THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES EBOOK
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Read “Thanks for the Memories”, by Cecelia Ahern online on Bookmate – One of the world's most To read this book, upload an EPUB or FB2 file to Bookmate. How can you know someone you've never met?Justin Hitchcock is divorced, lonely and restless. He arrives in Dublin to give a lecture on art and meets an att.. . Cecelia Ahern 2-book Bundle Cecelia Ahern HarperCollins Publishers () Two of Cecelia's best-loved novels available as an ebook duo for the first time!.
P It is an amazing, amazing story which would make you laugh and smile through the tears. This fiction, ironically, will help you a great deal in going through the reality and not to forget, a better understanding of life and death and everything in between! Happy Reading! View 2 comments. How is it possible to know someone you've never met? With her marriage already in pieces, Joyce Conway nearly lost everything else.
But she survived the terrible accident - and now, inexplicably, she can remember faces she has never seen, cobblestone Parisian streets she's never visited. Thanks For The Memories is like a bubble gum, it stretches until it bursts.
And unfortunately my patience stretched and burst with it and then I wasn't interested in what was to happen next, not at all. I indeed w How is it possible to know someone you've never met?
I indeed wouldn't mind if Joyce went nuts and killed everyone around her, well, perhaps I would be even glad because it would be more interesting than waiting for her encounter with Justin all the time.
And I didn't like Justin, he was sooo selfish and such a pig to Sarah and then there is that odd blood transfusion.. Occasional fits of laughter and my resolve not to abandon yet another book were the only things that made me finish it, neverthless I skimmed a lot and the ending wasn't worth the effort.
I was waiting for one scene, expecting it to be great and that scene came only at the very last pages and left me mad. Was I waiting for that all the time?! View all 14 comments.
I finished Thanks For The Memories last night at about I read a full hundred pages in the evening. Maybe slightly obsessive, but It was a rather addictive story! Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern is her fifth book to be published and is definitely my favourite so far. It follows Joyce as she comes to term with the loss of her unborn baby due to an accident falling down the stairs.
She feels this strange connection though with a random man she meets in a hairdressers. She is also remembering some one elses memories. She miraculously learns italian overnight.
I really enjoyed this book because I loved the whole idea and concept that Ahern came up with. Also I enjoyed the romance between them even though they only speak two or three times in the book. I can imagine them marrying and everything, Ahern gave you enough just to let you imagine what happens next.
My favourite part of this books concoction of good points was the humor. I loved the whole excursion to London with her father. Her crazy, funny and sweet father is what made this novel colourful for me.
He added the extra dimension. On the other hand it would have been nicer if the book had of had more time of the two main characters together. It felt almost unfinished. I was quite confused at the beginning as to what had happened to Joyce, I thought she had been in a car accident and I think that it would have worked without her having to lose her baby. Overall this novel was full of funny characters, hilarious jokes, romantic sections and the novel was fast-moving.
To make it better Ahern needs to add more bulk to her storylines. It was an excellent idea though. My Favourite Part: When Joyce and her father visit the antique roadshow and steal a bin and get on television for it! Never laughed so much. Also when they go on the viking bus! Saddest Part: When she moves in with her father and sees the blood stain on the carpet from when she fell and lost her baby… Cutest Part: View all 3 comments. Mar 10, Jennifer rated it liked it Shelves: Thanks for the Memories is a standalone, women's fiction novel written by Cecelia Ahern.
This book has a bit of magical realism added to it that gave it a pretty unique storyline. Imagine having a blood transfusion and suddenly being linked to the donor and vice versa. Pretty unreal, huh? Overall, I thought Thanks for the Memories was fun, sweet, and creative. Ahern took the slow lane on the highway just to go to the corner store in my opinion. This would have been the perfect plot for Thanks for the Memories is a standalone, women's fiction novel written by Cecelia Ahern.
This would have been the perfect plot for a short story versus a full-length novel. It's slow-going and long and I felt it for sure. I won't be reading this for a second time but it was an OK read overall.
When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning.
Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it's easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found. Jun 23, Ailsa rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have read a few of Cecelia Ahern's novels now although not her most famous, P. S I love You and to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what the hype is about. Its not even solely that the premise girl and boy gain long distance connection through blood transfusion requires a massive suspension of disbelief.
If there was any sort of real romantic pay-off I could accept quite a lot from a writer. But this story l I have read a few of Cecelia Ahern's novels now although not her most famous, P. But this story left me cold, mostly because I don't actually find it that romantic that you discover you're "perfect" for this guy once you've basically had your entire personality excised by his blood.
No joke, Joyce, the character in this novel goes from being a fun loving, vegetarian, estate agent to an authority of architechture leading to her being unable to perform her job , a speaker of several languages, a bit of a kill joy and a rabid meat eater.
