The Boat Trip 3
After hearing so much about him, Eímear finally met Dónal Cotter for the first time that Sunday morning on board the skiff. The fellow was so huge he eclipsed the tiny Róisín. After a few minutes of awkward three-way conversation as they left the harbour, Dónal and Róisín excused themselves and stood near the bow, eyes shielded against the brightness, while he pointed out to her the island his family came from.
From where she sat Eímear could see the pair but not hear what they said. Watching Róisín, Eímear noted how bright her eyes had become, how animated her face. She was beautiful. For the first time Eímear entertained the possibility that perhaps Róisín would not be moving to Cork city with her after all.
The wind carried back a hint of familiar perfume. Nola, sitting nearby, also picked up the lavender scent.
‘I’d say Róisín has borrowed your perfume,’ she said.
‘Well, she hasn’t.’ Eímear remembered that she and Róisín had each bought a bottle of the same scent when they went to the church bazaar.
‘How do you know?’
‘I just do.’
Her sister’s presence enraged Eímear; it was Mam who insisted Nola come along on the boat trip too, for her birthday. She felt spied upon with Nola tagging after her.
‘She might have borrowed it without asking,’ Nola said.
‘Róisín is my best friend. She wouldn’t borrow one iota from me without asking. In fact, the one person I know who does that is: well, guess who?’
‘Why, you, of course.’
‘A nice thing to say. On my birthday, too.’
Nola turned her face to the islands like Róisín and her young man, so her sister would not see the fat tears in her eyes. She forced herself to think of something else: to just watch the islands swim by. Some were so small they were just rounded humps of rock with green seaweedy backs, looking for all the world like undersea creatures that had popped up to the surface for a breath of air, and would soon be swimming beneath the waves once more.