Friday, 2 September 2011


The Girl on a street in Dublin.
Whenever I talk to The Girl, I choose my words carefully, knowing some unknown portion will stick but not knowing how she will piece them together. We don't discuss anything too dark, for example, but I do talk cheerfully about how Nature works or how people lived in earlier eras.

Sometimes, though, she says something that I know she is not repeating from me or anyone else, something she must have worked out on her own.

The other night she was reading Peter Pan to me as I tried to shave with a straight razor, and asked if it hurt.

"Not if you do it properly," I said, "but I'm still learning. Do you know why I'm trying to learn?"

Absent-mindedly, without looking up, she said, "We need to know how to be a Gordian."

A guardian? I asked.

"Like people used to be," she said, and I realised she was saying Edwardian.

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