Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Scattered to the Four Winds
Last through the front door, Conor caught Jack and Siobhan sneaking hand-in-hand up the stairs.
‘Hey, where’d do you think you two are going? Front room for a nightcap. We’ll be scattered to the four winds from tomorrow.’ He looked at his watch. ‘Today.’
The two lovebirds descended reluctantly and ducked into the lounge. The other five house mates were already slouched on the two tatty sofas and two threadbare armchairs.
‘Sarah, see if you can find some candles, will you?’ Conor instructed a waif-like young woman dressed from head-to-toe in white.
‘What for?’ she answered, half-heartedly.
‘Atmosphere. With this lighting we could be sitting in a supermarket. I’ll get the drinks.’
He disappeared through a door into a messy kitchen.
‘Put some toast on, while you’re in there,’ Sean shouted through.
‘You’re like an empty pit,’ Jack said, dropping two slices of thick white bread into the toaster. He retrieved a tray from on top of the kitchen presses and on it placed an odd assortment of glasses.
Back in the lounge the lights were off, the room lit by four candles. Somebody had put on some trance-like, electronic mood music.
Conor slid the tray onto a coffee table, nudging a pile of magazines to the floor. He reached in behind the television and withdrew a bottle.
‘Whiskey?’ Jack said.
‘Powers. Gold label. I’ve been saving it.’
‘You bought it last week!’
‘As I said, I’ve been saving it.’
‘Come-on, Conor, how old are we?’ Charlie asked. ‘Sixty? Sitting around supping whiskey like we’re auld fellas.’
‘For god’s sake, Charlie, you don’t have to be an auld wan to enjoy a drop of the golden elixir. And sitting round swapping stories, taking a wee drop, is part of our DNA. What makes us, us.’
‘You’re a sentimental fool, Conor,’ Aine said.
‘Look, this is our last day together. Jack and Siobhan are heading to Sydney tomorrow night. Brenda’s heading over to London next week. Charlie and Sean are off to Alberta in a month’s time. This is last time we’ll be together in a long while. That deserves a toast and the telling of yarns.’
‘Toast? My flippin’ toast!’ Sean dug himself out of the armchair and headed for the kitchen.
‘Sean, forget the toast! Get back here.’
‘Just give me a minute. We’ve got the rest of the night, haven’t we? Besides, it’s not good to drink on an empty stomach.’
They waited in silence until the big man returned, Conor passing out the glasses.
‘Right then,’ Conor raised his tumbler. ‘To us, to supping whiskey and telling yarns, to the four winds and the future.’
‘To us,’ the others chorused, clinking glasses.