Story 1 – Tackas – Part 2

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Tackas stood out front

The congregation watching

Expectant.

He shuffled his papers

Nerves on show

Opened his mouth

In his most beautiful lilting Irish voice be began.

We listened enthralled by Tackas’ story.

Rory his mate lay before us

His coffin draped with his footy teams jumper and a can of his favourite beer.

His mum in the front row

Staring into the past

Remembering a boy who played under the house

Who cared for lost lizards he found in the yard

Who at school struggled with words

But excelled with his hands

Who became a carpenter

Built her a house,

Was the perfect son in many ways.

Tackas tale was a little different,

Rory was a lad, one of the boys.

He drank and partied

Stayed out late and had various affairs.

One row of the church was taken by

Girlfriends past and present

His latest evident by the bulge in her belly.

The boys were gathered in the third pew

Uncomfortable in their suits and ties

The thought of the wake much on their minds.

Still Tackas held us, his words spell-like

I still remember his final sentence,

‘My mate Rory may well be gone, but his spirit lives on,

No illness can ever take that from us.’

Afterwards the boys stood about,

Shuffled their feet, said obligatory farewells

Embraced his mum, expressed their loss

Then went off to drink to his life.

Tackas waited, watch them all go, said he’d come with Clancy

And stood beside me.

He said nothing for quite a while then

asked how I thought he went.

‘Great,’ I said,’ you did a great job.’

‘Hardest thing I’ve done,

Didn’t think I’d make it half way through.’

‘You just great,’ I said once again.

Then he looked away, just a second it was,

Then I realised he was crying, sobbing his heart out.

I put my arm round him said, ‘It’s ok mate.’

He turned his head to me,

I was his shoulder to cry on.

We stood there and I shared his grief

No idea how long, time didn’t matter right then.

When he finished he blew his nose

Said ‘thanks mate’, and then nothing more.

But I knew he was cut

He and Rory were close

I was honoured I was there

It was my shoulder he leant on.

We hung around awhile

As Rory’s mum said her farewells.

Offered her lift, chatted as we drove

She said she didn’t know the man that he was

Said he became a man who was never her child

But she was sad he was gone

Said she’d miss all the mates

They were joy all together on a Saturday night.

Tackas said we’d come round

Check on her and have a beer.

That was one thing I loved about Tackas,

You knew when he said something

It was going to happen.

He was a man of his word

That I know to be true.

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21 Responses to Story 1 – Tackas – Part 2

  1. PookyH says:

    What a beautiful and loving tribute. This really moved me, the words “His mum in the front row,
    Staring into the past” brought tears to my eyes x

  2. jrosenberry1 says:

    And we believe that he will, indeed, check on Mum and have a beer. 🙂
    Thank you for this wonderful piece, Michael.

  3. Anja says:

    Good piece….miss “hearing” the accents.

  4. Bastet says:

    Great go! I was expecting another bit of prose and was delighted when I saw it was to be in poetry. Moving, Tackas who seems so hard and weathered turns out to be a loving friend. Rory came alive, through his mum’s eyes, through the vision in the church and of course Tackas’ words. I personally could identify with his mum…thinking of sons when they’re little not really knowing them now that they’re men…and how lovely it is to have them and their mates come by for a visit. Thanks for a great read!

  5. RoSy says:

    Hi Michael! <— I'm a bit more awake & together today. I took the day off work & spent late morning/earl afternoon as a chaperone for my daughter – Victoria's – school field trip.

    Anyway – a great part 2 to the story. Sad though. I think Tackas will go visit his friend's mom. It's nice to have that connection – something more to hold onto to keep his memory alive.

    Time for tea & then to bed. Early to rise – before the sun to head for work.
    Night-night from here to there.

  6. Lovely, very moving, very real! 🙂 🙂

  7. you have captured the service Michael~ the nerves ~ the uneasiness ~ the love ~ the sadness ~ this was lovely and I have enjoyed reading – very special. 🙂

  8. AnElephant thinks that these two pieces are far and away the best stuff he has seen from you.
    True to life, real characters easy to identify with, real emotions, equally easy to identify with.
    Big lump in throat, more than once.
    Superb, you big softy!

  9. Pingback: Story 1 – Tackas – Part 7 | Morpethroad

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