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Keiran Goddard| A Season for Every Activity

Colm steps off the train and into the flow of the city, into the shuffling and the sighing and the speed. Past stops for buses he will never catch again, past a remembrance garden for a war he knows nothing about. There are three old lads on the bench near its entrance, relaying a bottle between them, all of them in hats but only two of them in shoes.

Colm wonders if they fought in the war he knows nothing about. One of them nods to Colm as he passes. Colm thinks it must have been his mourning suit that drew his eye. Old lads know how to mourn.

Colm has a few hours to kill before the funeral officially starts, but wants to make sure the church is still where he remembers it. He can’t risk being late. He has got less confident with the city over the years, fewer reasons to return, and more changes every time.

Not yet forty but already starting to feel like things are moving too fast for him to keep up. The buildings in the centre all seem to be made of that blue-green glass now, like those expensive bottles of coke that people always say taste better. Colm had never been able to tell the difference. And he preferred cans anyway, they always seemed colder.

Colm thinks he never used to be nervous like this. As though his factory settings were wrong, as though he is always a beat behind. He is sure he used to move through this city quick and light and easy. The way insects move through rain, all instinct, never letting a drop hit their wings or slow them down.

that’s the thing about the rain, Colm, it’s just the clouds giving up and falling apart for a few minutes…

no need to let it get you down, son, clouds need their rest too.

The church is right where Colm remembers it, looking smaller now against the office blocks, but otherwise just like the picture he had been holding in his head all these years. There are a few foil balloons floating


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