* * *
Nora went back to her rigid routine. Conor breezed through the house in his own little world, while his mother went on auto-pilot. Making lunches, washing the clothes, making the dinner, brushing the floor, making lunches.
The door bell rang.
Nora looked at it slack-jawed. It made her realise that she hadn’t heard the door bell in weeks. Nobody had called to the house in all that time; and while she was chewing over that weird fact the door bell rang again.
“Howdy Nora” said Sergeant Moroney as pulled open the front door.
“Sergeant Moroney!” She said, sound more surprised than she wanted to. “Come on in”.
He wafted passed her and instinctively made his made towards the kitchen.
“Tis nice to see you Garda”
“Ah sure, I thought I’d make a house call. Just checking in, like.”
She looked directly at him waiting for more context.
“Sure, I haven’t been here since…. well, since you know what”.
“Yes…” was all she could muster at that moment.
They were both subconsciously looking at the corner of the kitchen, the one that contained the back door. Out of the silence she said: “Cuppa tea?”
He nodded his agreement with that idea.
The actions of filling the kettle and listening to it boiling provided a welcome background noise through the silence. Once they both had a sup or two, the calming social effects of the tea did the trick.
“So, what do you make of it all?” He started.
“Well, they’ve really gone to town on the tourism side of it, no? I mean, in the end of the day, it’s a feckin' alien life form”.
Sergeant Moroney nodded in agreement, “Yeah, this thing has a life of it’s own now”
“Did you come here just for a chat?” Nora probed.
“Well, I was wondering… I mean, you heard it’s gonna open soon right? I was wondering if you were going to visit the visitor centre?”
Nora hadn’t been taking much notice of the outside world and this conversation brought things into focus. She hadn’t confronted what she was going to do yet.
Sergeant Moroney continued, “To be honest, I haven’t been able to square it all in my head - what happened to use that day. And I know you must have similar doubts about what to make of it all.
Nora helped him out, “Yeah, I don’t know how to feel about it. There’s this big international event and we were at the epicentre of it. But now we’re nobodies”.
“Yes, exactly!” The Sergeant seemed to pep up, “let’s go to the opening together and be a support for each other”.
Nora looked diagonally at him, he seemed to need the support more than her.
“Sure thing”, she said, “when is it on again?”
“The day after tomorrow! You really haven’t been keeping up with the news have you?” the Sergeant replied with one eyebrow raised.
Nora nodded with a closed mouth smile and the conversation drifted towards mundanity before the Garda left when the tea got cold.