Donegal Woman’s Words: Author Sharon Thompson shares the story of a typical Donegal summer.
Moville writer Sharon Thompson this week presents another short story exploring the life of local women.
If you are familiar with the feeling of delight and excitement when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds, you’re also more than likely familiar with the sinking feeling that strikes you when you begin to feel the first drops of rain begin their assault from overhead.
So whatever the weather this morning, grab a coffee, put your feet up, and enjoy today’s tale.
A Donegal Summer
Mary’s three wains (kids) are screaming upstairs. The tabby cat’s licking off the wet from the lashing rain and the washing is tumbling around in the dryer.
Mary’s become a pro in ‘UN-peace-keeping-style’ parenting and she’s entirely deaf to the roaring and any sentence starting with, ‘I’m bored.’
The weather forecast is a blur to her but the grey skies in the morning signal a typically, mixed-up, Donegal day.
Her eldest hands her a snotty tissue. ‘You’re crying like the sky Mummy and saying bad words.’
The lawn is a swimming pool complete with slippery decking and the flowers, like her mood, are battered down nicely. However against the odds, suddenly one day in August, Mary’s heart leaps as there’s…
THE SUN! The round, hot orb that people travel in planes to find is in Mary’s back garden! Hall-a-feckin’-ulljah.
She squints into the sky. It’s definitely the sun as the world seems warm and pleasant. There’s a blink of blue and then a clearing of cloudless sky. The garden has patches of dry grass and the children are outside playing, without taking chunks out of each other.
‘Where’s the sunscreen?’ Mary wonders.
Her wains are mostly clothed and keeping on the hats she’s managed to find. So Mary drags over a battered sun chair, whips off her top, drags the bra-straps down and tucks her skirt into her large knickers.
The sun is on her face and chest, as she breathes in the warmth. There’s heat on her hairy knees and her swollen, tired feet are throbbing with summer sweat.
Plop. ‘Was that rain?’
But Mary’s determined to keep those eyes of hers closed. The children are content in their games. A cloud takes the sun but Mary stays convinced it’s a fleeting rouge one and indeed the heat blasts on.
Mary’s transported to the sun loungers of her youth; the days where poolside reading lasted all day, the cocktails were alcoholic and her legs were slim and smooth. Those were the days.
Try as Mary might – she just cannot relax. ‘I should weed that flower bed? Maybe hang out the washing? I might be getting burnt? I should take the kids to the beach? Yes. We should go to the beach.’
Mary’s quest at finding all the children’s summer regalia starts. Racing around the house everything gets battered into a hold-all and she uncovers some sort of sun-cream to lather on when they get to the strand.
Everything, bar the cat, is in the car. Keys in hand, Mary’s checking the car-seats straps, when she hears, ‘Mummy’s going to say them bad words, cause the sky’s started crying really hard again.’