Author : Ken McGrath
The car pulled to a stop overlooking the city.
“There it is kids. Dublin, where your old Dad grew up? What do you think?”
“It doesn’t look like the postcard Dad,” Amy said, looking up momentarily from her computer game and at least showing some sort of interest. Her sister just grunted in response, not even raising her head.
“Ah kids, c’mon, get out the car and have a look, why don’t you?” Their Dad sounded exasperated, yet happy. He wound down the window and leaned out, breathing in the fresh air. “It’s not everyday you get to come and see someplace like this.”
It was years since he’d been back here and a lot had changed. Amy paused her game and opened the backdoor, stepping out onto the thick, lush grass that grew on the roadside. Walking slowly so that the dew wet her shoes as much as possible she followed her Dad to the fence which overlooked the valley.
“It wasn’t always like this you know? It used to be a big, bustling city with traffic and people, noise and jobs and rubbish and everything else. Just like that picture postcard I gave you. Before the water rose, that was. Before the water came and reclaimed it all.” A hint of sadness crept into his voice as he spoke, the memories bubbling up through his mind.
Amy fumbled around in the front pocket of her dress and pulled out an old crumpled and dog-eared postcard. It showed an aerial view of the city she was looking at, not from the exact spot they were standing at, her and her Dad, but similar and it showed a city at night. Not one which was sleeping, but one which was very much alive. It was all lights glowing, like hundreds… no thousands, of stars, as if God himself had turned the night sky upside down for the photograph. ‘Behind each of those lights is a story,’ she remembered her Dad saying many, many nights when tucking her in to bed.
The girl tried to imagine the scene in front of her now, as it would have been when the photo was taken, but it was hard to do. The sea had risen, back before she was born, so her Dad had told her. The people who lived there had fled, not believing what was happening, but it didn’t matter if they believed in it or not because it was happening. The Earth was healing itself, ridding itself of the pestilence that had picked at it. Had hurt it for so long. He’d run to the north with their mother to escape the rising waves and they’d made a new life there. A simpler life was how he put it.
But he had still wanted to bring his daughters here today, to show them the past and what had once been. To show them the present and what was now.
Suddenly a voice tore through the perfect quiet stillness. “Daaad,” Amy’s sister called from the car, dragging out her words, which meant she wanted something. “C’mere.”
“Sure thing honey,” he shouted back. “You coming?” he asked Amy.
“I think I’ll stay here a few more minutes if that’s okay,” she said, then turned back towards the drowned city, holding up her postcard, as if comparing the two. “I like the view.”