Monday, 25 June 2007

Slán, Maurice

Written in a creative writing class, early 2006

We were all there- Maeve, Mags, Barbara and I, and he was there too, we could feel him. Maurice was there; in the sand, in the sea, in the darkness and in the stars. As Babs told us about him and how much he had meant to her we all felt we knew him too. He had made her laugh. He had looked after her when the creep in the bar at home had tried it on. He had thanked her that time she had taken his keys when he had had too much to drink. And he had liked her. And she him. But they had been scared because she was going away, and so they did nothing. Nothing except miss each other and write letters and send drunken late-night texts hinting at what might have been. And now he was gone, and it was too late. Taken by a tree, and a swerve in the road, and a misplaced intention. Poor little Mo. Poor Babs.

And as we sat there in the darkness, on the beach looking out into the black ocean, with the sand between our fingers and our toes, we felt him. We really did. It was our memorial service for this unfortunate young man who was taken too soon and we felt him. He was on a beach, in our city, hundreds of miles from where his body lay with his family and friends gathered round.

Maeve sang. It was beautiful, as it always was- her voice loud and soft, deep and powerful, gentle and heartfelt. She sang a couple of songs that she knew that Babs liked, and then Babs asked for Champagne Supernova because it was Maurice's favourite song. Maeve didn't know it, so I said that I would sing it. I did, and it was both brilliant and terrible all at once. And then Mags, quiet Mags who would never say boo to a goose started to sing along with me, in a big loud powerful voice, and then it was truly brilliant.

Babs wrote his name in the sand in big clear letters. And she buried one of the pictures she had of him in the sand. She said she didn't need it as he was in her heart and that was all that mattered. I thought she was really brave- I don't know if I could do that. But it made her feel better; she said she was burying him since she couldn't be there for the real thing.

We left the candle that we had kept lit since we had heard about his accident and all through his struggle there on the beach, and we walked away holding hands and holding each other.

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