"The celebration continued late into the night, filled with dancing, drinking, and conversation. Johnnie and Mary bounced between tables with merry talk and entertaining all.
They were easy to love because of their love and enjoyment in each other. I could always discern when a couple delighted in the other’s company, touched by their affection, taking fond pleasure in that sacred covenant. I hoped that for the newly weds. I prayed that for myself.
I lost faith that I would ever meet the fiddler. Or was it singer? Mary seemed to have forgotten the promised meeting, but I was not overly disappointed, encouraged by the exciting mood, and accustomed to small disappointments, especially romantic ones that I lacked the courage to pursue on my own. My emotional pliability was a welcome new feature upon arriving in Ireland and changed as regularly as the scenery. The air here did not weigh on my soul, as the heavy financial and working pressure across the Atlantic.
I rested, relaxing on my elbows, at our original table, focused on the lively Irish crowd.
“To chance upon her meeting, I would gladly stay. This feeling be not fleeting, I do happily pray.”
The nearness of the voice startled me, but only as much as its familiarity would allow. The fiddler had successfully snuck behind me while the party dulled my sense of awareness. The purple dress was still seamless and without crease, a miracle at such events. Her braids remained tucked and cinched in their place, eyes dark and dazzling in the warm light, and that lovely lock dangling over her satin cheek wisped around her words.
A lump grew in my throat that I could not swallow, although I tried mightily. Here she was and my nervous excitement threatened to suffocate me before I could speak. She glided over the grass like a mythical beauty and sat in the seat next to me, smiling. We were the only two at the table. I guzzled the rest of my wine.
“I’m Maggie. Johnnie tells me you have a mind for staying and you need friends,” she said.
“No. Well, yes, I may stay, but I don’t need friends. I mean, I don’t mind friends, but I’m not searching for friends. I love new friends, but I don’t go looking for friends. I believe friends are made organically.”
She giggled at my fumbling with thoughts. “Are looking or searching not organic activities?” - From Gifts and Other Tales, Oh Maggie