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Meeting Kim in Maastricht

April 2004 —

I'd been living in Nijmegen with Kim for a half-year, and had then gone back to Kilkenny.

But she told me that she needed me, so after six weeks in Ireland I returned to her.

I met Kim at the train station in Maastricht. I was crying and held her to me. I'd been trying to stay in contact, there on the trains. The trains, exasperating trying to make the connections; the telephones, these quirky mobiles; and Kim, whom I love, not doing so good keeping me informed about where she was, I was worried.

But there she was, across the track on the other platform. She came up and over across the pedestrain overpass bridge. In tears, I put my arms around her.

We talked, and she was glad to have me there. We stood around outside for a while, waiting for the train that would take us up to Nijmegen, where she lived — where I had lived with her for six months and would return to live with her then.

I'd gone back to Kilkenny Ireland, with an uncertain sense of mission.

On the train between Maastricht and Nijmegen, I got a fuller view of how badly Kim was doing emotionally.

There was a small child on the floor beside our seats, an infant boy of less than two years who was crawling playfully away from his parent. Stopped by the door at the end of the coach, he turned back, sitting up awkwardly, and looked at Kim, smiling.

Kim didn't know how to react, how she was supposed to respond. She got scared.

Scared, by a little baby boy. It's always been a memory that reminds me of the poor state that Kim's mind was in during that horrible period of her life. It is nothing against her that she felt how she did. I know, since that time, what an irrational fear can do to the thinking. Kim is a beautiful soul, and I have only ever felt deep empathy for the pain that Kim was feeling during the winter and spring of '04.

Kim is well now, as far as I know. She lives in Thomastown, a few miles south of where I am now, back in Kilkenny.

She has a new boyfriend, and I've not seen her much in the last few months.

But she's well. That's the way I like it.

— Late spring 2006