The Quiet Girl - Part 3

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The Quiet Girl
Part Three - And The Birds Make Music
by Andrea Lena DiMaggio


And precious things are dreams onto an exile
They take her o'er the land across the sea
Especially when it happens she's an exile
From that dear lovely Isle of Innisfree.

“They know…Jamie must have told them…the fookin’ bastard.” Shiv looked at him and started to shake. She looked into his eyes and saw a safe, almost fatherly glow; eyes that said, "I know," giving her permission to speak.

“Oh, God, no Mick…nooo...what am I going to do?” she said and burst into tears.

“I don’t know, but it’s going to be okay, whatever you do! It’ll be okay.” He pulled her in and like a father patted her on the back softly.

“It’ll be okay.”

"There, there, kiddo, we'll see this thing through, we will,” Mick said as he held the sobbing girl in his arms.

"I feel so could I ever have thought this would work?" Shiv said as her sobs subsided.

"Not stupid, Shiv, just ill advised," he said with a soft laugh. Shiv laughed softly as she wiped her face with her sleeve. She stepped back and saw that the group of lads had gone. She looked up and down the street. Seeing no one, she breathed a sigh of relief.

"Come on...let's get you some tea." Mick said as he held the cab door open for her. She climbed inside and a moment later they were off.

"Mick Torricelli, good to see you," the tall sandy-haired man behind the counter said. He smiled and looked at Shiv up and down.

"And who might this be, Michaeleen?" He asked as he stepped out from behind the counter.

"Sandy Patterson, meet Siobhan ni Caellach." Mick smiled and nodded once at Sandy. He shook Shiv's hand and ushered them to a table by the window. Smiling, he said,

"I'll be back with some tea for both of you... the blackberry and apple tarts are especially good today!" He walked back behind the counter and through a door and was gone.

" he?" Shiv eyed the doorway suspiciously.

"As ever was! That, my girl is Jamie Patterson's brother." He smiled and looked away, as if he was hiding something.

"What if Jamie comes in here...I know you said, but he's stupid enough...." Shiv turned around and looked out the front window of the restaurant nervously.

"Not to worry, dear one... Jamie and Sandy haven't spoken for quite some time. You might say they don't get along." Mick laughed softly and smiled once again.

"Okay...what gives...what's going on with them?" Shiv asked as she looked back to the doorway. Sandy had a tray with the tea as well as a plate with some pastry.'

"Here you go, dears. Not to worry, this is on the house." Sandy smiled and winked at Mick. Leaning over, he quickly kissed the top of Shiv's head, laughing heartily.

"And here's a blessing for the girl who kicked me brother's arse." Sandy laughed again and Mick joined in. Sandy stooped down on one knee to face Shiv. He smiled and continued.

"You see, dear child, me brother's had a bug up his arse ever since I came out." Sandy looked at Shiv, whose eyes widened in comprehension.

"You mean?" Shiv asked with a puzzled look...which turned to knowing and back to confused.

"That's right...converted to Church of Ireland a few years ago...He still lights a candle for me every Sunday." Sandy looked almost sad until his face broke out with a wide grin. He and Mick began to laugh again, but Shiv didn't get the joke.

"Oh...and I'm gay, too!" Sandy pulled her toward him and kissed her cheek.

"I heard what, change that...that wasn't an brother chose to hurt you, dear one, and I am so sorry that my family had a part of hurting you." He frowned and continued.

"Make no mistake; Jamie can't stand that you're who you are. But that's minor compared to what's really goin' on. He has had it in his head that he was going to marry your cousin Katie, but that's not going to happen...ever!" His last words sounded almost ominous until he laughed softly, wiping his face with his hand.

"I don't think her boyfriend would approve of that, you know? Jamie might end up with a loaded gun to his fookin’ pea-brained head." He smiled and looked at Mick once again. Shiv's eyes followed Sandy's gaze back at Mick. Her face changed from confusion to comprehension to wonder in a second. Mick looked at her and smiled.

"You...and Katie?" Shiv tilted her head to one side and stared at Mick, who simply folded his hands behind his head and said with a proud smile,

"As ever was, kiddo, as ever was!"

