Cloch na Rón, County Connemara, 2006…
In my dream four old women walk around a large square pit with lurid turquois water far below in its depths. The women go for tea at an outdoor table with four chairs and an umbrella flapping at its centre.
The old woman at the rear of the group is dressed all in red and carries a red brolly. She’s forgotten something. She walks back the way she has come but is dangerously close to the edge of the pit.
“No!” I scream. “Look out!” But being a dream, of course, she does’nt hear me and the edge crumbles away and she crashes over the edge and into the pit and drowns.
Flip, and it’s years later and legend has it that a scarlet demon dwells in that pit and I see a lovely young guy amble down the well-worn track to the water at its base. he carries a posy of flowers to appease the demon (or perhaps make a wish).
In less time than it takes to blink, the scarlet demon explodes from the water, grabs him and drags him under.
Then I wake up and tell my travelling companion. We discuss it and come to realise there’s actually no old women on the street (there’s only one street) in Roundstone.
So we walk up to the art gallery, where I’ll be launching the pre-release of The Quickening, and up the stairs to where Sheena of Blue Grace Music, and my friend, is in her office.
“Where are all the old women?” I ask.
“Oh, they don’t come out,” she says, “They’re widows.”
I’m a bit disturbed by this as you can imagine. “Why are they all widows?”
“Fishermen. The sea takes their men.” She sips her coffee like this is a normal conversation. And I tell her about the dream.
Doesn’t matter that no one’s got an interpretation because later that afternoon we’re in the grocery shop and a woman, maybe 85 and all in black – widow’s weeds I suppose – and tiny and bent, comes into the shop on the arm of a middle aged man who looks like her a bit.
And she looks at me. And she ponders. It lasts maybe thirty seconds. It’s an uncomfortabe moment but she breaks the stalemate.
She comes right up to me and stares me in the eye.
“I’m lookin’ at de look,” she says. I smile.
“Do you mind dat I’m lookin’ at de look?” She’s brazen. Fuck, I love that kind of honesty.
“Nah, don’t mind,” I say.
She walks around me. Takes her time. Touches my arm, my tattoed hand. Gets back in front of me. Looks up and smiles.
“I’m likin’ de look o’ de look,” she informs her companion who nods like he knows she’s a bit like that.
Then she smiles at me. “Tanks a mill,” she says.
They turn around and walk out of the shop. They don’t buy anything.
Next day and for the rest of the week there’s old women everywhere.
Oh. And if your world is magic and mystery like mine is? Don’t work it in Ireland. It’s way too over the top. But that story’s for another time.