Mona sits by the window in her bedroom looking down at her daddy digging his plot. His strong shoulders heave as he lifts his spade; his broad head rises to face the bright morning sun. Downstairs she can hear her mother washing the dishes; singing above the din of the radio. Her sister, Caitlin, is talking to Donal Doyle standing astride his motorbike, his helmet held loosely in his hand.
She presses her nose against the pane of glass; wonders what Caitlin and Donal are talking about, if she'll see Lisa. She muses on the previous day and the kiss in the changing room of the gym and the two other kisses on the playing field hidden by the thick mist. When she woke, she thought that maybe she'd dreamed it; that it had not happened. However, she knew it had happened. It makes her think and as she thinks, it makes her stomach turn with a mixture of excitement and uncertainty. She pulls away from the window and sits on the bed. Lisa had not mentioned seeing her today; only asked about coming for tea on Sunday. Until then nothing; not a sight of the Lisa; not a sight. She sighed. What to do? Where to go? Caitlin had her Donal, they were often out doing things; seeing things; preparing for their wedding the following May. What of us? Lisa and me? What will we do?
- What are you doing sitting here brooding?
Mona turns and sees her mother by the bedroom door.
- Nothing. Just sitting.
- Idle hands. You know what they say about idle hands.
Mona's mother enters and looks about the room.
- I've seen pigs live in tidier places.
- I'll tidy up soon.
- Now is as good as any.
The mother begins to pick up clothes, tidy away books.
Mona breathes out a slight sigh; follows her around the room in a gloomy mood. She stares at her mother's thin arms; her brown hair pulled back in a loose tail; the stern features that seem etched out of stone.
- Is it all right if Lisa Logan comes to tea tomorrow?
The mother pauses in her work.
- New for you to invite people for tea.
- We're friends.
- If your da says it's all right. I've no problem.
The mother turns to her work again. Her fingers pulling at the blankets and sheets on the bed; then wiping along the dressing table with the cloth that doused the room with the smell of polish.
Da'll say it's ok. I know him. Putty in my hands on a good day. If only I could see her, be with her. The thought tingles along her nerves; makes her want to scream out with the bottled up excitement. Maybe another kiss and to be close to her again and who knows what will follow. Take her to the lake; we can sit and talk; be just us; no one else to bother us or moan or judge.
- You're in another world today.
The mother stands staring at Mona who stands by the window peering at the sky.
- Just thinking.
- What about?
- The sky and the birds over the trees over there.
The mother shakes her head and smiles weakly.
- Too many poetry books and those novels.
Mona smiles and moves away from the window, pretends to tidy the bookshelf. That was the greatest kiss ever, the kiss to beat all kisses. Yet, oddly, strangeness enters me, as if I'd opened a door to a forbidden world. She watches as her mother flicks the polish-ridden cloth against the chest of draws. The fingers hold the cloth with determination, as if they want to rid the whole world of the dirt, dust, and filth that her Catholicism has bred in her. Then in a flourish of her hand, she stands and stares around the room.
- Try and keep it like this, Mona.
Mona nods. The mother raises her eyebrows; then takes a last
glance around the room and leaves. The door closes. The silence
returns. Mona looks around the tidied room and sighing sits once
more on the straightened bed.
She closes her eyes; tries to bring Lisa's face to mind and fails. All is blank behind her eyes; all is empty as if someone had pulled a plug and all her thoughts and memories had drained away with an oddly dirty sounding slurp. The smell of polish clings on the room; the disturbed dust falls to the floor like dying galaxies across an infinite space.