And then she can meet the man of "her" dreams actually the man of the memories she's dreaming that have somehow been transmitted to her. I'm sorry, but what about being completely obliterated as a person ranks as romantic? Even more than my problems with this point of the plot is the fact that, in an attempt to extend the initial mystery of the novel's set up, we spend almost the entire book getting to the "good" bits of any romance - and its not even as if the novel had me in suspense.
In an attempt to not be completely negative, I will say that there were some good secondary characters in this novel Joyce's dad in particular and it wasn't an absolute chore to read. Eseentially it was a mindlessly sort-of enjoyable and entirely forgettable read. And that's the closest to an endorsement you're going to get from me. Unfortunately, I require a little bit more, even if it is "only" chick lit. Although I started reading this book and got a reading slump I started reading it all over right from the start and I just finished it today and I totally loved it.
I just loved the way that every chapter kept blowing my mind. It had some little jokes and funny parts that made me smile and laugh, but sometimes it was a bit annoying like the parts when Joyce's dad kept talking on Although I started reading this book and got a reading slump I started reading it all over right from the start and I just finished it today and I totally loved it.
It had some little jokes and funny parts that made me smile and laugh, but sometimes it was a bit annoying like the parts when Joyce's dad kept talking on how to make "jealous" an old man named Donald, by having a nice trip. And although he is a nice person sometimes he really annoyed me.
Anyway, Joyce and Justin's adventures kept making me so excited. They basically saw each-other almost everywhere they went and it was so adorable, so lovely to see them struggle just to meet. And then in the end the things were complicated but they made it, although I didn't like the ending that much,it could have lasted a few more pages before the end but it was cute and it still works.
I loved it. May 07, Alaine rated it it was amazing Shelves: What a wonderful book!!!! This book was one of those rare books that grabbed me from the first chapter, one that you can't put down, you just have to keep reading to find out what is going to happen to the characters and you read as fast as you possibly can.
This was such a beautifully told story from the first page to the last.
I loved the diversity of the characters, the pain, the relationships, I laughed until I nearly cried and then I cried when I felt their pain. The story is set mainly in Ir What a wonderful book!!!! The story is set mainly in Ireland and in a clever way tells you about a lot of the local architecture. It is about 2 people whose lives cross in a most unusual way and their, at times hilarious interactions with their own families and friends.
There is a scene in a hotel room between Joyce and her Dad when they laugh hysterically and just can't stop, then her elderly father laughs so hard he farts her word not mine and then has a little 'accident'.
This scene was so funny I had tears rolling down my face. It also had a touch of fairytale magic in it, yet was more a story about family relationships than romance. So thank you to Cecelia Ahern for a very entertaining book, I will definitely read more of your books now! View 1 comment. Jul 25, FreshGrads. Sg rated it did not like it. The year-old seems to have all going well for her: After a devastating miscarriage which also spells the last of her fast falling a Thanks for the Memories is the latest book by Cecelia Ahern, acclaimed author of bestseller PS I Love You as well as the youngest daughter of former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.
After a devastating miscarriage which also spells the last of her fast falling apart marriage, Joyce Conway moves in with her muddled and eccentric father. She begins recalling memories that do not belong to her. Instead, they belong to Justin Hitchcock, a divorced architecture guest lecturer in Dublin.
Despite reading several rave reviews of Thanks for the Memories and of the author herself, I was unable to apprehend the book's success. Barely reading up to a third of the book, it became so obvious what happened that it left me wondering when I would reach the romantic climax. I must say, I was kept waiting for a pretty long time. First I had to suspend all disbelief of the premise that two individuals might be connected through a blood transfusion.
Second, after much waiting, there was hardly much of a romantic climax per say. The two instantly deemed each other perfect upon finding out the source of their connection. Third, the book delivers far less than expected — characters show much promise with fun-loving, vegetarian Joyce and a geeky-cute architecture lecturer of a love interest. Interestingly, the supporting cast, Joyce's father, proves much more entertaining to read instead.
That said, it was characters like this that kept me through the book. Otherwise, Thanks for the Memories was hardly a chick lit read and only worth an attempt by Ahern's avid fans. For more book reviews, visit FreshGrads Reads. We also do reviews on food, movies and more in Singapore. Check us out here! Thanks for the memories is hilarious, moving and sad all at the same time, I've read this book about 4 times now and it never gets old I still find myself giggling when I put it down.
View all 6 comments. I picked up this book because of the blurb on the back that said, "Cecelia Ahern is queen of the modern fairytale. But it seems that whoever wrote that blurb has never actually read a fairytale, only knows that they have something to do with magic. Or something. And this book does have one incredibly unlikely magical element, which is already hard to buy into.
So you know that the hero and the heroine I picked up this book because of the blurb on the back that said, "Cecelia Ahern is queen of the modern fairytale.
