Taxicab Duets


Drinks at Kennedy’s with my former classmates turns into a tipsy nighttime walk through City Centre turns into drinks and dancing at 4 Dame Lane. Untiss untiss untiss. Untiss untiss untiss. Talk of our novels, talk of our poetry, talk of our master’s portfolios; of marriage and children and Beckett and Hardy and confessional poets like Plath but not like Plath because Plath was all right, but screw Anne Sexton and her attention-seeking ilk. Untiss untiss untiss. Untiss untiss untiss. Girls in sequin dresses. Men in pointy shoes. A disco ball that spins leopard spot-shaped flecks of light onto the walls, the floor, our faces. And another thing about Hardy… *crash.* White wine and sparkly shards of glass all over the table. Ho, snap. Look what you did. We are drunken writers and we are beautiful.

And then, later, not sure when, I’m danced out – tapped out – and so I say my goodbyes. I weave past the crowds of city folk packed around the entrance of the club, past the neckers and the college boys yakking in shopfronts. My high heels clack on the sidewalk, threaten to stick between cobblestones as I head towards the relative calm of Exchequer Street. The lights shine soft on the buildings. For once, I’m more tired and tipsy than I am stingy. I hail a cab.

He’s a big man, the cabbie. Big grin. Big arms. He says, Where to, miss? I tell him where I live. He says, Where’s that? I say, Just head straight down, past the Grand Canal. You’ll have to turn left on Harcourt Street then loop around. He says, Okay, miss and I sink into the cushions of the backseat. He turns on the radio. It’s a song by Travis – about rain and feeling sorry for yourself. I can’t tell you the last time I heard this song. Years ago. Irish pub waitress days. I like this song. It’s a decent song.

I look out the windows at the bus stops, at Eddie Rockets, Milk+Honey, and @Hell; at the Dubliners making their drunken way home in the dark under soft yellow street lights. I’m tired. I’m tipsy. I’m pensive. I sing along: Why does it always rain on me? I sing quietly to myself like a drunken lullaby, but the cabbie hears me. Then he sings along, too. Together: Is it because I lied when I was seventeen? Why does it always rain on me? Even when the sun is shining, I can’t avoid the lightning. The duet continues through Harcourt Street. The duet continues over the Grand Canal.

And then the song is over.

And then I’m in front of my building.

And then I pay the fare.

Good night, I say. Thank you.

Good night, he says. Thank you, too.

We go our separate ways.

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