Dear Marissa…

The following is a work of fiction based on recent events and experiences in Ireland.

Dear Marissa,

You won’t believe what’s happening here in Ireland. There’s a huge vote this Friday to determine if the 8th Amendment will be repealed. I know you don’t pay much attention to politics, so essentially this means people will either be voting yes abortion should be legal, or no abortion should remain illegal. I’ve been wearing my button all week. You remember my fella Niall? We’ve been arguing for a couple months now about this. Niall’s lovely, really, but he can be thick at times.

Just yesterday morning we were picking lettuce in the Ecovillage community gardens – early, as we put out vegetables for the others around eleven – and he brings up the vote again. I almost pushed him into the compost. He was going on about how his Mum thinks abortion is sin and so he’s worried to vote the opposite way as her. I told him she won’t see what he’s put on the ballot, but that didn’t stop him from complaining.

I was so worked up I went for a walk in Knocknacree until I left for my shift at noon, just to clear my head. After all, I’m tired of talking about it and seeing the signs on every lightpost I walk past. I don’t care which way Niall’s going to vote, just as long as he doesn’t keep griping about it.

The dull day only made my mood worse, and of course Sheelagh na Gig was slow as ever. You’ve visited Cloughjordan before, so you know how few people are around when Pa’s hostel is empty.

I made myself a latté just to pass the time. When that didn’t help I snuck across the street and bought a 99 from the shop. So that helped a bit. Still, I wasn’t looking forward to playing at the pub with Niall later. We have a set every Friday and Saturday. The rest of the time we put on a good show, and I normally love playing the fiddle, but yesterday I was so frustrated I almost called it off.

You know I don’t like to quit easily. I went back to the village to shower after closing the café around six, then grabbed my fiddle and headed to the pub. Usually Niall runs late after working in the FabLab, but what do you know, he’s in the corner with his penny whistle when I get there. He’d already bought me a pint of Guinness, which I can drink between songs. Naturally that put me in a much better mood. We played some great jigs, like the “Flying Wheelchair” and “Floating Crowbar.”

Later that night Niall promised he wouldn’t discuss the vote anymore. I’m grateful because I know what I believe in, and he doesn’t have to believe the same things I do. We’ll see what happens this Friday, anyhow. A woman on the radio said “I have a lot of faith in the Irish people.” I do, too.

Talk to you soon.