Excerpt by Vincent Orellana-Pepin

by Vincent Orellana-Pepin 

She had never seen anything other than Granaghan Beg and most of her time was spent in or around their little house at the northernmost edge of Ballycar Lough, about a hundred and fifty yards from where two unnamed roads converged, a stone's throw away from the water and a life away from anything else. She laughed loudly as she always did when he kissed her brow and he lovingly placed her head on the worn out pillow whilst wishing her the sweetest dreams. He walked down the cracked and creaking stairs and out the front door, locking the deadbolt and the chunky master lock behind him.

It was an opaque grey evening in County Clare and the wrinkled leaves cracked noisily between his old shoes and the poorly drained peaty podzol on which laid countless puddles. Innumerable pockets of dark reflective translucence, like stagnant and pulchritudinous pools of unforgotten memories played back soundlessly at every glimpse of himself. He followed the lough south until he hit Ballycar road and took it to the Crabtree Tavern where he tended bar six nights a week while Aednat slept. From the window you could see the static and cold water of the lough which ran about three quarters of a mile north to south in the shape of an apostrophe with its widest point being about three hundred and fifty yards. And that is what he did mostly when no customers where hassling him for drinks: stare at the halcyon stillness of the lough which had long ago left him perpetually alone, like some sequestered hermit eternally tending to his task, a forsaken traveller rendered forever fixed by the dark depths of the lough.

 - Whiskey neat.
 - Here you are. Three fifty. Thank you.

With every entering patron the light grew ever inside the tavern and the greyish cigarette smoke held at eye level, circulated up and sideways by the incessant comings and goings of loud customers moving around pointlessly and to whom Davin was but a bottomless tap of drink.

- I haven’t seen you before. You been working here long?
- Yes ma'am. I've actually been here more than eight months now.
- Well then you must not usually work on Fridays, because I would have remembered you.
- I work Fridays. I remember you. Dry Tanqueray martini straight up with a twist.
- You're right.
- Usually here when your husband is out of town and the kids are at their aunt's. Usually talking with Padraig over there. Usually leaves not long after him.          

The woman rose quickly from her seat at the bar, shot him a reproachful glare and walked swiftly back into the crowd.