Coral Atkinson's Writing
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Coral Atkinson > Writing > Dublin Bay - page 2


‘The railway station’s just down Amiens Street,’ the driver on the bus from the wharf has said. Michael will take the Dart out to Dun Laoghaire, to where his great aunt Betty lives.

Aunt Betty’s photo used to be on the piano at home. A stout woman with hair permed over-enthusiastically, her arms tight around a ginger cat. The cat, Michael thought as a child, looked more interesting than the woman.

‘Ah, Aunt Betty’s a proper dote if only you knew her,’ Bridget said. ‘A proper dote.’

Bridget always used words like ‘dote’ and said things like ‘filum’ and ‘modren’, making Michael go red and his friends giggle.

‘Your mum talks like a pirate,’ the kids in Michael’s class said.

Amiens Street is deserted. Sullen-looking walls and houses with cramped front doors and shabby lace curtains. Occasionally a half-hearted string of Christmas lights in a window; sad little decorations, ambivalent in their good will. Michael pulls the hood of his parka further over his face. The rain is stronger now, its cold presence insinuating its way round his neck and against his chest. Michael remembers the stark sunlight of New Zealand.

‘New Zealand’s grand,’ Bridget used to say. ‘But I don’t fancy leaving my bones here. One day we’ll all go back.’

‘Going back.’ He heard that all his childhood but his family never managed it. Now he’s here -- alone.

Title page of The Dubliner

The first page of Coral's short story Dublin Bay, as it appeared
in The Dubliner (October 2001).

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