HUMMING a gentle song to itself, one not affiliated with violent rebellion or sporting underachievement, a solemn but beautiful refrain that doesn’t fan the flames of revelry or debauchery, the nation of Ireland walked to the back shed, got the ladder, went back into the house and up into the attic and cleared away the boxes of Christmas decorations and voting posters and retrieved the box that had sat there since March 18th of last year, the box marked ‘Patrick’s Day stuff’.
Hauling the heavy box downstairs, Ireland slid it’s hand under the cardboard folds and spread it open.
Despite all the promises that it ‘wasn’t going to cry’, Ireland couldn’t help but feel a single tear roll down its cheek as the stale smell wafting up from the box; old clothes, mixed with year-old beer stains, the metallic tang of a blood splash from some unlucky soul who may or may not have survived last year’s unprovoked attack in the city centre, the overbearing vinegar tang of vomit from soles of the old shoes at the bottom of the box.
The urge to run hit Ireland at just the exact same time as it did last year; the notion that it could just turn now, and flee out the door, and never stop running. When the lights and the cameras and the crowds show up tomorrow morning, Ireland would be leagues away. ‘I could leave a note’, thought Ireland. ‘Explaining how I’m done with all this, how I want to move on and be somebody else’.
But even as the thoughts of a wonderful life far from the pipe bands and the dancers and the alcohol and the fights and the tears floated joyfully around Ireland’s mind, it still found itself taking the outfit from the box and lining it out on the bed, ready for tomorrow morning. The velour green long-tailed suit with the charming shamrock-shaped buttons. The waistcoat and the bowtie and the pointy brogues and the velvet green hat with the bright brass buckle on it.
The beard. The fucking ginger beard.
‘Try it on, make sure it still fits,’ said Ireland, while at the same time suggesting to maybe set it on fire instead.
The shirt still fits. The leggings and the overcoat and the waistcoat and the hat, it all still fits.
‘Of course it fits,’ thought Ireland. ‘It’s not like we’ve grown since this time last year’.
The tears were rolling freely down Ireland’s cheek as the wardrobe door swung shut and the full-length mirror revealed it standing there, ready for all the world to laugh at.
‘Don’t you cry,’ Ireland said. ‘Don’t you fucking cry tomorrow. There’s too many people here to have a good time, they don’t need to see you being a little bitch about all your problems. There could be Americans out there. Don’t let the Americans see this shit. We need them. Don’t you fuck this up’.
‘Sure begosh, isn’t it like me old mother used to say, ’tis better to…’
Ireland trailed off, wondering how to finish that sentence, before accepting that it didn’t really matter to anyone. Nobody is looking for any deep meaning from any of this, they just want to laugh and have a good time and get sick and not remember any of it the next morning.
So dry those eyes. Go out there and show them a good time. You can keep it together, just for this one day.