The Irresistible Irishman - M.J. Fields
A ber lernt men oykh oys tantsn.
(Even a bear can learn to dance.)
- Yiddish proverb
Looking around the bar at the drunk patrons hanging all over one another with green beads dangling sloppily from their necks, I quickly realize, being single on Saint Patrick’s Day sucks.
I’m sure it would’ve sucked just as much every other holiday over the past two years had I been aware, but the truth is, I was too busy at life back then to notice just how bad it was. I was mending a broken heart, attempting to live the best I could within my limited means. I was too busy trying to be physically and mentally healthy just to get through the day-to-day. Busy moving away from the very town I’m currently sitting in the picturesque Holiday Springs.
I sip my Blue Moon, well, ‘Green Moon,’ thanks to the two drops of food coloring the bartender squirted in the glass before pouring the beer from the tap. It coats my stomach with heaviness while helping to soften my current reality of watching those clueless to my struggle, loving life, flirting with each other and dancing drunkenly to the 80’s music like they’ve only got one life to live. A point that was continually drilled into me for endless months as I battled for my own life. It’s all I can do right now not to let my emotions crumble. I take another long swallow, wishing I could just snap my fingers and find myself back in my small Aspen apartment. The patrons here seem to be happy with the state of their lives, and for all intents and purposes, I should be, too.
Once upon a time, I was.
My best friend Faith nudges me on the shoulder, bringing her iPhone to my face. I get a whiff of her strawberry lotion, and with it, a strong hit of nostalgia, I’ve missed her.
“This meme absolutely kills me!” she squeals, laughing without a care in the world. “Get it? The pussy cat!”
Rolling my eyes, I laugh with her.
“So, what’s this surprise you mentioned?”
Faith had all but dragged me here tonight, swearing that after two beers she was going to give me the gift of a lifetime. I’m only in Holiday Springs for the weekend and thought we’d spend our time binging Netflix and eating Chinese takeout. Unfortunately, no such luck.
“Well.” She clears her throat, tipping the shot glass into her mouth and swallowing all the liquid at once. “You know my brother-in-law Raff, right?”
I quirk a brow. “Of course, I remember him.”
Raff and I met a few times casually, but I don’t think he would ever remember meeting me. Still, Faith talks about him all the time, and her apartment is littered with photos of them with his beautiful son. Raff was once living in London and married to Faith’s sister, Hope. Sadly, Hope passed away in a car crash leaving Raff and their son Nathaniel behind. After her death, the boys moved to Holiday Springs to be closer to Hope's family. Faith, who should probably get the ‘World’s Greatest Aunt’ award, loves them with all of her heart.
“Right.” She nods. “But, anyway, we aren’t talking about him.” She swats a hand in front of her face like he’s of no matter, but we both know better. “We are going to talk about his best friend from college. Or, as they call it, Uni.”
“Why are we talking about his best friend?”
“The Irishman?” I frown, confused.
Her eyes sparkle in that way of hers, and on my life, I know I’m in trouble. Faith and I have been friends ever since I rented a small studio above her book shop. My hospital was equidistant between Aspen and Holiday Springs, but there’s a beautiful holistic medicine center here that made me want to stay in Aspen throughout my treatment. They were able to mitigate my pain without medication, detox my body, and overall made me feel better throughout chemo. Not least, Holiday Springs is quaint and filled with the most delicious mom-and-pop restaurants. The people are incredibly kind and far from pretentious. And of course, Faith quickly became a cornerstone in my life. She’s older than me by over ten years, but we have a connection that would have manifested even if our age gap spanned thirty. The first time I wandered through Bookland, smelling fresh antique pink roses from inside ornate silver tins, I knew whoever owned the store was special. I was right.
“The Irishman is fucking irresistible.” She gives me