"Bringing Aibreann back from Ireland"

Or “The Asshole Dublin Club”

“You know, my sister talks about you a lot. I think she cares about you. You seem to mean something to her.”

“Then why is she in Ireland?”

And so it began. Another reason to travel back to Ireland. Bring the girl back.

Shauna didn’t have to answer my question about her sister. We knew why she was there. It had to do with a graduate research program at Trinity College for a semester, maybe two. Maybe three. I was hoping to get her back after one.

It’s not just because we were, as she called it, “an almost” before she left. No one’s being selfish here. The bottom line is there was a creative project of ours Aibreann was a big part of and she left shortly after it’s run. But we’d gotten word that it was being picked up in bigger fashion and had some real potential. And I wanted Aibreann to reclaim her role, not only in the project but maybe in my life, too.

Aibreann looked and acted like a Disney princess but with faults. The last time I saw her was after an argument. I remember a frown and romantic curls under a knit  hat.

Yet, she welcomed myself and my fellow assholes – Depressed Johnny,  Aidan, and Chicago reclusive author Clive Javanski. Her sister also joined us for the trip.

We did some things. We drank and danced watched Aidan, who brought his guitar, busk on Grafton Street. Depressed Johnny questioned whether it was appropriate, given that Aidan doesn’t live there. We asked a couple schoolgirls who stopped to watch. One said Aidan was “an arse” and the other said he was cute. Aidan’s not a bad musician. He was once in a band called the Weird Asian Girls. No one in the band was Asian, or girls for that matter. But damn they were weird.

We stopped at O’Donoghue’s, where Aidan showed up in a kilt.

“Look, this is my beer garden kilt. I wore it especially for you guys.”

“These are my beer garden pants,” I replied. “I wore them especially for everyone here.”

We  went ice skating. It was the best day with Aibreann.  I’ve kissed a girl on roller blades, I’ve kissed a girl on a bike, on a raft, and in a car. But I’ve never kissed a girl on ice skates. Until then.

Oh, and Clive disappeared for two days.

Aibreann didn’t give us a decision on whether she would return in time for the project or stay.

Before we left her place she handed me a letter.  An actual, hand-written letter in an off-white envelope.

“Don’t read it until you’re on the plane.”

I did wait. I did open it on the plane. It was a good letter. But Aibreann wrote that she would be staying in Ireland.

Shauna, seated next to me, must have known, and she gave me a kiss on the cheek. “This story will continue,” she said. “This story will continue.”