Attendant circumstances: the sun and the moon, in that order. Running home, no reason to think the house would not be as we’d left it. Mother wiping workaday hands on her stretchy pink overall. Father gulping down tea, talking to whoever was there, his soft-steel presence filling the house, so that we breathed in, moved carefully into corners. And my brother: thinning, staring, wandering off for longer and longer, forgetting to say where, just flushed cheeks and eyes shining like polythene. But the noise coiled through the windows and walls before we arrived—a wind of tangled voices sighing and soughing. The back door open. Mother not in the kitchen. Father, loitering. The next room quickly dark with cousins and uncles and Irish people, all here not there. On top of each other, two heads to each person. All the heads crying. And Mother by the fire, flanked by four aunts. Someone took us to a back room, away from the sobbing-wind sound, offered us sweets, as many as we liked, while day turned to night, in that order.
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