I’m on vacation in Ireland. So I should be happy.
But so far I’ve felt quite sour. Perhaps it’s because I’m grieving a relationship, the first one I’ve had in over three years. I suppose it makes sense that I’m sad.
Plus, it’s raining.
Perhaps I’m sour because Ireland reminds me of my dead father, and every green hedge, every pub door, every donkey and every blind curve hiding three dozen black-faced sheep in the road just isn’t as beautiful without my Dad here.
Even though we were rarely on the same page, we were always in agreement about the wet smell of wet rains on wet fields and wet horse shit on wet roads. We had very few same pages, Dad and I, but County Clare was one of those rare shared pages.
Plus, it won’t stop raining.
Perhaps I’m sour about the xenophobic hatred behind this shortsighted Brexit vote. Perhaps it’s because Northern Ireland is now more likely to join up with Scotland than to agree to a united Ireland. Perhaps it’s because I wonder if some of the mossiest, rockiest, wildest parts of the Ireland I love are being bought out and smoothed over by the EU. Perhaps I need to catch up with everyone else and grieve the Ireland of my childhood.
Perhaps I miss the house, the place my parents were going to retire in, a place surrounded by fresh fields, where the lowing of a cow will wake you up most days, rain or shine. I do miss that cow. I miss that country wake-up call.
I don’t come to Ireland to get away, you see. I come to Ireland to be home.
And where else but home is the perfect place to say,
“I miss you, Dad. You should be here. You should be alive.”
“I’m sorry it didn’t work out, my sweet. I hope I gave your heart as much as you gave mine.”
“You’re scaring me, Mom. The cigarettes and your wheezing all day long. I can’t lose you, too.”
“You fucking imbicilic American public! Wake up and look at what the idiots of the UK did to themselves! Don’t be ruled by fear! Don’t hold yourself apart with walls and racism, that only makes you weaker and more easily controlled - don’t you see?”
What’s saving me is the rain. I can’t get away from it. Like much more eloquent Irish writers before me, I’m both challenged and sustained by this life giving incessant wetness. And the rain washes away my shoulds. Fuck the shoulds. Should be happy. Should be having a different experience. No, I should grieve the men I’ve lost and the mother losing her breath and the Ireland of my childhood.
I am here and it is raining.
Sarah Elovich is a writer and performer based in Oakland, CA.