Shiv’s expression changed from confusion to anger to a sad pout in a moment. She looked away and then back and said,

“So when were you going to tell me…after court…or maybe never…what the fuck. Mick” She bit her lip as tears came to her eyes once again. Going from independent and confident (maybe) to vulnerable and betrayed hurt bad.

“I’m sorry, lass. I was plannin’ on tellin’ you today, but we sorta got side tracked.” Mick held his arms open as if he were pleading for forgiveness.

“Yeah, right.” Shiv looked away, the tears came quickly now and she was more embarrassed than anything. In one day, all of her defenses, including her sense of self, seem to be eroding, and she felt exposed and naked.

“Listen, kiddo, I am sorry. Katie asked me to keep an eye on you. I was only tryin’ to keep things….lighthearted, but that fookin’ moron decided to go at you.” Mick pled with her.

“So you were goin’ to keep an eye on me, huh…” She folded her arms and looked up at the ceiling, almost pleading for intervention.

“Make sure I don’t get into any trouble. Make sure everything is okay, huh? Well fuck you Mick Torricelli…You don’t have to worry about me…I’ll be alright. And tell my cousin…well…..” Shiv was trying so hard not to cry.

“Katie loves you, Shiv…you have to believe that. She only wanted to make sure you were okay.” Mick paused and put his hand on Shiv’s arm. She tried to pull away, but Mick held fast.

“Let go of me…Mick, let go of me.” It was almost a plea for him to hold on. He grabbed her by both arms and gently turned her to face him.

“Listen, kiddo, you’ve got to let someone inside there. You can’t be fighting battles all the time, especially with people who want to care about you. He smiled at her and continued.

“I don’t know what’s going on inside, but I can tell you for sure that your cousin…your cousins …Katie and Heather, want to be a family for you. They know you don’t have anyone, and now…”

“Don’t say it, Mick…don’t fucking say it.” Shiv pursed her lips and closed her eyes, letting out a deep breath.

“And now that you’re here…they….we want to help.” Mick said. Shiv looked at him and swallowed hard. She put her hand to her face and wiped the tears from her eyes, blinking twice. She shook her head, as if to say, “no one cares.” He took her hands in his, like a father might if he was consoling his daughter after she didn’t get to go to a party.

“It will never be the same, child. “ Mick said. “We can’t turn back the clock and get back what we’ve lost.” Her eyes widened at his words and she shook her head. He read her immediately and continued,

“No, Shiv…not that…You were meant to be who you are right now. Anyone in their right mind can see that. No, I mean your mom…your dad…your grandmother. They’re in a better place right now, and we can’t see that too well ‘cause we’re here…now, with all the crap we’ve got to deal with.

“You don’t understand…nobody understands.” Shiv pled with him, as if to convince him of something…to dissuade his care and concern.

“I know you don’t feel good right now…being beat up and beat down. But we care about you, and the words of a bigot don’t weigh much compared to the weight of family…You’ll find out there’s a lot more on your side than you know.”

“My…my dad…..I’m just like him…a fucking misfit…I don’t belong…I don’t belong there, and I sure as hell don’t belong here. Maybe Jamie was right…” Her voice trailed off as she closed her eyes once again.

“Hang in there kiddo…it’s going to be all right…I promise.” Mick smiled and pulled her closer. He kissed her on the forehead; a blessing from a parent in a way. She gave way to the moment, put her arms around him and sobbed.

“Remember…you’re a Thornton, first, last and always…” He laughed softly. Me, a fookin’ dago tellin’ you what’s what about bein’ a Thornton. Well, here’s another somethin’ for you to think about.” He sounded very serious, almost as if he were going to impart wisdom, which he did.

“Fideli Tuta Merces,” he said. She lifted her head off his shoulder and looked at him; puzzled.

“To the Faithful there is great reward. It’s your family motto.” He smiled.

“What does that mean, Mick? I mean, what does that mean to me? I’m such a fuck up…” Her voice trailed off once again.

