Back On The Horse | Rob Madden


Back on the Horse

Rob Madden

The Don McCrady Invitational Award

Mark gave himself the once-over by the vanity mirror next to the large bay window of his open plan apartment. Sports blazer, chinos and loafers. He ran his fingers through his separately shampooed and conditioned hair. Nice one.

Through the reflection he could see Paul, slouched into a lazy boy. His fingers intertwined. His thumbs twiddling.

‘Are ye still thinking about it, horse?’ said Mark.

‘Yeah. No. I mean yeah, but no. Ah I don’t know,’ came Paul’s reply.

He moved his hands to up underneath his chin and wriggled deeper into the lazy boy.

‘Ah you’re a very pensive looking fella there altogether, horse,’ said Mark. He stepped sideways so that he was positioned directly in front of the window.

He reefed the cord down so that the blinds shot up.

From the fourth floor of a Dublin city centre apartment block, the view was that of a fierce orange sky.

‘Well would ye look at that, horse. We’ve missed most of the day.’

He turned around to look at Paul.

‘Ye need to get over her. Move on. What ye need to do is get back on the -.’

‘Get over her!’ said Paul. He threw his arms out to each side. ‘She pointed at it and laughed is what she did.’

She did. The poor bloke. Mark suppressed the bout of chuckles he felt welling up inside him. It wouldn’t do. It’d be like rubbing salt into a wound. Instead, what the man needed was a pick-me-up.

‘Sure that’s her loss, horse. And anyway, I told you already. It’s not the size of the nail. It’s the hammer that pushes it.’

He offered Paul a wink. In return, Paul let out a flat ‘hah’. All part of the healing process on that fine Dublin summer’s evening.

Don McCrady Invitational Award