Chapter 1, Dublin 2018

I had forgotten how magical this place had once made me feel until now, experiencing the magic all over again. I didn’t for one minute think that this would be the case, but I suddenly feel in control and at home. It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten my motive for the trip altogether and for a moment which feels longer than I imagine it is, I am enjoying this pleasant sensation and am at peace.

I have returned at a crucial time which becomes clearer to me as I see the abortion campaigns plastering the streets. I would have thought thirty years ago that this would have passed by 2018 and that the women of Ireland would have the freedom to choose, but instead the ‘No’ campaigners are not giving up their fight, attacking women across Ireland into feeling guilty for having a choice.

‘At 22 weeks I have fingernails, don’t repel me,’ reads one sign from the angry campaigners, desperately clinging onto the past and not accepting the different circumstances that women find themselves in. ‘A woman you love might need your yes,’ reads a board from the opposing side. I’m with the latter, giving women a choice and stopping hundreds who flee to England to safely abort a child that may not survive or abandon the memory of horrific and unwanted intercourse. There are individual stories and this needs to be addressed, but then that is only my opinion after all.

I ponder the debate for a while in blissful silence which is a miracle considering the company I am in. Erin has just bought new headphones so whilst ignoring the hardworking driver’s commentary, she’s listening to her Spotify playlist entitled ‘Musicals’, while Jack innocently attempts to grasp every word that the cheerful and witty commentator utters, adult jokes going straight over his head which I am thankful for.

I can’t believe how much this place has changed and how much my life has changed since I was here. Mammy instantly returns to my memory and though she doesn’t cross it much these days, it is comforting to feel. I don’t really know why I have returned anymore. At least in this current moment I haven’t a clue.

A tear drops from the corner of my eye and this as well as the rare Dublin sunshine forces me to put my sunglasses on. It’s a tear of happiness, of sheer contentment which I haven’t felt much at all for as long as I can remember. This place represents the start of everything for me and though I’m not as good as Jack and I’m ignoring every word that the driver is saying due to my mind wandering elsewhere, I think to myself how different things could have been.

‘Stop number twenty-two,’ the driver calls out. ‘The Guinness Storehouse.’ I’ve never been and right now I could demolish a pint of the black stuff like Daddy would if he were here with us but with two young children, I think I’ll pass. Most couples leave the top deck and prepare to stand in the long queue having missed the memo about pre-booking to avoid it. I look up to the top and dream about sitting alone in the Gravity bar staring out mindlessly onto the Wicklow Mountains in the distance. Then I’m suddenly back in reality when Jack claims he’s desperate for a wee. I guess we’ll be getting off at stop number twenty-three then.

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