On American Thanksgiving Day I went for a long walk eastward in Cork City south of the river. I'd been along the water to Pier Head, so this time I took a more inland route.
I followed Blackrock Road, pretty much, and decided I'd go to the bakery again. This was an incidental goal, based upon the question of where I was going to walk.
Somebody there had told me that one of the owners works on Tuesdays and Thursdays....
But I was just going for a walk.
I discovered "McCarthy's Folly," a 30-foot limestone obelisk with porcelain tiles and copper medalions and gargoyles that don't spout any water. It was built in either 1861 or 1870, or some other time and commemorates either a dog; the mayor who was the brother of the guy who built it; the victims of a collapse at the "amethyst mine' (which was really a limestone quarry, in which there was some amythyst [and for which "diamond hill" is named;]) or some other variation of any of these and/or other hypotheses... maybe.
Further on, I noticed a smartly-dressed elderly man over at the Topaz filling station fueling up a pristine gold Volkswagon bug, from the old days. 1974, he told me. He'd had it repainted and re-upholstered. It was all faithfully done, and was really a view into the past (except with the steering wheel on the other side.)...
The man told me a secret about buying a car in Ireland. Buy an old car, he said. 30 years or older. Your insurance and taxation will be much cheaper.
I went to the bakery and asked the man at the counter if he was an owner of the place. He was. I wondered if they ever think about hiring a baker. We do, he said. After Christmas.
That evening, I went and stopped Maisie when she got off work at the restaurant where she was doing washup. I'd met Maisie in August, at the hostel where I stayed until I found an apartment. She was in town to work and save money for a trip that was important to her.
I told Maisie something personal and foolish and awkward, that evening. She said "no."
I told her, kind of incidentally, that I thought I'd found a job. She smiled beautifully. I told her about my walk, that day and I told her about my inspiration get a job, get a car, and when she comes back to Ireland, I could come and see her. She lit up.
She agreed to see me the next day.
The next evening, during a short walk, I had to say goodbye to her, for several months.
I never saw her again.
I worked at the Natural Foods Bakery for several months until the health department threatened action and the owners shut down production.