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To Rathmines and Rathgar Walking along the Grand Canal with collar turned up against the sudden chill. I walked toward Leeson Street either to go back to the hotel or out to Rathmines in time for the pubs to open again or just walking because I think they said they were going to someplace out that way, maybe in Ranelagh, and I would run into them. No characters lurked by the trees, no lovers sank under wetting newspaper in the high grass. Cars went by. The faces turned and looked at me walking and were gone along in the gray light. Of course this is in the direction of where Barbara had lived . . . I thought I should go back to New York because at least Lilia and my sister were there. It wasn’t a good feeling but one which had occurred before: getting off the train in Sofia and wanting to get right back on and continue to Istanbul where Anne was living but then getting to Istanbul two months later and finding she had been thrown out of the country. I was in Dublin because I had been talking about Dublin since 1968, October 25th to be precise, and to echo the people on the street when Lilia and I flew out of Dublin for New York FICTION but I knew I had to go and people would say don’t you miss Dublin and how lucky you are to have lived there for three years. At Leeson Street bridge I saw the apartment complex which was new back then and where Americans had lived, the sort of American who would never have talked to me when I was in New York, but after all we are all Americans, would invite me around that first year when they too were either first-year students at UCD or there like me for the third year. But when I was here with Lilia I never saw them, by marrying St. Patrick’s Day ———— someone other than an American. They didn’t miss me with their tennis games with the grandchildren of the president of Ireland and the stories about rugby club dances where you carried a vomit bag along and competed with each other to see how much vomit and how many different sorts you could collect in the course of the night. I continued along the canal. Because of the fog, or mist or sudden grayness the sodium lights had been turned on giving everything a yellowish tinge. Beckett was on my mind which was at least still capable of supporting a writer or two. The TB spit–stained waters were just ahead and when I crossed over the bridge the car assembly plant would be to my right. FICTIONS Barbara said she lived in Rathgar. We left and walked along the rain night sharpened streets. Her hand was cold. The fingers long and bony under the skin; her blue-green eyes were set in a pale face between two curls of dark hair. But in the present tense I could be unfaithful to Barbara and I had hoped to do it with Mary Conan who lived in Palmerston Road and who I will be seeing all this coming summer having met her in a day or two in the Bailey, where I went one night to get away from Grogan’s, where she was sitting with some tall men, later learning one of them was a lover, the others, brothers and cousins or just friends—she had a friend who was studying medicine, who would be going to London to work in a hospital and needed someone to take care of the flat in Ely Place: I still owe her twenty-five pounds. Mary was tall and large and had reddish blonde hair, with blonde eyelashes and brows like Liddy, so I thought they belonged to the same tribe of the Irish in the way Hilary Rosenblatt said you can tell certain Jews belong or must belong to the same tribe by the shape of the nose, size of lips, curl of hair, or occupation . . . she had heard this from an uncle in Belfast before he went to Israel . . . Mary’s house was close to the road and her upstairs window was open and at five in the morning or whenever it is that things start to go from dark to light, that summer I was standing on the sidewalk listening to the record player and since I...


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