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8 City Wall

Steve Edwards' website


16 June 2007, Kilkenny Ireland

This evening I heard a thuddish rapping of some hard object on another, out on Chapel Lane; I looked out.

A couple of teen girls were doing something against the near wall. I asked them "lads, are y'alright" — which, believe it or not, is exactly the right thing to say upon such an encounter.

The day before

"I recognize you," I said.

"Wha?" said he....

One of them spied me first — one floor up, I was briefly a disembodied voice to them, and they'd had to look around, baffled.

I realized, then, what they'd been doing. They were trying to pull the cap off of a bottle against a surface. I told them that I was sorry; I'd thought that they'd been vandalizing; that I've seen a lot of that around here.

The one who'd first spotted me asked me had I a bottle opener. I said I had.

The next day

It was a desperate lie, told by a frightened young man....

I went into the kitchen and grabbed the old-style soft-steel combination can-opener and bottle-opener. The modern-style corkscrew/bottle-opener would have shattered on the pavement stones.

She opened the bottle — of WKD red (whatever flavor that is,) or some other such alco-pop drink. She feared she'd bust a window throwing the opener back up to me as I'd asked. I knew that wasn't true, the angle disallowing a girl to accidentally bounce the thing off the window with enough force to break it.

She said she'd bring it up the stairs around the corner.

So okay.


The next day, I was going away from my apartment, watching some loitering kids with my recently-accustomed wariness — the mere act of which seems to make them behave with more respect — when I looked up and saw that same girl, as she was standing talking with a friend.

She lit up, saying "well" — the common greeting here; and I said hi how're ya doing.

It seems odd that opening a bottle of alcohol for a teen girl could be the right thing to do — but it was....

Later in the evening, that same next day again, I saw her — this time, as on the day before, from a window upstairs. In this case (I'd heard a noise) I looked out to see her sort of bumping the butt of a glass bottle against a boarded-up window panel.

It was only a sort of quasi- or proto-vandalistic motion, and girlish. But it's the little things, where it all begins....

I asked her please don't do that. "Oh, sorry," she said, and stopped.