Pat and Mike lived in our back garden and we tried often to sneak up on them. They were too fast for us, however, even though we kept our flashlights pointed at the ground tracing night crawlers in the wet, our voices hushed. We walked barefoot but there was no one to hear our foot falls, only stars to peer down on us. It was just the two of us after all.
These were my best memories of my father. Before the failed surgery on his back. Before he lost his job. Before the paint on our house began to peel. Summers of sleepovers and swimming, the scent of sugary fresh grapes, fireflies busting through the dark and my father's Old Spice cologne that sliced through the wind like firm sharp cheese.
I was only seven, full of stories myself where Barbie and Ken lived in a brick house beside a pond full of ducks and a station wagon with wood grain molding in the drive.
"Yeah, Da. I see them. I see them fine," I told him but sometimes I wished he wouldn't ask me anymore. I wanted to hear about his childhood, what my grandmother was like before she got sick, why he played The Green Alligator and Long Necked Geese song so many times, why the St Patrick's Day parade was his favorite time of year even though we never attended it. Once I asked him why he didn't visit Ireland if he loved everything about Ireland so much. He told me it was too dangerous, that children were separated according to different religions, and kids from Derry never met the kids outside of Derry. He was right but I didn't know that back then and he didn't tell me anything else. That was back in the 70s during the troubles.
I was not taught the history, the am
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