So you know that the hero and the heroine are fated to be together from the very beginning. Unfortunately, they're both too childish, immature, and downright stupid to be able to manage it. The book would be about 50 pages long, if either character had a grain of sense to them.
Since they don't, they manage to drag on the tale for pages, by the end of which, I was hoping more for some kind of crippling accident to put them out of my misery than the promised "happy ending. When we were all together. When we used to have chats in the garden, under the weeping willow. Where I always used to hide and where he always found me.
When nothing was impossible and when the three of us, together forever, was a given. Justin is visiting Dublin to give a lecture on art and is persuaded to give blood. Joyce has just awoken after a terrible accident which has caused her to lose her baby and, by the looks of it, her marriage too. After the accident she has a blood transfusion to save her life and suddenly remembers things that have never happened to her, and information she didn't know before.
The pair have never met and yet are magically drawn to one another, due to Justin's blood saving Joyce's life. Both Joyce and Justin have become despondent with their lives; Joyce moves in with her father after the accident and her marriage falls apart. Justin is divorced and spends most of his time traveling around giving lectures to students that he feels really aren't that interested.
Their paths cross several times throughout the story, and each time they meet they become ever closer. I cried and I laughed more than I thought I would. The narrative is somewhat predictable and the story got slow and boring at times, but Thanks for the Memories is still a compelling read and makes for a delightful, if somewhat unbelievable, love story. If anybody asked me what three things I'd like to take with me on an island, I would say 2 books and a sunscreen lotion. The reason I bought this book was P.
I Love You, the movie.
How that happens is a bit out of the ordinary and without giving too much away I can safely say it was quite fun to read as Joyce decided to follow her instincts and walk the path that would eventually take her to Justin. All in all an entertaining read, just perfect for a day on the beach under a big tree with the sun winking cheerfully through the leaves above and the sound of the waves in the background. Apr 24, Marty rated it it was ok Shelves: Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of this book.
It took me a while to figure out what the problem was, because it's not that Ahern can't write. The prologue is beautifully written and sets up an intriguing mystery. Who is this woman? How pregnant is she? Has she lost the baby? How did she fall down the stairs? Who was on the phone?
I couldn't wait to get into the book and find out what happened. And then - I just didn't believe it. And I'm not even talking about the plot, as implausible as it is. B Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of this book. Boy donates blood, girl gets boy's blood after falling down the stairs, girls suddenly has all of the dude's memories. The problem was that I didn't believe the characters, at all.
They didn't seem like real people, they seemed like devices to churn the plot. I feel the need to give examples of what I mean, though they probably will seem petty. Joyce's dad is described as having planned his entire life out, yet when they're in London doesn't know how to pack a suitcase and makes a disaster of it. It seems like anyone who is all about organization should be able to fold his clothes and put them in a bag.
Joyce, on the other hand, is described as just rushing into things in life without thinking them through - yet she's spent the past ten years redecorating her house in a loveless marriage. So, she flies by the seat of her pants, but no affairs or other craziness outside of choosing drapes in all those years of boredom? Other stupid things that annoyed me: Justin, the boy blood donor, makes a slightly cheeky remark at an elderly lady in the dentist waiting room. Her response is to throw a magazine at his head.
That's just not really something people do, and Justin appears unsurprised and just keeps walking away. Then, Joyce again. She miscarries in the middle of her second trimester, and in one scene there is very detailed description of her pulling on her jeans.
I could go on, but I suspect I'm the only one who would be interested. Other that all that crap, though, there are other really well-written pieces sprinkled throughout the novel. At one point Ahern describes staring into a mirror, how your face looks like a stranger's. I never knew other people did that. The grieving that Joyce does for her baby, including her wanting to just be alone and feel self-pity - that was great. Not for Joyce, but you know what I mean. And the way Joyce and her dad talk about slowing down and enjoying the present rang very true for me.
So, in summary, eh. It wasn't my favorite, and I wouldn't recommend it to most people I know - though I do know a few that would probably really like it. Feb 04, Jamieson rated it it was amazing. After a horrible accident, Joyce Conway is trying to put her life back together. Her life and her marriage are in pieces, but Joyce tries to get back to living a normal life, despite advice from others.
But something is stopping her. She keeps having dreams of a beautiful blond haired girl, of places she has never been. She sees a beautiful woman in her dreams. Joyce sees and knows things she should not know. And it all started aft After a horrible accident, Joyce Conway is trying to put her life back together. And it all started after her accident. Wanting to get to the bottom of things, to discover the reason for her newfound knowledge, Joyce tracks down her blood donor… Justin Hitchcock is a lonely man.
Instead, he contends himself with touring universities, talking about art, about the only thing he has passion for in life. When a beautiful woman convinces Justin to give blood for the universities blood drive, Justin has no idea that giving away a few drops of his blood will change his life forever. He has no idea that by giving something from his heart, he may receive the very things he needs to heal it… I have been a long time fan of Cecelia Ahern since her novel P. Gabe winked. Kind of.
