She was a rough old night just like the day and like most before. It was beyond me, what had I done? It was oh so simple before, before I had control I directed the way it happened it was all about me, who else? So I suppose it was Annie’s fault and her Uncle’s, he was the one that got us all excited, filling us up with dreams, his dreams, us being me and Annie.
I don’t remember the day or time, I know it was dark so it could have been late at night or a new dark day, I remember that’s when I left. I can’t to this very day remember how I and Annie ever got to England, I vaguely remember a train ride, but trains don’t cross water so how did we get from Belfast to Southampton?
I do remember its size and colour, she was lime green and ugly, and the biggest boat I had ever seen. I remember Annie saying how its colour melded with the pea green sea water and how she pointed to the upper deck with excitement her wide green eyes full of hope and wonder.
“We’ll be up there, on the top deck Danny, with all them there rich people”.
Annie was disappointed as I was, we weren’t up there and there were no well to do’s, we were below port hole level and separated, husband and wife, men and women don’t sleep together on this ship, not on an immigration ship, meal times you have the right to mix.
I remember his words, the Captain’s welcome on board lecture.
I loved Annie, she was my world, and she said I was hers. Our worlds were very different even though we loved in the same city and not so far apart, three bus changes took me to her door and the bus terminal, the service went no further. At the beginning I thought she lived way out in the country but in reality it was just a thirty five minute trip, my love lived amongst the orange, I lived amongst the green a thirty five minute trip to trouble on most occasions.
So the best way to keep our love alive was to meet well away from each other’s colours, this we did every Saturday night at Miss Everson’s school of dancing for young ladies. Free from budding pupils on the weekends, Miss Everson’s chalk covered floor boards saw a different Tango. A new hip band belted out their latest remake of a famous remake, a solo folk singer or just plain old records. Above a shoe shop and a big Woolworths we danced the night away and on some occasions the morning away. Mostly it was around ten thirty when we left to catch Annie’s last bus, and if by chance we did dance our love into the next morning it was a long walk. I walked Annie home then I walked myself home and crept into my bed as quietly as possible hoping not to annoy my older brother who snored in the same small room as me. Mick had five some years on me, he was at the time 24 and full of it, he was also the favourite, the first born the heir apparent and a tell- tale, so quietness was crucial to save the next morning’s interrogation by a father who usually didn’t accept a young lad answering back, especially if older brother had got in first, like. “It was three o’clock when he got in Daddy.”