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Showing posts from March, 2013

miss valentine

Tucker Tom walked my brother and me the mile and a half to school for according to Ma, we couldn’t be trusted, and besides, the civil unrest in Northern Ireland –what we called ‘The Troubles’– was two years old and about to enter a prolific period of murder and violence. Two years was enough for most people to be already accustomed to The Troubles, and most kids our age –me five, my brother six– didn’t have a Tucker Tom to walk them to school, no bodyguards or bullet-stoppers, but ours was more evidence of Ma’s attempts to wrap us in cotton wool away from the absurd reality that was ready to ambush us.

Although he was only a few years our senior, Tucker Tom looked much older. The sides of his face sagged, but his head was shaped like a trophy with cow-like lugs for handles that made me just want to grab one in each hand and lift his head aloft in celebration. He had innocent rose cheeks and hair that stood astonished like the bristles of a toilet brush. He came from a family of cons…