all those years ago
about his Dad’s locked cupboard
at the garage. Dolly’s not sure:
Could be anything – bills
old love letters from yer mam..
her voice trails off, Frankie says
But what if it was something about Grandad?
Well. Why don’t we go an look?
Frankie, Corinne and Dolly
all arrive at the garage. Dad and Paddy
are leaning over the open bonnet
of a Fiat. Dad looks up, suspicious,
his eyes darken as he sees Frankie.
I’m busy. What ye want?
Dolly looks at Dad, she hesitates:
I divvent want te talk aboot Frankie. It can wait.
No. says Dolly, It’s not about Frank.
Dad starts, his face white: It’s not Marie?
Is she all right?
She’s ok. It’s something else..
Dad’s irritated now, he leans forward
over the car again, talks to the engine:
Well it better be important if ye have to come doon here.
I’ve got a man waiting on this Fiat, I’m trying ter fix a gear box
before this afternoon. I cannot drop everything for a cup of tea an a chat…
Dolly takes a breath:
Frankie says ye’ve got
some papers or something
locked in a cupboard.
I want ter see.
All goes still and quiet, Frankie chews his lip, Dolly stands firm,
Corinne watches Paddy who looks at Dad; there’s a faraway rumble
of traffic, and a trickle of radio 1 from Dad’s cubbyhole office.
Slowly, Dad stands up,
then he says, a low menace in his voice:
What the hell are you gannin on aboot?
I’ve got nowt here of interest ter yee –
cars, machinery, tools – my work, ok?
He turns back to the car. Dolly insists:
Frankie thinks it might be something ter dee
with Grandad. I just want ter see.
If you’ve been keeping secrets from me, Micky Donnelly
I’ll… I’m yer sister – he was my Dad too!
Frankie looks from Dad to Dolly.
Dad’s neck is red, he folds his arms:
The past is dead and buried.
That’s how Mam wanted it.
I respect her wishes.
Dolly explodes: Fer chrissakes Micky!
It’s the living that need
ter be respected now!
Our kids deserve to know
about their Grandad. I deserve to know.
Dad is angry too:
Some things are better left alone.
Divvent gan raking up
all that shite – ye’ll regret it.
I’ll regret it if I don’t, Dolly takes a step,
Is this the cupboard Frankie?
Frank nods nervously, eyeing Dad.
Dolly holds out her hand:
Give me the key. I’m not afraid to look.
Dad shakes his head, pulls
the oily rag from his pocket
takes his time wiping his hands
as if considering what he’ll do next.
Stiffly, he goes to the locker at the back of the garage
a small grey safe in the wall
dusty and hidden behind old cans of oil
jars of swarfega. He clears the cans
so he won’t knock them over, finds a key
on a big bunch in his pocket
fits it in the lock,
then the metal door swings opens.