Evelyn can give us strength, but she can steal it away from us too, when she feels like it.
‘You can’t see him, you can’t talk to him, you can’t even send him a letter. Sure, anyone with a spark of sense knows there’s no God. There’s no scientific proof.’
When you talk to Maeve, it feels as though your words are falling into an infinite black hole. No matter what’s said to her, Maeve laughs, and she’s the sort of a girl who reminds the teacher when she forgets to give us homework.
It often feels as though myself and Evelyn were born friends. We’re always on the edge of things and looking on. It’s as though we’re the only people who’re really truly alive, and the people around us aren’t real at all, existing merely for our own amusement.
When myself and Evelyn and Maeve happen to meet Aidan and Peadar out on the road, I slip my glasses into my pocket as quick as a wink. I don’t think I’m ready for being seen and admired. I haven’t yet decided if I’m ugly or otherwise, but slipping off the glasses makes me feel like a happy ghost in a hazy world.
If I myself was to get a kiss from Aidan, or even a slow dance, I’d be made up, but the competition is fierce.
A friend who tells you nothing is no friend at all.
I don’t think there’s one ordinary person to be found in Glenbruff, but sure the same could be said of any place.
“Everyone loves a story with a missing girl in it. There’ll be another one next week, and the whole thing will be forgotten about,” Evelyn says, as though she’s tired of the world and everyone in it.
I can sense the fury emanating from Evelyn, the air charging about her. Her face gains a serenity that masks the rage beneath, the faintest of smiles appearing and crinkling the corners of her mouth.
He takes a deep breath and holds on to it as we enter into the ballroom. The sensation of my arm in his is electrifying. I’m aching to know if this is the commencement of a relationship, the cusp of something momentous. I’m aching for Aidan to know my heart, and for me to know his.
“It’s not the end of the world, you know.” I place my hand on her shoulder, and she turns and has a glassy look in her eyes. She’s been put on something awful strong. It’s like she’s been hit with a poison dart.
I spy Dylan Hartigan a few seats ahead of me and take a magazine and raise it up in front of my face. There’s nothing worse than being trapped in conversation with a dry person on a train.
Her name is as flimsy as Princess Diana; when I hear mention of Pamela Cooney, the words glide past me with little effect. The only hint of her now is a cellophane cone of crispy brown roses left down by the handball alley.
I share an apartment with the Creighton twins, Nuala and Norma, in a high-rise in Stillorgan. Their father is a big dairy farmer and he bought the apartment for them. The place reeks of the chemical scent of hair removal cream and the vinegar tang of cheap synthetic clothing.
Nuala and Norma are from New Ross, and they are thin, anodyne girls with curly hair and pointed noses who never have any luck meeting fellas. Norma has a high forehead and a Filofax and Nuala has neither. They’re humourless. Like a pair of wet logs in a fire, the spark of divilment won’t catch.
I can’t get over it. Maeve, of all people, in a beautiful coat, drifting into a jewellery shop on Grafton Street with her regal-looking mother. I’ve seen it all now.
The house isn’t entirely slovenly, but has a sort of a careless look about it; there are clothes drying on radiators and pink-grey towels tossed over the backs of chairs. Crusted casts of dried mud fallen from football boots speckle the hallway.
My face aches with the smiling. It’s hard work to look as though you’re enjoying a party.
I have the frightening, momentarily exhilarating idea that I may have outgrown Evelyn, and that she’s already peaked.
It’s important when you’ve good news to tell the right people. People who understand the dream or have a dream of their own. Otherwise you end up feeling deflated.
“Everyone’s out of their minds on drugs in these sorts of places,” Norma exclaimed fretfully, and Nuala appeared to be somewhat afraid of the other patrons: shifting her posture, compulsively glancing over her shoulder, her eyes full of uncertainty.
I suppose I’m fearful that we might have fallen out of the groove of getting along with one another. The easy humour having become strained. It seems to me that the more you experience in life, the more you are distanced from others.
The dream will never come to fruition without Evelyn. And though I tell myself that it’s illogical, superstitious even, I can’t seem to shake the idea that myself and Evelyn are supposed to pursue the dream together. I won’t be able to make it on my own. I’m only special by association.
“Harmless,” snorts Norma. “God. Do you know, I always think it’s an awful insult to refer to a person as being harmless. Like they’re not worth treating the same as other people. Like they’re only to be tolerated.”
I remember the white ball of fire under my ribs, the excitement of all that was to come. I used to think my imagination would end up taking me places, but instead I’m like the girl that fate forgot.
I learned long ago that people from Dublin have their friends already made and haven’t the need for new ones, and country people would nearly knock you over with the friendliness by comparison.
“There are some things you need to know,” he says, toking off the joint. “About working here.”
“You need to stop being friendly. It makes you look weak.”
I smile at him. “I could do with a drink alright.” I’m glad to be going in for the drink. The drink might consolidate the hundred million feelings I’m experiencing and make some kind of sense of them.
“You know, Katie, you and me have a lot in common,” he says, looking me intently in the eyes. “You’re a dreamer. I’m a dreamer too.” This couldn’t be going any better. It’s all unfolding in the best way.
Sometimes you walk into a place, and you know you’re going to have a good time. You know you’re about to act out, like something’s been brewing inside of you and you’re about to go off like a rocket.
It takes time to reignite a friendship. It’s not something that’ll happen overnight. You have to invest in it: time, energy and fawning.
I can’t think of one good reason not to resume the friendship. Life’s like a film with Evelyn in it.
There’s simply nothing more detrimental to romance than neediness. It’s like the turning off of a mains supply. It shuts the whole thing down.
I’d say we’re great friends because we’ve no sisters between us. I’ve always thought that girls with sisters don’t need friends in the same way that girls without sisters do.
How is it that Evelyn makes me feel superior and insignificant all at the same time.
There’ll be no point in me going to London if it’s to be all about Evelyn. It can’t be all about Evelyn all the time. Can it?
Sometimes staying at home in your own place is more interesting to a person than moving away.