“I’m not sure what it means altogether, but in your case, it probably means ‘hang in there, kiddo, things are about to get better.” He smiled and pulled her in for another hug. She gave into the moment and wept again; this time softer and more at peace.

oh then erin grá mo chroí
you're the only one for me
you're the fairest that my eyes did e'er behold
you're the bright star of the west
the land Saint Patrick blessed
you're the dear little isle so far away

The café at the inn was small but accommodating. Mick sat next to Katie and Heather, across from Shiv. There were no other diners; most of the guest preferring to eat out at the local pubs and such for an “authentic” experience. Shiv sat quietly, her arms folded in defense.

“Listen, cuz, I’m sorry. We weren’t tryin’ to keep track of you…we just wanted to make sure you were okay. Mick here is family anyway, so it made sense that he keep you company.” Katie said.

The older of Shiv’s cousin’s, Katie was about thirty, which would put Heather at about Shiv’s age. The two were almost like night and day. While Katie appeared to be confident and secure, Heather was quiet and reserved. They were almost polar opposites in appearance. Katie was raven-haired and strikingly gorgeous. There was almost an elegant aura about her.

Heather would likely be described by some as cute, not plain but almost handsome, as some put it. Her red hair put her almost at odds with her sister, but the appearance and demeanor did nothing to offset or detract from their obvious affection as sisters.

“You have to believe me…well, you don’t have to, but I wish you would. I was going to tell you, honest I was. That fookin’ moron sorta ruined my plan.” Mick pled again. Shiv looked at him and shrugged her shoulders and look sideways, as if to say, “Okay, I believe you; big deal!”

“I’m sorry.” Heather said. She looked down at her coffee cup, almost trying to hide in plain sight. Those two words did more to set Shiv at ease than the rest of the dinner’s conversation. She looked at her cousin and noticed there were tears in her eyes.

“That’s okay,” Shiv said. It really wasn’t okay, but it was like any conversation you may have had when you say something like that to be assuring and positive. Heather looked up and her expression changed from sad to encouraged.

“We never meant to hurt you,” she said. “We” was hardly the right word, since she had cautioned Katie and Mick about being secretive. She wanted to meet Shiv at the train with her sister and Mick, but was almost shouted down.

“I am so sorry,” she said. She put her hand on Shiv’s arm in comfort. Shiv felt awkward. Here she was, sitting with three strangers, in effect. She didn’t know them at all, other than casual conversation, and the meal made her feel so out of place. Heather’s gesture once again put her at ease, but there was also an odd tension; something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.

“I’m sorry, too, and Mick is, too!” Katie said. She smiled and put her hand on Shiv’s other arm. It was almost like being held captive, but for her own good, she thought, which flew in the face of her impulse to get up and run away.

“We should have been honest with you from the start, cuz. I am sorry.” It was clear from the expression on Katie’s face that she actually was sorry. Whatever Shiv had heard about her didn’t seem to fit the person who she sat next to.

“And we have to be honest with you now, dear.” Heather said. Her voice was comforting, like the best friend you ever had, or a close relative. She patted Shiv’s wrist, making her feel even more awkward and uncomfortable.

“There are a few things we need to talk about; that I need to talk about.” Katie looked at Shiv and her expression was almost disarming, but in a gentle way.

“I always knew, dear. And I think I know why Jamie knew.” Katie said. Shiv’s eyes widened, expecting the worst.

“I told Mick, because we were worried about Jamie, but we didn’t know that he knew. Honest!” She looked over at Mick and continued.

“And of course, Heather knew because we’re sisters, you know…we talk about everything and anything.” As soon as the words left her mouth, Katie regretted the expression. Shiv was an only child; actually one of two, her older brother had died as an infant. Katie expected with good cause that would be a sore subject with Shiv.

“I’m sorry, hon.” Katie said without explanation as Shiv nodded in acceptance.

“When you were about five or so, before you and your parents moved to the States….which would have made me about nine or so.” Katie paused for a moment, looking at Shiv to see if she recalled.

“You were sittin’ on the bench in front of the cottage. I had come over to talk to your mum and I found you cryin’ your eyes out.” She looked once again at Shiv, who was biting her lip.

“I asked you why you were cryin’, and you said some boy down the lane pushed you and knocked you down.” She looked at Heather just for support and went on.

