'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Wednesday, June 30, 2004


I spent most of the evening cutting the various lawns in the garden. Shadows of hedges and trees crept across the grounds. The sky above the horizon was red as I stood on the dark green lawn, with the smell of freshly cut grass on the air.

My cousin Isobel was once standing in a glasshouse when she said to aunt Sue, “I think I’ll just stay here for an hour or two.” Sue always had that image of Isobel in her mind – a dark forgotten Iz alone in the glasshouse as the sun went down. She thought of that whenever she saw her niece, like when Isobel was laughing on a trampoline or dancing on a bus shelter. It was such a lonely image, and Sue felt sorry for Isobel. One evening, they both went to see a house being built by our cousin, Darren. The electricity hadn’t been connected, but the stairs had just been installed. The sun was going down at the time. They looked up the stairs and Isobel said, “It’s almost like a maze, isn’t it.” Sue saw the lonely Isobel more than ever in this image. She decided she had to do something to cheer her niece up, so she entered her in an Isobel competition by the sea – a day in the sun in July where a woman is voted Best Isobel, and Most Likely to be Isobel. On the previous year the same woman won both of these competitions. It turned out that her name was really Ariel, so she was stripped of her prize in the Best Isobel competition. If she hadn’t won the Most Likely to be Isobel competition, people might never have found out. She was voted The Last of the Great Days instead, so that was some consolation, until someone suggested it was The Last of the Great Danes, and she was sorry she ever entered the competition. It was a beautiful blue day by the sea when my cousin Isobel entered the Best Isobel competition. She didn’t win, but she was voted Most Likely to have a Fountain in her Garden, and aunt Sue had a completely different perception of her after this. She always looked so happy to Sue, even when she was sitting on the stairs and sighing.

The moose’s head over the fireplace stared at the opposite wall when I entered the room, but I didn’t take much notice of it. I looked at the rug in front of the fireplace and in the pattern I thought I saw the moose’s head. I looked up at the actual moose’s head and its facial expression seemed very different to the image in my mind. It looked so sad. I looked down at the rug again and I could no longer make out the head in the pattern. I went to the window and looked out in silence. The image of the moose with the sad expression faded from my mind and he started to look happy again. I didn’t turn around to see if this was only in my mind.