I’m just after kissing you goodbye on Patrick Street and maybe it’s the lingering press of your lips on mine, or the pint rejuvenating the leftover buzz of last night, or the Amber Leaf haze of noon in the friendly squeeze of the Mutton Lane, but I’m happy that whatever First Cause, Big Bang, Great Spirit, Ancestral Ghost, Krishna, Shiva, Muhammad, Jesus, or some other unknown Bronze Age savior has let the dice of my life fall as they have. I’m learning, one by one, all the lovely and bittersweet things we’ve no choice but to endure, ours to suffer by birthright, our privilege – the pain of birth, the pain of feeling, the pain of belief, the pain of endurance, the pain of selfless love, the pain of meeting, the pain of parting from you on Patrick Street, if only for a matter of hours. All of this a joy.
And here a man’s next to me sitting with a black pint on a barrel talking to his mate and they’re laughing, laughing, laughing, grasping hands and celebrating. I imagine maybe the man – salt and pepper hair – has had a grandchild born in Australia, or maybe they’ve just won some money on the greyhounds, or maybe they’d usually be at work right now, but it’s a Monday and they’ve said fuck it and now they’re basking in the glory of midday pints and the beauty of craic when no craic is supposed to be had. They must have seen that it is true, that somewhere, between waking and sleeping, the pain and beauty that prickles the skin of the self, has succeeded, twisting and turning to make itself known, ourselves aware: Our existence is glorious.
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Daniel Johnson is a writer from New Jersey living in Burlington, Vermont. He’s a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at University College Cork. His work has appeared in journals such as Southword, Reed Magazine, and the Honest Ulsterman. He’s on social media @djohnsonwrites.