Letter to the Corinthians Part 2.

Dear Mary Burke,
how are you?
I am as well as can be expected.
Thank you for your letter.
I am sorry that my reply is 34 years late.
I found it in a bag of letters that I have carried around the planet since.
Thankfully, your friend gave you that magazine with my name in it,when she was finished reading it , and that you share all your stuff like that.
I remember "Young Citizen" only vaguely but I know they sent me a pound for a letter once - the letter was M.
I apologise for being the worlds slowest pen pal but I was busy.
You mentioned you were doing your Inter, and I also have done it since.
And my leaving.
And Graduated.
I did not have to cycle to school like you, as I lived around the corner, and spent most of the class gatching around and being sent to stand outside the Principals door to be given down the banks and an intervention and told to remove myself till I could behave.
I hope you got on well doing the housekeeping for the woman in the shop, and that your friend could manage the till alright.
I got a summer job in a chipper at a beach, with a jukebox and a pool table and eloped on the back of a motorbike with some hardchaw in a denim jacket, who gave me the Bambi's.
We never got to Gretna Green though and only made it as far as New Ross.
They were saying Mass in the school hall the day I got back and the Gardai were drinking tea  in my kitchen.
Daddy was livid.
It is so cool that your hobbies are swimming, football and collecting posters of Elvis.
My hobbies are completely self indulgent and self absorbing - look how many times the sentence starts with "I" .
I know.
Co-incidentally, I DO know your neighbours son, Dick.
He had a shop for years in town and is as well known as the Mayor.
I did have a phone where you could have called me when you cycled into the payphone in Ballinasloe, but I suppose the point is moot now.
When you wrote to me I was collecting badges and medals of honour.
The badges, sourced in The Dandelion Market in Dublin said the following -
Atomkraft, Nein Danke -
"Legalise it" -with a cannibis leaf (despite the fact that I did not even smoke fags)-
"Too Drunk to Fuck" -
I hid these under the lapel of the jacket on my Fathers Tuxedo which I stole to wear to the Tourist Office Disco,under a Quadrophenia Parka while I had my hair in cornrows.
I was Very Confused.
The badges of honour - I am still collecting.
In the 34 years since you wrote to me I have learned a tiny bit about life.
I have been going steady, doing a line, betrothed, engaged, seduced, the other woman,abandoned, abused, handfasted, seduced again and finally, hurtling towards half a century on the planet, am coming to terms with the processes of attachment and awareness, in the messy business of living.
It IS true that everyone wishes they knew what they know NOW, when they were younger.
It is also true that we will never look this good again.
A Man from Leitrim stood up at his 102nd birthday party in the Hotel, and began his thank-you speech with -
"If only I knew how young I was at 90".
Carpe Diem, baby.
I have had the world of jobs - a pub landlady in London, a hostel warden, a gynaecologists assistant, a chef on a ship, the chambermaid who cleaned Madonna's room on her European Tour, etc etc.
I have made buckets of money and lashed it as fast as a horse could trot, or been penniless, turning over bags of reduced meat with yellow stickers to check the date.
Same, same.
You lie down with  and wake up with, yourself.
Now I write.
I started with the writing as a child, and after all the exhausting years running around like a pinball in a machine, I will end with it.
I hope life has been good to you, and that you have a partner who loves you, that you had the chance to make the apple tarts for your own children that you baked on Sundays with your Mam.
In your last line you said -
"I hope you will send me a letter, I will be so glad to hear from you"
So here, 34 years later is my reply.
I send you love and best wishes for a very Happy New Year from the time capsule of your letter, from the awkward teenager, through the wildchild/ enfant terrible, and into middle aged spinster, across the green fields, above the foaming waves, and under a frosty sky.
Better late than never says she. 

M x  ((( ^ - ^ )))  03/01/14


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