…I stood by the railings looking at her. Her dress swung as she moved her body, and the soft rope of her hair tossed from side to side.
Every morning I lay on the floor in the front parlour watching her door. The blind was pulled down to within an inch of the sash so that I could not be seen. When she came out on the doorstep my heart leaped. I ran to the hall, seized my books and followed her. I kept her brown figure always in my eye and, when we came near the point at which our ways diverged, I quickened my pace and passed her. This happened morning after morning. I had never spoken to her, except for a few casual words, and yet her name was like a summons to all my foolish blood.
Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings when my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. We walked through the flaring streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop–boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs’ cheeks, the nasal chanting of street–singers, who sang a come–all–you about O’Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles in our native land. These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires.
If you hadn’t already noticed, I’ve been enjoying Joyce’s Dubliners of late. It’s nice to be reading something that isn’t rendered in pixels and accompanied by the hum of a cooling–fan; something bought for a few dollars from a book exchange by an old lover, something pre–loved and pre–scribbled in the margins. It’s nice to relate to characters in a book on a real, human level… something I don’t often do when I’m enjoying fantasy, sci–fi, or psych–thrillers. It’s nice to be reminded of my boyish enthusiasm for love, though I rarely describe myself as a romantic. It’s nice to read. Reading is nice.