Lucy… (the final part of an emigrants trilogy)
Lucy’s skin, was silky smooth, and had a pallor like milk. She looked her age, but her skin was not normal old, it was the skin of someone minded, someone exceptional, someone who might be someone. Her way of dressing was on the face of it eccentric, yet she didn’t demand attention, she left room for others to shine. Her look was some kind of subtle cowpoke. She would sometimes wear a little fem cowboy hat, that sat so subtly upon her head, you’d barely notice. It was a frilly leather look, not real leather, and not real frills, usually augmented by some kind of bright neck ornamentation. Medium of height, but beyond measure in inches and feet, she evaded such calculation. She was country though, Patsy Klein country now, not line-danceee.
I am always fascinated by Wexfordians that have become all Line – Dance-ee. One of my childhood friends, Pete Twomey, who had always been pretty quiet, and Wex-normal in school, became a line - dancer. When I had last seen him before I left for America, he was solidly engaged to a local ballad singer. A couple of decades later, when I saw him again, he had ditched his Girlfriend, along with his charcoal suit, for a skin tight pair of cowboy jeans, packed tight with a plump bum that seemed to be threatening to escape. One couldn’t help but fear for his reproductive future, as the ornate leather belt, fastened by an American Eagle Buckle, pulled his bottom half upwards, hoisting the jeans way up above belly button. He had even increased in stature, the cowboy boots hoisted him above me, while the 10 gallon hat pulled him even further towards the sky. With his strangled beer gut covered in a blue denim cow-shirt, he swaggered, and informed my surprised self (as if in defence) that he was seriously committed to line dancing and country music now. It was presented like an achievement, one that I was sorely lacking , I presumed, by the way he was looking at me.
When her sister Attracta died last year, Lucy lost her last living relative. It caused her to feel a final fraying of the umbilical chord. Attracta had always been good to her, even posting four People Newspapers to England every month, (without the Sports section. “Tis lighter that way”) it was another anchor for Lucy’s hungry heart, she devoured that paper from cover to cover. They say we are what we eat, Lucy believed that we are also what we read, and reading The People kept Wexford inside of her.
Afraid to lose her bearings by going too far out, Lucy came home to find her footing. In her sixties now, she had been in a relationship with Jimmy for over five years, he had just come in off the road where he worked as a Truck Hauler. With both of them originally being from Wexford, they agreed to leave London and come home together, this time for good.
Lucy seemed to believe in destiny. “When we came back to Wexford looking for a place to live, I looked at this house, that house, and the other, we went all over. Little did I know that my mind was already made up, there was only one place that I wanted to live, the place where I grew up. As soon as they showed me this house on my old street I said, ‘now you’re talking’. Sometimes I feel like I’m on a leash that is a million miles long, I have stretched it as far as I can, but I always come back, we never drift too far away” Do we?