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A neighbour passed away. He was nearly ninety. I used to meet him on the boreen beside his house, taking his daily constitutional on a walker, accompanied by his sheepdog Honey. He was always sweet, and he'd often invite me to tea. A few weeks ago the mother-in-law met him on her walk, and he asked after the wee girl. (He meant me.) "We're great friends!" May he rest in peace.

A year ago, we would have gone to the house to commiserate with the family, paying our respects to his body and later trade memories over tea and finger sandwiches, wayfarers at the crossroads. None of that now. We stood on the side of the road, throughout the community, waiting for the hearse to pass by, fedora resting on the lid of the coffin inside.


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