IF you have a tattoo, you’ll know that 13 is a good number. But in the world of the superstitious, it’s associated with bad luck.
One annoyingly superstitious person in my life was Eimear. If she was still alive, she would have been thirty three this week. She was afraid of the dark, dogs, wasps, magpies, ladders and pavement cracks.
She would have put your head away with her daft sayings. If she caught sight of a magpie she would have said “here, break my sorrows” and I used to have to let go of whatever I was holding to uncross her fingers. Then there was “don’t split the post”, with both of us wheeling prams, she wanted us to fall into single file as we passed an offending bollard.
When I see magpies and bollards, I think of her. I even set out to wind her up when we were nowhere near each other.
Her big voice distinguished her from all the rest. If Eimear was in the building, you knew about it. The offensive swearing and always making me hit a redner because she changed herself for nobody and didn’t give two shites whose company she was in. If she wanted to say something, she said it. I was always a bit more reserved and didn’t swear in front of parents or pensioners. Eimear went for it full tilt. But everyone took her as she was and she got away with it.
My Da, the professional laminate sign maker in the Roddies used to put warnings up in the booths we sat in. The signs read “Obscene language will not be tolerated”. Apparently the barmen did not appreciate being called C U Next Tuesday’s when the Blue WKD ran out. When we went out twice a week, usually the drunker we were, the louder we got and it didn’t go down well in a conservative men’s club.
We had a routine on a Thursday night. Up to the club, sit in the games room and talk to everyone we knew, gather a squad and head down to Thompsons hip hop night, put £10 down one of Eimear’s boots for the taxi home, we drank, danced and took the piss out of anyone that dared come near us, walked up to Esperantos or Desperantos as we called it, we’d sit on the steps at the end of our street eating our kebabs, smoking and talking about our waster baby Daddies until about three in the morning and then got up for work the next day. We were not the worst Ma’s in the world, we weren’t the best either. But we were Jeremy Kyle material.
We both grew up a bit more and I moved out of Lenadoon and across the border into Turf Lodge. I got a new build house and went to college for a few years. She stayed up the road and was offered a new house in Derryveagh. She was reluctant to take it because the door number was 13. Her offer letter was greeted with a big “Ah fer fucks sake”.
This week has been shite because I’ve thought about all the birthdays we went out for. Her twenty-first will stick with me forever because we told each other stuff that night that makes everything fall into place. It was a night full of fun but great sadness. Just like life itself, you’ll have the good and the bad, it’s just the way you look at it that makes the difference.