‘She had left her home for America in the first place, because she was sensitive. She didn’t like the dirt, and bawdiness of country living’. ( From Walter Macken-The Bogman. )
These were the reasons that she told herself. But they were not true. What she despised was small town Ireland. Where everybody loved to mind everybody’s business. Why did they have to interfere. She could have found happiness with him. At least she felt she deserved that.
‘Why the hell were they to interfere. The local town gossips. Spreading false rumour. What did they know ? They knew nothing’, she hissed to herself. She slammed her coffee cup hard onto the table, as other memories of her recent past travelled through her mind. The other travellers in the busy station cafe restaurant looked briefly at her angry eyes and tightly held jaw. But they looked away quickly as they could see she was more than ready to take on all comers today.
The day she felt obligated and forced to leave the village of her birth,
Her Father had ordered her from home, for bringing such shame, as he saw it, to the family. Her Mother, for peace had sided with him, but she felt that somehow, she understood woman to woman, such love, even if it was forbidden.
‘But love is love’, she told herself, and tried to explain to her aging parents. But they were not for changing. She would never forget him, and he would remember her forever. How she had opened his mind, body and soul to feelings of love, or was it lust. He maintained it was the former. How she had gently taken his innocence as they lay together, under the moonlit skies.
She watched her fellow travellers, as they hurried along the concourse in a myriad of directions. She questioned how many of them were forced to run from shame and scandal. Why did it have to be this way. Was staying and brazing it out, even an option. Time was running out. She had to make a decision. To say she was confused was an understatement. The inner turmoil manifested itself on her frowning face. She glanced at the clock, with its ornate decorations that hang from the station roof. How she so wished she could stop time. She needed more time to think and decide. Who could she turn to for help. No one. God or angels not answering. She had decided after she was banished from the family home, and her happiness taken from her. She had decided there and then there was no such thing as God, or angels for that matter, to help one out,in a fix. It was, she decided a damn lie, regardless of what the religious orders had drilled into her throughout her school years.
One aspect of her character she had going for her, was that she was always belligerent and troublesome, at times. Always was, always would be. Not one to shy away from upsetting people. But could she now find that confidence, the belligerent backbone to stay and fight for love. Or had the shaming, the gossiping, the banishing. Her near enough expulsion from Ireland. Had it destroyed her soul, her inner strength and fortitude. The sentence forced upon her by her family. By the do-gooders in that small 1930’s Irish village. Her sentence was to go far from these shores. To live her life in isolation and loneliness. To be devoid of happiness for her life. Until God in his wisdom, if he ever would. That God had decided that she had atoned for her sins.
What was her crime, she had demanded of her family, of his family. What was her sin, she demanded of the local priest, who had castigated and criticised her from the pulpit, for bringing such shame to her family, to both families, and to the village. Both families sat mortified, and hung their heads as the priest continued his diatribe from the pulpit. The same priest who had the temerity to describe her as a whore and nothing more than a wanton woman.
But she had seen the way he had eyed up the boys when he came to her school to perform the weekly mass. She had her suspicions about the possible shenanigans he had being up to with the young boys, even though she did not dare discuss them with anybody. She had never seen anything untoward. But she knew, as a woman, there was just something very much amiss with the way he looked at the young boys. Who could she tell. These were just her suspicions. More to the point who would believe it about the local priest. Who the hell was he, to criticize and castigate her.
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