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Human Moments, No. 7

Brennnessel_1“I don’t know how he did it.  Our father used to take us fishing and let us wander through the woods after we got bored of it.  We’d fish for maybe twenty minutes, and then we were off for our adventures. Just free, like. But now I don’t understand how you could do it.”

We are lying in bed with the lights out.  It’s late and I can feel the sleep drawing on me, which is just the hour when my Beloved is most prone to reminiscing.  “Maybe he secretly hoped you’d be eaten by bears.” I suggest.  “I know the kind of child you were.”

“Ireland doesn’t have bears.”  He pauses and thinks.  “Or snakes.  Or large cats.”

“This sounds like a very pansy sort of island.  Don’t you have any real predators?  What about wolverines?  Or maybe wolves?”

“There’s badgers.  But they’re mostly underground during the day.”

“Badgers!  I said real predators.  Not ones that just slap their tails at you.”

“Badgers can really hurt you!”

“What about foxes?  They have sharp little teeth.”

“Oh, those would be well off, gone before you even saw them.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fox, outside of a zoo.  Isn’t that sad?”  I pause.  “You must at least have seals.  Or selkies.  Or trolls.”

“That’s hilarious.”  The only sound in the dark is the cadence of fingernails scratching against a day-old beard.  “Well,” he says, his voice hitting that special soprano pitch only available to Irish men, “we do have nettles.  You’d be sorry if you ran into a patch of them, to be sure you would.”

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