“Just then your mum comes out and sees you. She said ‘Hi Katie, what happened.’” Katie looked at Shiv, whose expression was almost in the moment, sad and almost frightened.

“Well, I said to her, ‘he got knocked down by a boy…probably that Patterson boy.’” Shiv’s eyes widened at the mention of the name.

“We never got to talk about what I wanted to ask her, ‘cause she whisked you into the house.” Katie paused and smiled.

“Only time I ever heard your mother curse,” She laughed softly, causing Shiv to smile. Heather patted her on the arm and smiled, which caused Shiv to tense up.

“I never got to talk to your mum again, ever.” She looked away and tears began to well in her eyes. In a moment, only Mick remained dry eyed.

“What was so important that you needed to talk to my mom?” Shiv asked. Katie wiped her own tears with a tissue and continued.

“Mum and Dad never got along….always fighting. Grandma Tillane told me one time that the streams and rivers are magical places…spiritual places…that people would leave somethin’ important there as a token, like a trusty pocket knife or a ring, maybe almost like a prayer.” Shiv’s attention grew as Katie went on.

“Mum was cleanin’ the stove one day just around the time you folks left for the States. Around that time that Jamie bullied you. She took off her wedding ring and laid it on the window sill to keep it safe…” As Katie spoke, Shiv put her hand in her jeans pocket and grasped the ring, almost like Frodo in Lord of the Rings…”my precious.” She thought.

“I walked over to your farm, and that’s when I saw you on the bench cryin’. After your mom took you inside, I went down the hill, climbed over the wall, and buried the ring in the bank of the stream.

“So you buried it, hoping for?” Mick asked. He’d heard the story recently, but Katie had not told him or Heather why she buried the ring.

“She buried it ‘cause she hoped that she’d gain favor and mum and Dad would stop fightin’ yes?” Heather looked at her sister with a half-smile, her own eyes still filled with tears.

“It worked…just not like I thought it would,” Katie said. “They split up. Right before Christmas!” Katie was almost in the moment. “They never fought again…Daddy would come over every Sunday for dinner, and we ate as if we were still together. Every Sunday until Daddy died.” Katie put her hand to her face.

“What she’s tryin’ to say, Shiv, is that the ring is special; not just to us…not just because it was part of our family. It came to you because you were meant to have it; which means it’s special to you, just like the farm is special to all of us. It’s a part of both of our families’ heritages. We’re joined at the hip, as they say, cuz, and we are linked for a reason; a reason that goes beyond either of our families.” Heather touched Shiv’s arm once again, making Shiv feel all the more uncomfortable.

Shiv pulled her arm back and thrust her hand into her other pocket. She looked as uncomfortable as she felt, but would grow even more uncomfortable.

“There’s one more thing we have to tell you…somthin’ we’ve only known for a little while.” Katie said as she pulled an old piece of paper out of her purse.

“Grandpa Will married Grandma Sarah late in life…just like your grandfather married your grandmother, aye?” It was more of a statement than a question.

“He was fifty-seven and she was forty-eight; it was too late for them to have children.” She handed the paper to Shiv who unfolded. Shiv began to read aloud,

“Patrick William McCarthy…Who’s Patrick McCarthy?” Shiv asked. She looked at Heather who looked back at Katie.

“Keep readin’,” Katie said... hereby named Patrick William Dannaher. I don’t get it. What’s Udactas Uctala na h Eireann…what does that mean?” Shiv asked. She knew only the little Gaelige that her grandmother taught her.

“The Adoption Agency of Ireland,” Mick said with a soft laugh, evoking a cold stare from both Katie and Heather.

“What does that mean? Is that Uncle Paddy…is that your dad?” Shiv asked.

“It means, dear cousin,” Heather said with a smile, “We’re not related.” With that she touched Shiv’s arm one final time. In trying to pull her arm away, Shiv jerked sideways. A leg on the chair snapped and she fell over and hit her head, and everything went black.
Next: Tho' Dreams Are Not Forgotten

Erin Gra Mo Chroi
(Ireland Of My Heart)
Listed as Traditional
As performed by Dervish
The Isle of Innis Free
Words and Music by Dick Farrelly
as performed by Celtic Woman