The Road to Dublin
Cathy Barber

   I don't know this road, and I'd not swear it is the road to Dublin, but I shan't be askin' directions, that be sure.  Michael will be comin' after me, and Papa will, and it's distance I'm needin'.  So tired.  It's a hot, dust-bearing day and my heart is heavy with it.

  But there was nothin' for it.  Monday last Papa cinched it. "You'll marry him and be grateful for the chance of it!"  It was then I keened it and my jaw was firm.  

   "All right, Papa, I'll be puttin' me things in order, makin' a dress and we can be at church Saturday next."

   He'd put his rough hands on me shoulders and told me, ah, he believed it, that it was for the best.  

   Ginger's teets suffered with me milking that morning, with me head a worryin' how to do all that needed doing.

   One shoe in front of the other, that's all there is for it, the only way to Dublin for me, for us.  I'll need be thinkin' of us.  You'll never know your father, that be sure.  Pushed me into the hay, marks on me back and arms.  What he did wasn't worthy to me nor God and now he wins all he wanted.  Papa ready to give me away "for the best."  For the best!

   A cart!  Into the brambles- better to scratch meself to death than be seen.  Lost me shoe!   The cart closer!  My dress torn!  The cart is slowing.  Voices.  Michael's.  Papa's.

   "Brigit, is that you?"

First published: February, 2003