There's a line in the notes on my phone that reads, 'It must be the most unchanged place in Dublin.'
I wrote it in the middle of the night last Wednesday, when I got in from work long after 11pm and I was trying not to wake herself.
I remember being half asleep and wishing the phone had buttons, like they all used to, because I couldn't see or risk feeling around in the dark for my glasses in case I might wake her.
I'm a noted dropper.
I think, mostly, I wanted to talk. One of those nights where you might switch the office for the bed far too quickly and you're left with some strange comedown. Like the immediate aftermath of a gig in front of thousands with the remembrance of a dirty soup bowl, left on the desk, in place of the teenage hysteria.
I think, instead, I was just thinking about talking. I was set upon that room in Windy Arbour and the last time I walked in through the door, pretending to be casual, knowing I was on the clock and wondering how long it had been now?
This was August. Last August. That was January, early January, the first new year after the operation so it must have been 2003. Ten and a half years.
"Has it been that long?"
In the middle of it all I took a break for three years and, when I went back, the room was the same but her hair was different.
No, grey, not steel, but I remember thinking it was steel and it suited her. Somehow made her warmer. Her face had stayed the same though, all kindness, concern, empathy in all the right places.
I could never put an age on her but I was always bad at that.
The chairs. The stones in the corner. The lamps, those lamps, and the Kleenex. Even the soap she and her colleagues kept in the bathroom was still the same lavender and there was the hoover in the corner. A Henry.
I never once got out of line, went full Matt Damon on her, made her upset for the money I'd awkwardly leave on the table come the end of every session. I worried that I bored her, and then thought to cop myself on, "she's probably glad of the relief." Nothing wrung out.
Christ, it's gone too long, but the walk, and that room, will remain the most unchanged in Dublin for the simple fact that there's the Luas, there's the Costcutter, there's the room above the bookies and there's the buzzer.
Nothing else is seen.