I died again in Dublin. It was the land of his heritage, a fact I couldn’t ignore when the cab driver asked me what I was doing in Europe. So many people had been asking me that lately that I almost had the abridged answer down pat.
“Well I came to Europe for a man. He said he would meet me when he was done traveling to shitty parts of the earth, but then he didn’t.”
“How long were you together then?”
“It’s a bit weird, innit?” the cab driver offered. “How come he didn’t come to Dublin? All Irish Americans love comin’ ere.”
“He’s half Jewish.”
“There it is then. He woulda had you countin’ pennies if you’d married ‘im.” It was a minor consolation. And humorous to me considering that Patrick would rather become a eunuch than get married.
Dublin was filled with jolly people, friendlier than most other populations I had encountered on the continent. It could have been because they were drunk most of the time. Or it could have been because of all the greenery. Whatever the reason, I didn’t feel as lonely in this city as I had in others. Until I found myself drinking in the corner of a pub, thinking about what it would have been like to come here with Patrick. Every last red-faced Irishman seemed to look like him. It was then I started to wish that Dublin wasn’t the cheapest city to fly to from my last destination. I was killing time as I got back to America. In fact, most of my 2016 had started to feel a lot like the as of yet unproduced screenplay I would need to pen, Escape From Europe. I just wanted to get the fuck out of this goddamn place. But certain extenuating circumstances had prompted me to continue on the unwanted journey. Mainly, I was due to meet a friend, then possibly Patrick after. Again, I was wasting time on someone who possessed the steely demeanor of a sociopath. I could have cut myself open in front of him and he still would have found a way to eschew culpability. But it was my error more than anything. For trusting, for allowing myself to open my heart to anyone when every piece of literature teaches us from an early age that this will result in catastrophe. Dublin, at least, had one man to offer that could never disappoint me: Wilde. I went to his monument on the first day, sat there for a while and wondered if only gays were capable of not hurting me. Then I remembered how bluntly they criticized one out of place eyebrow hair.
As everyone had warned me, it only takes about three days to fully see most of Dublin, which is how I found myself indulging at a nail salon called, not so inventively, Fifth Avenue. As the nail technician massaged my hand, she asked me, “What are you doing here?”
Again, I gave my now firmly memorized stock response, “Well I came to Europe for a man. He said he would meet me when he was done traveling to shitty parts of the earth, but then he didn’t.”
She raised her eyebrow. “What does he plan to do after he’s done traveling?”
“Live with his parents.”
“Are they sick?”
Everyone of sound body and mind seemed to see reason. But Patrick had so long convinced me that he was some sort of above it all god that I had doubted myself, been certain that he knew what the fuck he was doing. He didn’t know a fucking thing, other than the artful practice of opportunism and evasion. The nail technician, from Lithuania and therefore a bad bitch, offered, “Maybe he is sad about something. People who travel all the time, they are looking for something that cannot be found. Or perhaps he needs to realize that the more you travel, the more you see that people everywhere are the same.” She exuded calm wisdom as she filed my middle finger nail into a square.
I left Fifth Avenue feeling as though I had been given a therapy session, and needed more in the form of a pint. Despite popular belief, many Dubliners work and/or go to school at Trinity College, which is how I found myself the only one at O’Reilly’s (yes, that stereotypical of a name) in the middle of the day. Thus, the bartender got to questioning me about what I was doing here. Because of the setting, I felt confident about delving deeper into the explanation.
“So he left you waitin’ all those months for nothin’?” the bartender remarked, followed by a low whistle.
I defended Patrick, insisting, “It’s my fault, I shouldn’t have made a life decision based on someone else.”
“If you’d been with him for three months I’d say so, but three years. Jesus. He could have at least broken up wit ya before he left.”
“I’ve had time to grieve. I’m fine now,” I hiccupped.
It was then I floated up outside of my body and saw how I looked. Consumed by the sorrow inflicted by someone who was, for all intents and purposes, the scum of the earth. What kind of fucking psychopath turns his back on love? So rare, so nearly unattainable. A connection of any worth is almost impossible to come by. Unless you count the ones you might pay for on the corner. And I was letting him define my entire existence and I couldn’t seem to stop, to control the perpetual knot of agony that was lodged in my stomach. I was a cartoon of my former self. I had worn the pain so overtly as chainmail for so many months now that I didn’t know how to take it off. The only plus side of being in a foreign country was that I had a fresh new audience to tell my tale of woe to.
On my last day in the city, I went to see a Yeats exhibit. It was there I saw the quote that changed me: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” According to Yeats, this made Patrick the best and me the worst. If I could shed the passion I had so long harbored for him—passions based on love, sadness and rage—I could beat him at his own nonplussed game. For so long, I wanted to bomb myself in front of him just to get any kind of reaction. But the better bomb would be to move on, to expunge him from my memories. To not think of him as a motherfucker, but as no one. And so, I won’t be returning to Dublin once I escape this xenophobic land mass they call Europe. It gave me all it will ever be able to.