He had appeared from nowhere

Alone I was

‘Are you waiting for da bus?’

a frail old man was standing above me

wailing in Irish

The first thing I noticed was rosary beads

gripped tightly around two hands

like chains

on the soft wrinkly curve between thumb and forefinger on each

was a small tattoo of a faded swallow

I watched the dip and dive of rosary beads

sliding frantically over them

as the stranger who they belonged to told me in a very concerned tone

that a young girl like myself should not be alone on a Sunday morning,

didn’t I know there were rapists and thieves lurking at every corner?

I tore my eyes away from his hands long enough

to take a look around the small peaceful, fishing village

he informed me he was a religious man

and then went on to rant about young men these days

how all they wanted was to rape women

like me

and how there was too much rape in todays society.

 

He gave me directions to a café that I would be safe in until the bus came.

He insisted I went right away.

I did

Laughing to myself

About the amount of crazy Irish men

Roaming about the west coast of Ireland with advice for me

On how to stay safe from the evils of the world

How could I have possibly told them

They need not worry

About a girl like me

Sometimes when I close my eyes

I still see those two swallows dipping

and weaving

in and out

of those rosary beads

And it makes me wonder who God is

and where he has been all this time

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