This is a snippet from the Siren’s Song short story I’m working on. I’ll be publishing a book of short stories in 2019, and this will be included in it.
our father is dead. You wish you could ask him what he’d do in this situation. He’d probably agree with you. He’d probably encourage you to go ahead with it.
You just know you have to feed your wife and young daughter one way or another. Being a moral man, you will not resort to a life of crime. But they need to be fed. One way or another.
McGraw can get you a job. That’s not a problem. You can always work in his pub.
You’re a lucky man. So many Irishmen heading over there end up in the mines. You won’t have to do that. You’re already setup with something better, something safer.
But it’s over there. Your wife and young daughter are here.
But they have to eat. And you’re not exactly doing a very good job feeding them. You never were a very good farmer. You’re a people man. People like you. They’ve always liked you.
That doesn’t change the fact that there are no jobs over here and there’s one waiting for you with McGraw in Boston.
You’ve barely even left your village
When was the last time you’ve been outside your village? Had to think about that for awhile, didn’t you?
Bah. You’ve never even been on a ship. You remember hearing how many times people throw up overboard the first time they board one. Will you spend the entire trip throwing up overboard?
Your hands start to sweat just thinking about that. You get sick riding a horse. How do you expect to not get sick riding ten foot waves in a wooden ship?
You have to feed your wife and young daughter. And you’re not doing a very good job at that now, are you?
Yeah, Pappy would tell you to go. Put your family first. Always. Just like Pappy did.
Sure, Pappy never had to go to the other side of the planet. But he always did put family first.
You can’t really ask from your brothers and sisters either. They ain’t exactly fairing any better than you.
Just get on with it. You’ve already kissed them goodbye. Get on the bloody boat already.
You stare out at the sea. You can’t see the other side. It’s too far away. Days and nights away.
You’re scared. But you’re a man. And a man has to feed his wife and young daughter. That’s what men do.
You get in line. You almost forgot how heavy your suitcase is. The guy in front of you has his wife and three kids. No, they got more money than you. That’s why.
That will change when you get to America. You will save up, and you will bring them over as soon as you can.
A smile appears on your face for the first time since you kissed them goodbye.