Sorcha Sheehy Williams is a graduate of University College Dublin where she completed a joint majors in Linguistics and Philosophy. She went on to complete a Certificate of English Language Teaching in Alpha College Dublin before spending the summer of 2015 teaching English as a foreign language in Dublin. She went on to spent 6 months teaching English as a foreign language in Madrid and currently lives in west Cork.
By Sorcha Sheehy Williams
“Yes please again!!”
“You know it’ll be the fourth time this week, Monkey?”
Jamie’s grin is goofy and sheepish, full of nubs of white new teeth. Blankets tucked comically up to his ears, face aglow from his bedside lamp. He knows I will say yes. He knows I like this one too.
“Ok, comfy?” I ask as I walk over to the bookshelf, remembering where I’d left it.
I sit cross-legged at the foot of the bed and open the book on my lap. Jamie closes his eyes, still smiling.
Later, lying in my own bed in the dark, I think about what I’ll say to Richard when he comes in. If he does. I’ll ask about his day and tell him about mine. I’ll tell him about the story and laugh about how Jamie can’t get enough of it. He won’t know the book so I’ll have to tell him about it.
It’s about a little girl whose mood controls the weather, I’ll start. When she’s happy the weather is good, and vice versa. She’s a nice, happy girl so everyone in the village likes her and the positive influence she has on the weather. However, the richest, most powerful man in the village is bothered about this power he cannot wield. He owns a lot of farmland, and needs the weather to be good for it to prosper. So, to be able to keep watch over her happiness, he organises it that his son will marry the girl when they’re older. However, the girl loves another boy, a gardener’s son, and wants to be with him.
Richard is interested in the story in my imagined future. As I tell the story to him he’ll close his eyes and fall asleep beside me, just like Jamie did. In the dark I wind a strand of hair around my finger. I keep telling the story in my head. I have the sensation that, as if I were casting a spell, as soon as I finish Richard will come home, his keys cracking open the squeaky front door, bringing the smoky smell of night in with him.
Anyway, I’ll continue, the girl grows up and is still in love with the gardener’s son. The rich son, following his father’s wishes, still wants her to be his, so he keeps courting her, trying to win her heart. She becomes more and more unhappy at this unwanted attention, so much that it rains for weeks and the village starts to flood. At this point the rich man decides that she should just be with the gardener’s son, that his own son clearly will never make her happy. However, the rich man’s son is furious that she has kept turning him down so he refuses to take no for an answer. In a fit of jealous rage he slaughters the gardener’s son. When the girl finds out a dreadful storm blows over the village. Her friends and family try to console her but the winds keep howling and the rains keep raging down. Just before the entire village is torn to pieces by the tempest, a bolt of lightning comes down and kills the girl. When she dies, the storm starts to clear. The story ends by saying that in that village, even today, whenever there is a thunderstorm you can see the girls face in the clouds, and if you could look into the sun, you would see her laughing.
I lie motionless in the dark of the bedroom. Richard has still not come home. No smoky night smell, or other smells either. This is probably a night like the others where he won’t return; the fourth this week. I listen to the quiet house, listen to find out if Jamie is awake and making noise; a habit of mine from when he was a baby. No sound at all apart from distant traffic from the motorway. I listen to that for a while too, then to nothing at all. Richard would like the story. I turn over onto my stomach and try to make my breathing slow and deep so that sleep would come. My arms by my side, cold hands touching warm thighs. Maybe I’ll be able to tell it to him tomorrow, I think. I’ll tell him about it all tomorrow.