While standing outside Easons bookstore in Tralee, County Kerry, I see Richard, a man I know, walking through the crowd, head down in deep conversation with an elegant-looking lady. We say a brief hello as he hurries past, and the lady with him glances at me with a look of recognition. I try to place her, but as she’s in close discussion with Richard, I only get a side view of her face.

I’m waiting for my daughter Ruby, who’s buying a few last-minute college things around town before leaving for what will in all probability, be a few weeks away from home. Ruby has been home for the days just gone, but we both know that with the pandemic spreading, it’s for the best that she returns to Limerick until the worst passes. Neither of us is saying anything, but the feeling is there.

Waiting for Ruby gives me time to stand still and watch Tralee go about its business; I think this is…

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