By Jonathan Fong
O Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
The rain fell softly against the window, its tapping gently drummed throughout the empty house.
Her sobs echoed quietly in the room she once shared. The pictures were still new, the dresses and gowns still hung in the cupboard, unused.
And the rings still shone bright.
The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling
The local weather had never been one to cheer her up. She never did enjoy it even as a child: They were boring and cold, though a few of her more dreamy friends revelled in it.
Those were distant memories from a time long past.
She was dreamy once, too. She dreamt of a Prince Charming that would sweep her off her feet, one that she would swoon against. It was a lot to ask for, but everyone did too. The wishes were the same from glen to glen, and down the mountainsides.
So it did surprise her more than a wee bit that she did meet her Prince Charming, though it involved less swooning and more blushing. He was tall and kind, a lovely contrast to her petite figure, but a welcome accompaniment to her sweet, sweet smile.
The whole town did love her, as did everyone who met her. Her innocence was infectious and it spread like wildfire whenever she showed up. So it disappointed many a boy when she proudly displayed the small gold band.
It was simple and unmarked, just like how she liked her jewellery.
‘Tis you, ‘tis you must go and I must bide
But it wasn’t to last, just like many good things in the country. A slow evening stroll through the streets of Belfast was their usual bonding time, but during one such stroll that innocence she had was rudely wrangled away.
The blast was deafening.
And then there was silence.
She didn’t walk with him anymore. She couldn’t.
How could she when all that remained of him were a few specks of blood?
Many had similar stories to tell that day, of appreciating and then losing the next moment. The conflict was cruel, robbed many of their love and lives.
And so like many, she lost both her Prince and her innocence.
And if you come when all the flowers are dying
The rain had stopped tapping. All was quiet
Her sobs still heaved in the empty room. The memories were too much to bear.
Slowly, they ceased. She stood.
Gliding out the door and down the steps, her footsteps gently swished the silent air.
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
She emerged into the young sunlight, just peeking out of the clouds. Right among the green fields, there was a speck of stone grey. For the first time since the rain had begun and left, she smiled.
You’ll come and find the place where I am lying
She ran her cold fingers over the stone. The bumps told how long it had been since he was reunited with the earth.
The sunlight fully matured, bathing the gravestones in a lush golden light.
And kneel and say an Ave there for me
The house looked decrepit as ever. It had stood for 50 years without care.
The rooms she had grieved in were mouldy and crumbling, the stairs had given way.
Yet through the windows, if one were to look towards the grey specks on the horizon, they would have gotten the chills.
For there were two graves lying in silence together.
O Danny Boy, O Danny Boy, I love you so.