Sunday, 13 October 2019
A teaser from October 1956 - a much younger Dolly learns about running an hotel.
Dolly was cleaning room eleven when she found the box in the bedside locker. She recognised the name printed on the side from hearing it whispered in the bar, and knew the content’s purpose immediately. The box went straight into the wastebasket carried from room to room and slid beneath the jumble of empty shampoo sachets, bits of cotton wool, train and cinema tickets, and the long blue wrapper from a bandage (as well as the old bandage) left by the woman in room six.
“I’ve lived and worked in England for nine years,” the man who’d occupied the room for four nights had told her as he’d settled his bill.
“In Ballyliffin County Donegal, my fiancé has waited these six years. A model of Irish womanhood. The house her father and brothers built for us has stood forlorn for nearly four years. It needs a woman’s touch and the patter of tiny feet.”
Dolly was tucking in the bottom sheet when she recalled him even earlier, at breakfast, tucking into his rashers and eggs, and being just as florid in describing his fiancé’s nut-brown hair and comely figure to another guest. Had he already abandoned his condoms by then? Or had he waited till he returned to the room to collect his suitcase? A symbolic marker between his temporary existence in Birmingham and his real life in Donegal? Legal in England, an offence in Ireland, but sinful everywhere.
Super Patron Paperback