THE BOGWOOD HORSE
by Pat McDermott
An entrepreneur from Boston
meets a gifted young Irishman grappling with family secrets…
Heading home to County Mayo to attend his father's wedding,
Andy shares a ride with Karen, his future stepsister,
and her best friend, Suzanne, a most intriguing young lady.
Andy had to remind himself to breathe when Gary maneuvered his red Toyota into the traffic and ricocheted west through Dublin’s streets. From the back seat, Karen and Suzanne made small talk about the things they’d seen and bought, what they’d eaten, and the weather. Every so often, Andy chimed in like a well-mannered robot. Other matters engaged his thoughts.
She’d smiled at him and shaken hands, a polite and proper greeting that had nonetheless flustered him. Her soft yet firm handshake had nearly compelled him to bring her fingers to his lips for a kiss. How stupid would that have looked? In the nick of time, he’d pulled away. No sense rushing things, he’d thought. Yet she’d frowned and tilted her head to one side, blond hair tumbling, blue eyes—or were they green?—glacial. Would he ever succeed in decoding the creatures?
He’d only met Karen once, last summer when he’d come home from Donegal for a visit. Her mother, a good-looking lady named Gemma, was staying in Westport at the time, and Karen had flown over to see her for reasons still unclear to him. If Karen had seemed friendly then, she was positively exuberant now, a confident young woman with a sweet tooth for adventure. Outside the hotel, she’d hugged him and Gary as if they were all the best of friends, and Andy hadn’t minded. Karen was family. Or would be soon, and so it mattered not that a broad gold wedding band shimmered on her finger. The husband, however, had yet to make an appearance.
Andy thought that Karen’s sparkle complemented Suzanne’s regal poise. Or perhaps Suzanne was simply shy with strangers. Such a fine cut of a woman would make friends fast with the men in Ireland, especially since she wore no wedding ring.
Here’s our Andy, home from Dublin and still without a comely, copulatory comrade…
Would she make friends with him?
He decided to test the waters with her. What harm could it do? She’d be leaving right after the wedding.