Irish Central arts editor Cahir O’Doherty grew up in Ireland’s northernmost and rural County Donegal. Today he’s written a mournful recounting of the time that a Catholic school teacher, sensing that something was troubling her teenaged pupil, asked him if he was OK. An excerpt:
One moment of naked honesty would have made the whole town collapse like a painted backdrop in a pantomime, to be replaced by a hard vision of where we actually were, and who we really were to each other. So she never knew how close she came. I never knew if it would have helped me. We could both see the problem, but we knew we couldn’t say it, not if we wanted to go on. I left her class without another word and she never asked me how I was again. But I still sometimes think of that searching look on her face. I think it of it when I think of the scattershot damage that intolerance does. There was never a chance of her doing any good. This Friday, May 22 the Irish people are being asked to finally break a centuries long, murderous silence in the marriage referendum – and to do some good. I really don’t know if they will. What I do know is that if they vote to maintain that old murderous silence many thousands of other 15-year-old Irish teens will suffer needlessly and silently at the moment in life when they are least equipped to handle it. Many will buckle under the weight of it. It’s your choice.
Cahir is a JMG reader. Hit the link for his full essay.