“I read the news today, Oh boy”
– The Beatles
Dublin. Frenchman’s Lane. Sturdy, hardwood table conversation, firelight. Copper-covered city night, youth hostel, hostile youth, field stone fire with a bit of turf for grins. United Nations volunteer. She’s got pamphlets.
Mum, I’m just an island away…
Here she comes.
“Do you know much about the United Nations Charter?” said the United Nations volunteer, a pretty, hippy-ish young woman with brown hair.
“Not much, but I guess I’m about to,” replied Livy.
She reads from the United Nations Charter:
“to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and…”
“Sounds like perfect world stuff to me…” interjects Livy.
“Let me finish.” replied the volunteer.
“… to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and…”
“Is interesting but…”
“to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends, to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and…”
“Could you pass me my beer?”
“Here, now listen.”
“to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and…”
“Sweetheart, it’s good but you are going on.”
“Just a bit more… to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples, have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims…”
“I’ve got writing to do, do you have a card or something?”
“Well no but, are you going to the concert at Trinity College tomorrow?”
“Hadn’t heard of it but maybe, who’s playing?”
“A couple of local bands, um, the Virgin Prunes, Horslips and someone called U2.”
“Someone called U2, is it a person?
“I think it’s a band, I’ve heard they’re brilliant, just released a song on radio.”
“Maybe I’ll check it out.”
“Do. We can talk more there.”
The volunteer got up to leave and Livy stopped her.
“Thanks for the recitation love, it’s inspiring stuff, just have to let it sink in, keep up the good work.”
“Thanks, I’m Hope by the way.”
“Livy, Livy Tinsley.”
“Are you in the New Yorker?”
“Just short bits really.”
“I’m sure that’s where I saw your name. Pleasure.” she extended her hand.
“Will you be around in the morning?”
“Yeah, need to sleep in a bit. Volunteer work isn’t easy.”
“See ya in the morning. Got to write now.”
“In the morning then.”
Livy put her pencil to her mouth and stared into the fire. The light of the fire flashed in her eyes, orange and blue. United Nations, Mum.
Journal entry continued:
… just an island but it feels like a world. I’m sorry Dad’s gone. I hope you’re ok. It was symbiotic but not good. I’m sorry if you feel I’m going on. Dad had his good side but it wasn’t there much. Wished he had a boy I think. I was a grave disappointment to him but I loved him just the same. How are you Mum? I met someone in Portugal. Gave him a bit of the ice, sort of cold. But I’ve got to protect myself and I don’t want to take care of a child like you have. I realize this is a bit harsh. Be all right now Mum. Be alone in a good way. I can’t come to see you now but I will soon. Working for the New Yorker now, it’s a good gig, if I’d been a boy dad’ve been proud. There’s something coming soon. After that I’ll be able to see you. So take good care for now and when it comes I’ll be able to see you. Something good soon.