This story was suggested by MoloneyKing on Twitter whose blog page I have listed here as well, as its just fab. Michelle asked for : A story set in the Gaeltacht with a number of teachers all liking one particular teacher and I got to chose who got him in the end...
I hope you like my take on this and I would like to add that my irish came from google translation.. yes i know (hangs head in shame) but as soon as we got our Peig books out when I learnt Irish, I did my maths homework. But I am getting a new lease of the irish language through my daughter who is fab at speaking irish and absolutely loves it. So I hope you ignore the bad grammar and possibly bad irish translation (god knows what I have said) and enjoy the short story.
Again please join up for my blog and leave your comments because without the comments and the challenges set by you, my task of trying to write a different short story every two weeks will be all but a blank page..
So thanks Michelle for this theme and I hope you all enjoy.. next one will be picked from comments here or on twitter and posted by the end of the month (my birthday as well which finds me this year losing a year instead of gaining one!)
Cé a dhéanann John grá?
Juliette fixed the loose blonde curl behind her ear and surveyed her appearance in the mirror for the third time as she passed. “Táim go maith”, she thought to herself, “are you ready for me John, here I come.” As she fixed her bright orange bodycon dress, she knew her choice of outfit would be frowned upon by Sister Angela and Fr. Jack, as completely inappropriate dresswear for the final Ceili. She could hear the old fogeys now, this is not the right example to be setting for a bunch of teenagers. Well, she didnt care; she had bigger fish to fry tonight. She still couldn’t believe that she had met the man of her dreams in substitute teacher, John Prendergast, when she arrived in Donegal. Thank God she had though, it had made the three weeks of extra curriculum activity in the Gaeltacht so much more bearable this year. And he had fallen for her, well of course he would; she thought, as she looked one more time in the mirror before she left. The note today had confirmed it all, and she was so excited now. It was time to close the deal. “Meet me in the village hall at 8pm and don’t be late, I have something really important I want to say to you before its too late, and we all leave tomorrow.” She folded the note and slipped it into her handbag as she closed the door behind her.
Amy rushed around her tiny room, aww shit and crap, she realised she was going to be late if she didn’t get a move on. She had managed to get herself and all her kids lost on the treasure hunt earlier, arriving back two hours late. A complete disaster! She had nothing to wear to the final Ceili now either, having not packed correctly and running out of clean knickers last Tuesday. Thinking of her lack of clean knickers, she was hoping that John Prendergast’s note earlier didn’t mean her secret was about to be exposed, later on when he took her back to the bedroom. . “Meet me in the village hall at 8pm and dont be late, i have something really important i want to say to you before its too late and we all leave tomorrow.” Well what else did it mean other than that, she wondered.
She definitely fancied John;he was yummy, but she hadn’t noticed him much over the three weeks. Well she definitely hadn’t noticed any signs he was interested. She was so tempted not to wear any knickers at all, but she didn’t want to feel that free around Fr. Jack and a bunch of spotty teenage boys! She couldn’t wait to get home tomorrow and tell the girls. They called her An knicker níos lú ar cheann, as she always found herself in the same predicament on her holidays. She even lived in St. Nicholas Place in Dublin, which had now been renamed St. Knickerless place by the girls. She sighed as she looked at her filthy jeans and white hoody she had been wearing all day and decided, well if John liked her as his note seemed to indicate, sure it didn’t matter what she was wearing... it was time to go anyway.
Bí Ullmhaithe, the best two words Susan could teach her children she thought as she stared at the clock and willed the time to move faster. She had been ready since 7pm having prepared the final certifciate for her kids and had her bags packed apart from what she needed in the morning. She had packed away all the kids’ homework, corrected it and had it filed in alphabetical order. To past time, she had refiled her own coursework books in alphabetical order and again in order of when she would need to take them out of the bag to use. She re-read John’s note feeling a surge of excitement in the pit of her stomach. . Bualadh liom sa halla sráidbhaile ag 20:00 agus dont a bheith déanach, tá mé rud éigin tábhachtach i ndáiríre ba mhaith liom a rá leat roimh a ró-déanach agus táimid go léir saoire amárach ". She had translated his note into irish of course, well if the children couldnt speak english, she felt the teachers should be doing the same. She still couldn’t believe he wanted to meet her and felt that way about her, but even so, she was over the moon. When she had stepped off the bus and saw John Prendergast that first day, she had felt a stirring inside herself, she hadn’t felt for years. Right 8pm, she smoothly down her little black dress although it was perfectly ironed since the evening before and grabbing her key she left at 7.54pm as it took exactly six minutes to get to the hall.
John paced up and down the hall entrance waiting for them to arrive. He never would have realised that his three weeks in Donegal would have ended like this, and he hoped he was doing the right thing. Being a substitute teacher he wasnt sure if relationships between teachers would be frowned upon and the last thing he wanted to do was get anyone into trouble. First to arrive was Susan but he expected nothing less. She looked as perfect as always, and if he wasn’t mistaken, she seemed a little flirty with him as they waited for the others to arrive. The kids were arriving now also all excited about the last dance but equally sad to be saying good-bye to new -found friends and no doubt a few romances too. Aww to be a teenager again he thought. Oh no wait he thought, all that self- doubt and over active hormones, no, he was better off in his twenties.
The hall quietened down, even the ceili band seemed to rein things in as Fr. Jack and Sister Angela arrived. Why did he still feel like a child again around them he wondered, feeling even more unsure of his next move now? Julia swished past walking straight up to him. She ignored the frowns from the others, her head held high as confident as ever. “That dress is so tight, i’m sure Ican see that bagel she had for breakfast” Susan leaded into John giggling as Julia approached where they were standing. So John, I got your note”, Julia started but John placed a finger on her lips to quieten her. “Wait” he said ignoring the look of shock on her face at being told what to do. Kevin rolled up next. He was in charge of the hall where all the events had been held over the three weeks. He was closely followed at 8.05pm by a very frustered and somewhat dirty looking Amy. Right it’s now or never he decided.
“Thanks everyone for coming or should I say, in case the kids are listening, Go raibh maith agat do gach duine chun teacht.” He realised he was laughing at his own joke like a delirious teenager, and tried to compose himself before he continued. I know I sent you all notes and you are all probably wondering why... They all looked from one to the other, as they realised, they hadn’t been the sole recipient of John’s note. They began to doubt whether his intentions had been what they had originally thought.
“Well I never thought I would meet someone here, and even more so, fall in love with them. I have and I wanted to share this special moment with everyone.” Juliette smoothed out her tight dress as she moved forward. Susan began to giggle like one of the kids and Amy having been distracted by the tightness of Susans dress tried to tune into the conversation again. None of them noticed Kevin as he walked forward and grabbed John’s hand.
I’d like you all to meet my new partner in crime and the love of my life, Kevin. No-one heard the grasbs of shock from each other as it was drowned out by the noise of the shieks and squiks from the kids as they all watched John and Kevin share their first public kiss.
(c) copyright Valerie Healy – 7th February 2012