Fiction In Sunshine Or In Shadow

ISBN 13: 9780385323994

In Sunshine Or In Shadow

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9780385323994: In Sunshine Or In Shadow

Love is the common thread in nineteen powerful, moving stories from the finest Irish women writers. From rural villages to Dublin's suburbs to the streets of New York, women's hopes, dreams, and frustrations come alive in a unique anthology that mines Ireland's extraordinary storytelling tradition.

In Maeve Binchy's "Taximen Are Invisible" a cabbie becomes silent party to the lives of a couple who seem to have it all--until he sees the truth, and counts his own heretofore unrecognized blessings. The perfect marriage in Mary Gordon's "Bishop's House" appears to be the province of Helen and Richard, longtime friends of divorced, footloose Lavinia--until Lavinia discovers the true nature of their bond with each other--and with her.  Mary Maher pays tribute to a simple wife in "Lucy's Story" as Lucy shares her deepest secrets with a psychologist friend--and shows the steel beneath the fluff. It's a last, ironic good-bye for a long-separated couple in Mary Morrissy's "Clods," when a husband invites his wife to his mother's funeral, then overwhelms her with an unexpected passion. In these and the other unforgettable stories, nineteen remarkable writers weave tales of love, loss, and hope, creating vivid portraits of extraordinary women--gallant, sometimes foolish, often wise women--who have found the courage to endure loss of innocence and love betrayed...and survive.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Back Cover:

"An unforgettable read."
--San Antonio Express News

"Poignant...stirring stories."
--Elle

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Taximen Are Invisible
Maeve Binchy
A lot of the lads on the rank went to Italy during the World Cup.

But not Eddie.  He couldn't be out of the house.  Who would get the early morning tea for Phyllis, help her out of the bed to the shower, dry her back and sit her down at the knitting machine where she worked all day, with the kettle and little grill near to hand?

The children would have come in, of course, if Eddie had put it to them that he hadn't taken a holiday in twenty-two years.

But every day for three weeks?

And Phyllis would not have liked her sons or their wives dragging her poor body into a shower and out.  And anyway, it would have been so selfish to spend all that money just drinking and laughing with the lads.  Eddie only considered it for five minutes before putting it out of his mind.

He'd go to the pub and watch it there.  A lot of people said that would be just as good, same crack as being there without all the money and the foreign food.

On June 21, 1990, when Ireland played Holland and drew one-all, Eddie met the couple for the first time.  He was just about to knock off and go down to Flynn's when he saw the couple running toward the rank where he was the only car.  All the other taximen were either abroad or already installed in good positions in Flynn's.

They were in their forties--the man might even have been as much as fifty--well dressed.  They had come out of one of the redbrick houses with the gardens in the road that led down to the rank.

He could see them looking at each other with huge relief to have found a taxi--as they ran across to him.

"I'm afraid..." he began.

And he saw the woman's eyes fill with tears.

"Oh, please don't say you can't take us, the car won't start and we're late already, we're going to see the match in my in-laws' house, please take us." She mentioned where it was, a good fare, but half an hour there and half an hour back.

"Look, I know you were going to see the match, but there'll be no traffic on the road and I'll give you twice what's on the meter."

The man was nice, too, he wasn't patronizing, just doing a deal.

It would be a good few quid extra.  Eddie thought he might take Phyllis shopping tomorrow in the wheelchair, she'd like that.

"Get in," he said, opening the door.

They had little to worry about, this couple.  A big solid house where the roof wasn't a permanent anxiety.  They had the use of their limbs, both of them.  The woman didn't have to bend over a knitting machine and the man didn't have to work long hours in a taxi that he shared with another fellow.

Eddie wasn't normally envious of the passengers that traveled in the back of his cab, but there was something about this pair that got to him.  They seemed relaxed with their money and good clothes and ability to get a taxi and cross Dublin to go to a big party in a house where no one would ever have supported soccer a few months back.  They didn't nag each other about the car that hadn't started, about one making the other late.

He called her Lorraine.  Eddie wondered about names.  No one in his street was called Lorraine or Felicity or Alicia.  They were Mary or Orla or Phyllis.

Lorraine; it suited her somehow.  Gentle, calm--and she seemed happy too.

They spoke with the easy confidence of good friends.  He wondered how long they were married.  Maybe twenty-three years like he and Phyllis were.  It would have been a different kind of wedding.

They gave him the extra money with an easy grace, and they left him with huge wishes and hopes for Ireland's victory.

