I was always out playing. With Lizzie, mostly. Up and down Mare street, nicking whelks off the one-eyed man with the seafood stall. And she’d distract him by asking for a pint of prawns and a blank stare and I’d blindside him and pocket a fistful of cockles. Oh, I adored Lizzie! And she adored me. Every night, when we dragged ourselves away from each other, I’d say, “Cash or cheque?” And she’d say, “Cash.” And I’d get a kiss on the cheek. Our favourite game was wedding day. She was always the bride, of course, and I would be the groom. I’d get my dad’s best coat. Grey tweed, leather buttons, smell of sweat, coal. Bits of dried-up tobacco in the breast pocket. I’d have to wait for her at the end of the aisle, the back alley where our mothers would hang the washing. And I’d watch her, holding my breath, as she picked her way through the grey sheets and stained drawers, a huge, stupid smile on her face. And when she reached me and put her arm through mine… I fair exploded. I loved her. I knew that. I longed to take her in my arms and kiss her neck. Would she allow it? Could she? I just didn’t know. Then bloody William Foyle turned up. All big muscles, crooked smile and twinkly-eyed. And she fell for him straightaway. He bought her a tuppence bag of aniseed balls and she was lost. I was heartbroken. She still said “cash” when we did manage to see each other, but… I could see her heart wasn’t in it. She looked sad. But not for her, for me. “Don’t be like that, Ellen,” she’d say. Touching my arm. Once, she took me in. She took pity on me. And we sat by the fire. I had my arms wrapped around her waist. And… I just let my hand drop lower and lower until it was resting in her glorious lap. I moved my hand slowly, slowly. She froze… then relaxed. I waited. Minutes groaned by. She let me. She… let me. And then, all of a sudden, she jumped up, grabbed her shawl and ran out the back door. I called after her, but she didn’t turn back. It was exactly two weeks later than I ran into her buying a loaf of bread. “Lizzie,” I said, “I’m sorry. Please, please speak to me.” “Don’t,” she said. She sort of hissed it. I searched her face for a sign of softness, but there was none. There was only fear. Only fear. She turned on her heel and marched off.
A bit of tweed for a bit of class. Showing a Horween Dublin leather card slip I’ve been playing with. It has a dark brown saddle leather inner divider. Also showing my personal Horween Dublin Northwestward Field Notes by Craft and Lore.