Weather Patterns

What would it be like to be unrelentingly positive for one day? For the inside thoughts and outside spoken words all to be ‘up’. To watch the sneaky negativity or melancholy and flip it before it takes hold. It started out as an easy exercise to maintain. The daybreak was beautiful: a cloudless day illuminated by bright sun made the morning glow. I had slept well, battery charged, and was prepared for a positive day ahead. But, a little like the changing weather in these parts, one’s mood can undergo three seasons in one day and my up-tempo was soon to hit a down beat. Perhaps the Irish don’t have it in them to be sunny all the time, accustomed as we are to rain. Hence our poetry, literature and song, much of it used as a means of release so that we don’t cry all the time. Even the songs that appear funny and upbeat are not all they seem. Percy French’s The Mountains of Mourne is heart wrenchingly sad, and the fact that the Irish emigrant to London is delusional about how sad he is makes the song sadder. The Lake Isle of Innishfree: maudlin. Tarry Flynn: tragic. Children of Lir: heart breaking. I will not deny the beauty there is to be had in feeling sorrowful and lost. I will not plaster my day in the ‘It’s all good’ smiley-face stickers and slogans of our north American cousins. I will not discount the occasional disconsolate, dismal, downcast, dreary outlook on the world. I will, however, know that the lighter mood is never far off, the sky might brighten soon.

The promising sunshine of the morning has gone when, mid-morning, I wait for a takeaway coffee in the little porchway at Polentoni (large enough for only one person to stand in and take shelter if it’s raining – it’s raining). It would be the most natural thing in the world to chat to the Italian man who runs the place while he makes my coffee, whose name I still don’t know after six years of patronage, but I stay silent and say nothing, as usual. He’s playing jazz/funk/rap music as he works, sung in French by a man with an African accent. I know this music from my time in Paris, I also know it because Ken used to play this sort of music, he loved it, and so I think of him, and how, if Ken lived here, he would know all of this street’s shopkeepers intimately by now, he’d have made friends with them, know where in Italy this man comes from, how his children are doing at school, what time he gets up at to make bread. And I realise, if Ken were alive, I would know this café owner, I would be standing here talking to him instead of watching quietly. I would be a different person, with a different relationship to the street, and they would see me differently: the Irish woman with the friendly Canadian husband, instead of what I am: the quiet Irish woman. Standing there in the porchway, listening to the hiss of the coffee machine and the beat of the music, I allow myself to feel riven with sadness, I’m hit with a cold front, not at the loss of him but at the loss of us.

The owner hands me my coffee, wishes me the best for the day, and I wish the same to him. I cross the road, navigate the buses, stop to peer into the window of Lothian Cat Rescue. I spot a brooch, know who it will be perfect for and nip in to buy it. The rain’s over when I come out, in all of five minutes the sky has cleared, and there has been a shift in the weather pattern of my mood.

4 thoughts on “Weather Patterns

  1. Eimear, you’re not shy, you have so much to say. Anyone would enjoy a conversation with you. Next time you grab a coffee show the Italian coffee man your story. He’ll enjoy it!
    Another great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A lovely piece. ‘… at the loss of us.’ Huge hugs to you. Your ‘more personal’ sharings are so warm, heartfelt and helpful to many, I’m sure. x


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