Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I got married

The room smells like soap, there's the sound of cocktails being mixed and the Mexican bar staff who 'welcomed us home' - me with a broken tummy - upon our arrival last night.

I have my girl beside me, my wife beside me, reading the novel she bought in the airport yesterday. She’s rapt. I’m happy. I’m married.

And I just saw a lizard being very proud of itself outside.


I could worry for a living and I did my share of it in the weeks before last Thursday.

What if I trip up and rip the arse of my trousers? (didn’t happen)
What if someone gets so drunk they’d puke everywhere and shut down the dancefloor? (didn’t happen)
What if I butcher my vows? (didn’t happen)
What if my phone starts buzzing as she nears the top of the aisle?

That one came to pass.

Thanks for that, LinkedIn.

I reached into my jacket, flicked it to silent, turned to my left and she was there, being more beautiful than even I’d imagined and the paterfamilias proudly urging me to take care of her, now.

My grandfather used to tell me that worrying never solved a problem and, even if something bad happens, worrying about it beforehand makes you experience it twice. I'd worried a lot that everything would not be perfect. Silly stuff, and the day was full of joy.

My favourite people in one room, all of them on our side. My parents and my sisters and their husbands and my nephew, who rose to thank the audience for the applause as we entered the dining room, every brilliant 24 months and one day of him.

And her parents, so close to me, where she gets her character from. My girl. Never ‘the wife.’ Always my wife. Always my girl. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Remembering Carl O'Malley

I wish I'd known Carl O'Malley better.

We started college on the same day in September 1997, a journalism degree in Griffith College in a class of 25 people.

By the time I realised that Carl may have shared my 18-year-old sense of awkwardness about the world, cliques had been formed and he rested on the other side of the class divide.

We were two factions. The ten of us - slightly off kilter, drunk and inexperienced. The ten of them - well put together, confident, good people but (we thought) better at the college experience. Their crowd did the bold things that we could only snigger about.

Of the other group, though, Carl was always the one we felt we'd lost to them. One of us masquerading as one of theirs.

After college, we'd run into each other every now and again. Carl worked for the Irish Times and I was with Setanta at the time. We'd take a few moments, chat about Liverpool (our shared love), a few words about where we were in life.

He asked questions, the sign of any great man, as he was far more curious to know how you were doing than talking about himself. I never had the fortune to meet his wife Moira but I remember bumping into Carl on Tara Street shortly after the birth of Charlie, his first child.

He beamed the same smile that had levelled the girls in college; told me Charlie was great, love in his eyes, then politely moved the focus back to me.

The last time I saw Carl was in 2012.

I'd gone for a job in The Irish Times and he suggested a coffee in McCabe's on Tara Street. He wanted me there, said he'd followed the work I'd been doing and hoped that we'd soon be colleagues.

It didn't work out, nor did the pints we said we'd share in Bowe's, but we kept in touch in those small ways that people do nowadays.

That was Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace, when the title truly slipped, a small piece of empathy between two then 35-year-olds who knew it was a long way back to 1990.

And that was it. There never came that pint in Bowe's, instead a phone call on Friday morning to say that Carl was no longer with us.


I just... I wish I'd known him better, that's all. This wonderful father, husband, writer, friend. He was one of us and I won't forget him as long as I go on. Nobody who knew him will. He'll never walk alone.

Carl, rest in peace.