“The week he turned fourteen my mother sent me to pick him up: he’d been gone all day and she’d baked a cake for him. An evening drizzle fell over Dublin. a horsecart went past, the light from its dynamo shining. I watched it clop away down the street, the pinpoint of light spreading. I hated the city at times like that -it had no desire to get out from under its grayness. I walked on past the bed-and-breakfast houses, the antique shops, the candle makers, the suppliers of liturgical medals. The flophouse was marked by a black gate, ironwork sharped to points. I went to the back, where the bins were kept. Rain dripped from a broken pipe. I stepped over a pile of crates and cardboard boxes, shouting his name. When I found him, he was so drunk that he couldn’t stand. I grabbed his arm. “Hi,” he said, smiling. he fell against the wall and cut his hand. He stood staring at his palm. The blood ran down his wrist. One of the younger drunks -a teddy boy in a red T-shirt- spat at him. It was the only time I ever saw Corrigan throw a punch. It missed completely but blood from his hand flew, and I knew -even while I watched it- that it was a moment I would never forget, Corrigan swinging in midair, droplets of his blood spraying the wall.
“I’m a pacifist,”, he said, slurring his words.
I walked him all the way along the Liffey, past the coal ships and into Ringsend, where I washed him with water from the old hand pump on Irishtown Road. He took my face in his hands. “Thank you, thank you”. He began to cry as we got to Beach Road, which led towards our house. A deep dark had fallen over the sea. Rain dripped from the roadside palms. I hauled him back from the sand. “I’m soft,”, he said. He wiped his sleeve across his eyes, lit a cigarette, coughed until he threw up.
At the gate of the house, he looked up to the light in our mother’s bedroom. “Is she awake?”.
Let The Great World Spin
Bloomsbury, 2009 (publicado en España como Que el vasto mundo siga girando, RBA 2010). Ganador del National Book Award 2009.