Eddie tuned in the car radio.  They would be just in time for the match, he would be twenty minutes late in Flynn's. It was only a few days later, on Monday, June 25, 1990, the day that Ireland played Rumania and won on a penalty shoot-out, that Lorraine's husband met a girl with big dark eyes.  A lot of them had gone from work straight to a bar and there had been great excitement.  The girl had come in from her office nearby and somehow they had all got together in the celebration, and then, of course, nothing would do but they all had to have a meal.  They could get taxis home afterward, nobody had brought a car.

Eddie had cheered the match to the echo in Flynn's, but he had been drinking red lemonade.  He could get in a great couple of hours on a night like this.  The other fellow who shared the taxi wouldn't want to be driving even though it was officially his night.  Eddie might take in thirty quid if he got a few good fares.  Half of Dublin seemed to be wandering around the street looking for taxis.

He recognized the man and assumed that the other woman was Lorraine.  He was about to say wasn't it a small world, but he stopped himself.

"First we want to go to..." The man was checking with the girl.

There was a lot of giggling and then whispering, and the man said, "Actually, that's all, we'll both get out here," and then there was the sound of nuzzling and kissing.  The man looked Eddie straight in the eye as he paid the fare.  He didn't recognize him.

Taximen are invisible.  Lorraine came to the rank next morning.  She recognized Eddie.

"You're the man who drove us when the car broke down," she said.

She had nice eyes, trusting eyes.

"And did it break down again?" Eddie asked.

"No, but Ronan's office was celebrating the match and they obviously all got pissed so they decided to stay in a hotel, the lot of them," she said.  "So I need the car to go up to the school and I'm going to pick it up from outside his office."

Eddie grunted.

It was as if he had sent a signal of disapproval.

Lorraine sounded defensive.  "Much better to have done that than drive home drunk," she said.

"Much," said Eddie.

"And there wasn't a taxi to be found on the street," Lorraine said.

"Never is when you need one," said Eddie.  Dublin is small, no matter what people say.  There's over three quarters of a million people in it, but it is very small.

Eddie picked up the girl with the big dark eyes at Heuston Station.

She was with her mother, who was coming to Dublin for an operation.

The older woman was nervous and bad-tempered.

"Most other women of your age, Maggie, would have a car of their own instead of throwing away money on taxis," she grumbled.

"Mam, don't I live in walking distance of work and isn't it healthier to walk?" Maggie said.  She was about thirty, Eddie decided, long dark curly hair.

"If you had a car you could come home for weekends."

"I come home every month on the train," Maggie said.

"Any other woman of thirty-five would have three children of her own and a house where I could stay instead of a one-room flat."

"You're sleeping in the bed, Mam, I'm sleeping on the sofa."

"That's as may be.  But it still doesn't mean that you shouldn't settle down."

"I will, one day," Maggie sighed.

"Oh, yes," her mother said.  Ronan got Eddie's taxi from the rank when he was going to the airport.  Eddie saw Lorraine waving from the garden.

A boy and a girl were also waving, they looked about fifteen and sixteen.

"Nice to have children," Eddie said as they pulled out into the traffic.

"Yeah," Ronan said absently.  "Of course they're not children anymore, lives of their own, they don't really care about home at that age."

"They might, you know, without showing it," Eddie said.

Ronan didn't answer, he was rooting in his briefcase.  He was a man who didn't want to chat all the way to the airport.

When they pulled up to the curb at Departures, Eddie got out to take the case from the trunk of the car.

He turned in time to see Maggie running into Ronan's arms.  Ronan took the case and they went hand in hand into Check-In. Eddie always worked Christmas Eve.  He drove Maggie and Ronan to Heuston station.  Maggie was crying.  "I can't bear it, four days," she kept saying.

"Shush shush shush, you'll soon be back."

"But they're such special days, I want to be with you," she wept.

"Sweetheart, they're just days.  They'll pass."

"All that Christmassy lovey-dovey stuff," she wailed.

"You know there's no lovey-dovey stuff," Ronan said.

He went into the station to put Maggie on the train, then he asked Eddie to drive him to a florist and a supermarket.  In both places he had orders ready, a huge flower arrangement in one, a hamper from the other.

Then he went home.  The door of the big redbrick house opened and from his car Eddie saw Lorraine and the children running to greet him.  In the cold night he heard Ronan calling out "Happy Christmas!"  Ireland lost to Italy and the dream was over.  But life went on.

After Christmas Phyllis had to stop working the knitting machine because her hands got too misshapen.

There were two new grandchildren that spring and the babies were often brought around for Phyllis and Eddie to mind while the parents had a night out or day off.  They sat there and lo...

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