EH is here in town, for a residency. I've known her for a dozen years, one of the first people I met after arriving in Ireland, when I was married to another man and unsure of this damp, seemingly inward place. Rather fey, E has a disconcerting habit of staring at you with her wide hazel eyes while asking questions that reveal more of your biases and assumptions than anything else. Last night we caught up over a few drinks in the pub. Wearing an ancient, rakish hat and smiling like an enigmatic movie star, she was accompanied by her boyfriend of seven weeks, a rugged stonemason in a grey Aran jumper, newly returned after living two decades in London. Her lightness of being suits me more than ever, a force field to stave off the weirdness of tangled small-town politics.
Later on, sis-in-law, hubs and I sipped cava by candlelight in our kitchen, gossiping and joking until 6 am--having the craic I had missed most of all whilst in California. Earlier that night, A had dined in a popular restaurant in a village at the border, run by a former classmate of hub's. The Taoiseach was also dining, looking slimmer than he did on TV. He had not been nice at all to the servers, according to the owner and chef. Which is not surprising. While international observers celebrated the ascension of the gay son of an Indian immigrant to the highest political office in the land (albeit by in-party election), he is, alas, just another neoliberal asshole, Ireland's would-be Margaret Thatcher.