|Dublin...Whore of a City (standard:travel stories, 1004 words)|
|Author: Cyrano||Added: Oct 23 2006||Views/Reads: 2001/1056||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Forewarned is forearmed at sea, so when the radio warns of gales heading my way I make for the nearest harbour and look for somewhere to rest up. But Dublin is a sorrowful place at five in the morning.|
It's almost dawn as I step ashore. The sea mist, soon to be a fog, slides across the tiled rooftops, licking its way passed unlit windows and gliding down drainpipes until it catches in my throat, chilling my breath. Dublin - did I ever know such a town? Whore that she is! Opening my nostrils I can smell the religion, even touch her filthy heart. I leave the harbor to search out a bed and breakfast; somewhere to put my head down in this forlorn, this damp and sorrowful city. People pass, men mostly, walking with backs bent forward, leaden gait, heading toward the dock. Dockers, I have observed from my travels, have a universal uniform; caps slightly askew, newspapers under arm, hands deep in empty pockets. I want to weep. It's what Ireland does to you; cuts your heart out with delinquent ideas about romance and peace and other such ambiguities. True, it's not Belfast; it's not that sorrowful, not yet anyway; Dublin doesn't smell of dead flesh in its streets, nor harkens to the hopeless prayers of angels sitting in overgrown graveyards. It's a half hour walk into the city. Women and children sit in endless doorways, hands and hearts stretched out, wanting coins. “Giv' somethin' mister - I'm pleadin' wid yer, just a little, the Gods'll be kind ta ya, mister.” The Gods, had they been kind, would not have put me at anchor outside this forlorn city. Dublin city. Sorrowful city. One writer wrote, I don't remember where ‘...places have souls' but that writer wasn't in Dublin at five on a winter morning. The sun, a yellowy blob of light mingling with the fog, rises coldly over a figure coming toward me. Her slight, buckled frame appearing from out the swirling silver haze. She's dressed shabbily and smells of lavender. She holds up to me a twig of heather. "Jesus, Mary and Joseph! What?" I said, irritated by her presence. “You'll be lucky, sir - ta'day you'll be lucky.” I want to push by but she stands firm. “Does ya not want to be lucky, sir?” I reach into my pocket, pulling out a few coins. “Ah, ‘tis the day you'll be lucky fur sure, my darlin' man - ‘tis the day.” A shaft of light pierces the soggy murkiness. Not the first inexplicable happening I've seen living a life at sea, but nothing to rival this instant shriek of light. It shines down, flashing off a balding skull riding by on a bicycle. It's meaning lost to me. This is Dublin, a sorrowful beast. Same age as Rome but without the romance. I pace the streets knocking on doors where the word ‘Vacancy' hangs in curtained windows. But this is Dublin and no one wakes for a stray animal in need of sleep, or bowels emptying. In the end a barber, opening his shop, invites me in, saving me from the possibility of the alley toilet. The least I can do is let him cut my hair and with stomach pains subsiding, the weightless fog slips surreptitiously passed the glass-framed door while his scissors clip and clatter, sending strands of hair flying to the floor. He asks my business in the city? I explain that a storm warning sent me scattering to the harbor. I leave his shop with an address scribbled down on a piece of crumpled paper and pushed into my hand. “A nights stay,” he assures me, near the castle walls. When the old girl opens the door my nose singles out the smell of decay, an aged mustiness disguised by the scent of violets sprayed from a can. She bids me enter, as if expecting my arrival. I do so, her knobby fingers taking my hand as she leads me through a narrow hallway. Years of damp saturating the embossed wallpaper, peeling in drifts from the ceiling. Click here to read the rest of this story (48 more lines)
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