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Meeting Kim

When I met Kim, she was one week short of 18 years old, and I was 39.

I just wanted to get that out first, because that is what might be the "prurient" detail. After that fact, all assumptions break down in my relationship with Kim. But the fact that she was so young is the detail that is going to stick first in the mind of most readers. So young, and so much younger than myself.

We were both vacationing in Dingle, Ireland, in County Kerry. We met at the Grapevine hostel there, a Sunday in June '03.

On Monday, we went to Great Blasket Island together. She had just put her traveling companion on the bus when I met her again, at the breakfast table. I had been planning to go to the island, and she was newly alone, her friend having become homesick.

I asked her if she wanted to go with me. She did. We both reserved our beds for that night, and took the boat from Dingle Harbor to Great Blasket. We spent the afternoon there, and the evening together. We caused a mutter at the hostel. That gabby tourist guy warned her about me. The American and English women were not impressed. We went to Foxy John's pub later, and talked with Dave, whom I'd met there the night before. Dave is a hippie from the Dublin area; Foxy John's is a small pub and bicycle shop.

I was living in Kilkenny at that time. I'd gone out of town on Bus Éireann, without a plan. I'd gone through stations at Killarney and Tralee, so I had the return tickets through these towns. I asked Kim if she wanted to come with me to Killarney. Killarney is an outstanding town. No matter that it is profoundly touristic; I found the residents to be uniquely and genuinely friendly. I'd gone out on the piss with Eoin, whom I met just off the bus, when I first passed through.

[David Gray was playing that weekend, leaving no beds available in town--which is why I ended up on the Dingle and not the "Ring of Kerry" peninsula. ]