CC 112: Those Two Warriors
By sean mcnulty
The breeze was nice as we were leaving, and its kindliness persuaded me to shake off my reluctance to end our latent tryst. Best to put it behind me with all the other reluctances. The breeze and the quiet and the satisfaction of simply talking and now just walking and breathing made me want to do away with all those fears of contest I’d troubled myself with for so long. I followed Emer down the winding path of the motte with my head held higher than I’d held it in donkey’s years, but my neck ached not half a minute later, and I was back to my normal dipped and buckled figure once more. She meanwhile maintained her proud stride and her boots made those trooper noises in the leaves again. She had no need or use for this bromide notion of a man I’d sought to invest in when all was said and done. Cut your losses.
I had a guilty pleasure and that was the film The Bodyguard with Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. In the film, Kevin is hired to protect a famous pop star played by Whitney. He does so. And she sings songs. I could never tell anyone, let alone Emer, that I liked it. She would have kept it as ammunition for later attacks on my skittish manhood. But she wouldn’t have realised that I was watching it for manhood inspiration. Sure, I had all my kung-fu classics to avail of whenever I wanted, but there was something about this one, The Bodyguard, this soppy formulaic yarn, that grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. What attracted me to the film was the idea of being the bodyguard. I imagined Emer was Whitney, and I was Kevin, and all the rest of the film happened the way it always happened whenever people watched it except it was us two and not those two. I tried to hide this guilty pleasure from her. When she was at work, that’s when I’d usually take the DVD out and have a watch. I was well aware of my clandestine actions, but knew of other husbands who did far worse, and you had to agree it wasn’t that bad unless you were someone with a deep moral objection to The Bodyguard. Like other husbands out there, I was shrewd in my treachery. After I was done with the DVD, I’d put it back in its place with slow rigorous precision. But if I’d employed every trick of the trade, I still wouldn’t have got away with it because, as was par for the course, she eventually found me out.
‘Have you been watching my Bodyguard DVD?’ she asked one day.
‘No,’ I said.
‘You have. I know you have.’
‘I swear to God. I haven’t.’
‘Don’t lie to me now.’
‘Why would I lie to you about it? Why would I be watching some shite like that?’
‘Let me see your hands.’
‘Let me see them.’
‘This is crazy.’
‘Just show me.’
That was the day Emer matched my fingerprints to the smudge marks she’d found on The Bodyguard disc. I’d been as careful as I could to hide any sign that I’d been watching it, but I hadn’t counted on the strength of her forensic abilities. It wasn’t something we discussed before marriage or anything. But her skills were revealed that day.
I was no bodyguard. I was no Cuchullain. I was no Kevin Costner. I’d lived with it long enough, so there was no point in crying about it anymore.
As we reached the leafy path leading to the front gates with Cuchullain’s grey keep getting smaller behind us, I thought of our marriage as a legend they would talk about in the pubs of the future when a fuse was blown, or if they had no internet; or it would come out when some lonely old man had told every story there was to be told already and the only way to make his listener stay for one more drink was to unveil the legend of our marriage.
I wondered again about Da McNamee. If his Cooley Parallax really did exist somewhere out there. I wondered what he might have said in it about the great warrior and his woman.
Bolting out the door she ran bringing all that had blossomed with her and the warrior stood alone with the bristles and thorns in his fort of thorns where nothing more would blossom and nothing more would be born and gone were the roses but the wine remained in jugs that whispered of sins amongst themselves whilst a dried fish upon the table ogled oblivion and oblivion ogled back for all that blooms eventually lops slops and flops he knew that so the warrior put the blade to his heart and pressed and pressed more but then renounced the tale or how it had been told for eternity as they had told it in his favour and the Hound of Ulster would never lose his queen in that tale for that tale would have been pretty shitty and he remembered the wine and eternity agreed it was time for a change with so many splints and sharp things on the floor he removed his shoes and danced until the blood poured oh so sore it was but the warrior would rather that than the hordes upon him now as he wasn’t in the mood to sever the limbs of vile gowls with their unworthy steel so instead danced on and on and on he bled