The Moomin Tree
By sean mcnulty
I don’t tink God has his eyes on us here in Dundalk so it’s okay for me to sit on dis tree right now. I don’t tink he cares one bit about dis tree. Or de Polo Field. Or de Castletown Road. Or me.
I always sit here on de moomin tree in de Polo Field when I’m mitching off mass. Since me folks started allowing me to go to mass by myself, I’ve always come here. I get up real early about eight am and I say to me mudder and fadder dat I’m going to de early mass. If I’m goin to de early mass, dere’s likely to be less people out and about, less chance of being spotted. Dey must tink by now I’m destined to be a priest when I grow up on account of how devoted I am. But if I’m devoted to annyting, it’s de moomin tree, and sitting on its meaty branch and tinking all me usual thoughts.
De moomin tree is called de moomin tree by me because it reminds me of one of de moomins which is my favourite cartoon. It’s small and chubby compared to all de udder trees. Whenever I watch de moomins, I always tink about de tree. And whenever I see de tree, I tink of de moomins. Doesn’t dat make sense?
De moomin tree is my tree, my very own. Nobody ever goes near it. It’s too small fur climbing high, too hidden away in de far corner of de field to be getting in annyone’s business. So it’s mine. I deem dat by de powers vested. I’ve never told annyone about de moomin tree. Nobody. Not even Dixon or McGurk. Especially not dem actually. For if dey knew I was sitting around by myself on de tree, dey’d probly call me a weerdo. Also: if dey knew I still watched de moomins cartoons, dey’d call me a wee baby. I tink I’ll have to keep me love of de moomins secret for de rest of me life because soon I’ll be in de secondary school and nearly a grown man and yes I now understand completely dat ya have to leave cartoons and tings behind when ya grow up.
A wee burd has landed on the shaggy branch above me, a brown dove. It mustn’t know I’m here. Brown doves are usually too scared to come anywhere near de tree when I’m on it. De titters and coos of de dove are so close to me dat I feel I’m in a world of secrets. No living ting can see or hear me and yet I can see and hear all de world.
For a while dere, it was common when I got home fur my mudder and fadder to ask me what de priest’s sermon was about to check up on me mass attendance – so because of dat I wud have to pop me head in de door of de church at de right time just to grab a few words of it. But now dey don’t ask me. Dey don’t ask a ting actually. Maybe dey’ve given up on it all. Lightened up on de whole mass ting.
Maybe I won’t have to mitch from mass anymore as de years pass and I become a grown man and am allowed to make de decisions for meself. And I won’t have to hide in de moomin tree away from me family and me friends and God. I’d say dat wud be a fine ting but I’ll be slow to say goodbye to the secret world of de moomin tree. Where I can tink me thoughts in peace wit de doves. I suppose I’ll be coming here to de moomin tree even as a grown man when I’m married and have me own family. I’ll have to mitch off and probly lie to me wife about it because if she knows I’m going to de moomin tree to tink my usual thoughts she’ll tink I’m a weerdo and leave me. I’ll have to keep lying until it gets serious and she tinks I’m having an affair and den I’ll have to come right out with it and tell her that all I’ve bin doing is going to de moomin tree to tink me usual thoughts. Oh, I hope to God she believes me.