ronan is on the radio. He always seems to play the kind of music that gets me going. Can you imagine if the children came in and saw me dancing all alone, well not all alone, Ronan is there too.

It’s not just the dancing that’s getting the weight off. I bought an exercise bike for myself. I seem to have more money to spend now that they’re not around. I can leave the bike in the kitchen and there is no one to make snide remarks. I usually do a half an hour a day while I’m listening to the play on Radio 4.

Gerry gave me his old laptop before he left. He was being kind and tried to show me how to use it. He wanted me to go on Skype so that I wouldn’t be lonely for him. He’s a lovely lad. I went to computer classes in the community centre and got the hang of it. Being able to type was an advantage although the last time I had used a keyboard was before the children were born. It’s like riding a bicycle. The internet was all a bit much at first but it’s not rocket science after all. I saw Gerry was on line last night and skyped him. He nearly fell off his chair but he was delighted to see me. I showed him my bike and he said how well I was looking.

Vodaphone rang last month and offered me a Smart phone for free. I said yes but when I got it I was wishing Molly was here to help me. It’s very complicated and it took me three days and a session with the man in the shop before I could use it. But I have it working now and it’s like having the world at your fingertips. You can google and look up anything while you’re sitting on the bus.

The phone is great and I need to be contactable at all times now because I have a new friend. I got tired of dancing all on my own so I signed up for a dance class in Parnell Square. He’s a widower and we hit it off straight away. Patrick is his name and he works in the library in Terenure. We both love dancing, the same kind of music and reading so it was a match made in heaven as they say.

He stays over most weekends and I suppose you could say we are in love. I don’t know what the children will make of it all. But do you know what, I don’t care.


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