You’d think the sadness was over, out of you like some silver icy gust into a November air, or was that January, at twenty-three, your young man tears all over the icy Milltown lawns, all shimmering in ice on the hedgerows beside the Dodder. You’d think that was the last caldera of pain you’d fumble around, lonesomely combing the banks of the Dodder – staring through the dense thicket and waiting to see her silhouette in there, forlorn and scared – but you’d save those big brown eyes and take her in and bathe her, wash her feet and kiss her cheeks.

I thought that would be all for now but her I am at twenty-nine and that feeling of disconnection is still ever powerful, ever searching but yielding nothing except empty traintracks in my mind – no metaphor adequate, just the rain bashing against the Luas, treacling down like the tears of some huge sad and handsome giant in the clouds. But I’d ask him to cradle me, cradle me up there in the clouds you sweet giant, with your benign smile and enormous features. We will share a moment up there, you and I, as we gaze across the smooth plains of Dublin and her little terraced houses, her gardens of suburbia, the little rows of shops in Mount Merrion and Foxrock, and we’ll think about how many other people’s heart’s hurt out there and we’ll cry for them too, if only for a moment, before your soft hand places me back into that lachrymose tram to move along to the next space with a brave heart.

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