At Cobh Port a final clutch. A wild-eyed terrified cheerio over the canvas tensa-barrier. SECO. Ordinarily a terse gruff man. Little truck with humanity and only a bark for his battalion of Gherkins. I signed off earlier that day with the crew box-office. Relinquished my Bit Of Plastic. My badgengun. Twelve Years. Like Starskey & Hutch, that episode where they throw their badges into the sea. Seco was the sort of man who was disinterested in everything, disinclined towards anything. Ex-copper. Missed nothing. He produced my laminex from his crisp pressed top pocket. With a look gravely gave me it. He knew it was the last time. He had guessed it would be just me and him on that black Queenstown jetty at midnight. He had put it in his crisp pressed pocket for me. As Artemis started her engines and I turned myself towards a bleak hotel room I relied upon that strange and lovely kindness to propell me up the quay.
In Cobh harbour she looks back to Ireland then boards the Nevada for the New World. 1892, the first immigrant to be processed through Elllis Island. New York City award her a gold ten dollar coin and eventually two bronze statues. In Ellis Island she stands alone, hanging on to her hat. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Queens in 1924 alongside half her children. Of eleven, five made it to adulthood.
Her fo'c'scle dark below me. She slips her ropes. At midnight they ease her off the quay. The band plays on; there is a party on deck. I stare at her until her lights go out then stay in the room for two days. Locked in the present. Both the past and the future are too awful to contemplate.
Cobh waterfront June 2007