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Patrick O’Conner’s Vision
Patrick O’Conner was going home to Cork on the ferry from Swansea on a night crossing when his vision occurred. He’d found a place to sleep at the back of the stairs that lead from the deck where the Duty Free shop is up to the Cafeteria. It was drafty but it was out of the way of too much light and the loudspeakers blaring instructions.
Patrick’s old bones were aching from sleeping on the floor, even though he had chosen a place with carpet. So he had only been slumbering fitfully when some slight noise nearby woke him. In the half daze that comes on you in the middle of sleep he looked and saw a young she angel kneeling near his feet nursing a baby at her breast. Her beauty struck Patrick and he thought she looked like a shy, anxious fawn, hiding away from public gaze. He mumbled to her that she could share his space but she didn’t reply, and Patrick noticed the lovely shape of her, and her wonderful blonde hair. Her breasts were full and revealed by a tight red cotton shirt. Her legs, from his place on the floor, appeared long and slim in the jeans she was wearing.
When the need to empty his bladder next woke Patrick, his visionary angel had gone. But wandering unsteadily along the swaying deck to the toilet he saw a short girl with matted blonde hair and wearing boots who was carrying a baby. Could this be the same girl? Patrick felt she had a look about her suggesting she might be able to leave open wounds with words alone. In his half daze and slight dizzyness from the swaying of the SuperFerry he wondered whether it could be possible for a person to have a soul looking amazingly different from their body. Maybe she was some sort of angel disguised as this five-foot dropout with matted blonde hair.
It intrigued Patrick enough for him to follow her and watch to see if she changed back into his vision at any point. When the ferry docked at Cork he continued his surveillance. The girl, for that’s all she was, probably less than eighteen, eventually turned to face him. “Is it something your on old man?” she asked. When Patrick simply shook his head, she said, “Then what is it you’re after?”
Without guile Patrick said, “I’m after knowing if you’re an angel who knelt by the stairs while I slept?”
This seemed to make her nervous for, as it turned out, her name was Angie. Some friends mocking her when she became pregnant and deserted by her young lover had called her Angel Arse. Rejected by her good Catholic family for being an unmarried mother she had been sleeping wherever she could find an open door. That was how Patrick came to offer her shelter in his small home in Bantry.
Rumour spread through the little town that Patrick only took her in so he could roast her tender little lamb-chops on his spit. Or at least that’s the way the chef at Villiers restaurant put it. Other people said it was disgusting that a man of his age should take-up with a young girl like that. But such people didn’t know about Patrick’s vision. They hadn’t seen Angie looking like a young holy fawn sheltering her baby, with shining hair and body like a sweet goddess.
There was some confusion in the town though. Terraced houses in a small town are never very private. And what’s wrong with being interested in your neighbours after all?
So on occasion Patrick’s voice had been heard crying out in a wonderful vibrant and full way, “Oh God! Oh God!” And Angie’s voice had been in there too in a weeping laughing way calling, “Oh Jesus Patrick. Oh Jesus!” So there was uncertainty about whether the sweet lamb chops were on the spit, or whether the passion was religious.
Whatever may have been the case, the gulf of differences that separated Angie and Patrick were certainly bridged in some way. And after all, they both loved the baby.