More of an acquaintance really. The slow-moving shoes? The black ones? These particular ones had one-hundred-and-twenty-millimetre heels. He tapped his finger. Brown brogues shuffled around one hundred and eighty degrees, in order to face the front. Lou was looking for red soles and black shoes.
Alfred had arrived early and had lunch with black shoes. Black shoes left the office with red soles. This, he thought about at the exact same time as sharing the uncomfortable silence that only an elevator of strangers could bring. There were a few sighs and one person tutted. The elevator doors closed and it ascended quickly. Lots of black shoes. Some with detail, some scuffed, some polished, some slip-ons, some untied. No obvious red soles. He noticed the feet around him beginning to twitch and shift from foot to foot.
One pair moved away from him ever so slightly. His head shot up immediately as the elevator pinged. There was a more helpful chorus of male yeses this time. She stepped in front of Lou and he checked out her shoes while the men around him checked out other areas of her body in that heavy silence that only women feel in an elevator of men.
The elevator moved up again. It had been his suggestion that there be no number thirteen on the elevator panel, but of course there was a thirteenth floor. The fourteenth was the thirteenth, and his offices were on the thirteenth. But it was known as the fourteenth.
Why it confused everybody, he had no idea: He exited on the fourteenth and stepped out, his feet sinking into the spongy plush carpet. He stopped at her desk and looked at her with a puzzled expression. While Alison moved about, Lou tried to get a glimpse of the soles of her shoes. He was still standing at her desk when she returned and once again refused to meet his eye as she sat down and began typing.
As inconspicuously as possible, he bent down to tie his shoelaces and peeked through the gap in her desk. She frowned and crossed her long legs. She grabbed the diary from her desk. Tight silk blouse, tight skirt, his eyes scanned her body before getting to her shoes.
Who measures heels in millimetres? Some people. As she turned around to question him, she caught him with his head tilted, studying her. Modern impressionism. Splashes and lines scraped into the canvas that somebody considered something, and which could easily be hung upside down or back to front with nobody being any the wiser. She viewed him with suspicion before returning her attention to her schedule. I just thought that you could change your work routine a little.
Instead of these manic days spent darting around, you could spend more time with fewer clients. Happier clients. Your sister. Your daughter.
Tell you how much I enjoyed screwing your brains out in the middle of discussing our appointments? A fluttering of some sort. He knew that I was new to the job and his advice to me was not to allow you to miss an important meeting again. Lou spent his life running from one thing to another, missing half of the first in order just to make it to the end of the other.
He did this all day every day, always feeling like he was catching up in order to get ahead. It was long and hard and tiring work. He had made huge sacrifices to get where he was. He loved his work, was totally and utterly professional and dedicated to every aspect of it. To be pulled up on missing one meeting that had not yet been scheduled when he had taken the morning off, angered him.
It also angered him that it was family that had caused this. If it was another meeting he had sacrificed it for, he would feel better about it, but he felt a sudden anger at his mother.
It was her that he had collected from hospital after a hip replacement, the morning of the meeting. He felt angry at his wife for talking him into doing it when his suggestion to arrange a car to collect his mother had sent her into a rage.
He felt anger at his sister Marcia and his older brother Quentin for not doing it instead. He was a busy man, and the one time he chose family over work, he had to pay the price. He hated hearing those words that he despised other colleagues using. Hated the excuses, their personal lives being brought into the office. To him, it was a lack of professionalism.
She nodded up and down, wide-eyed, like one of those toys with a loose neck. His dear friend Alfred was up to his tricks. Tricks that Lou had assumed up until now that he was exempt from. Alfred could never get by a day doing things by the book. He looked at things from an awkward angle, came at conversations from an unusual perspective too; always trying to figure out the best way he could come out of any situation.
The work-experience boy got confused by the missing thirteenth floor. We are on it! What is with everyone today? Why is a work-experience person handling the mail anyway? It only takes one person to get in the elevator and bring my bloody post up.
How can they be short-staffed? All she knew of him was that he reminded her of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, always seeming late, late, late for a very important date but managing to get to every appointment just in the nick of time.
He was a kind man to everybody he met and was successful at his job. Plus he was handsome and charming and drove a Porsche, and those things she valued more than anything else. Besides, everybody had a weak spot, and any man could be forgiven if their Achilles heel just happened to be her.
She stepped back inside. You want to get Alfred a pair of shoes? Just casually enquire, I want to surprise him. Black ankle boots, suede with water marks. I bought a pair of them last year. When they were in fashion. Lou sighed, collapsed into his oversized chair and held his fingers to the bridge of his nose, hoping to stop the migraine that loomed.
Maybe he was coming down with something. Something about the young man demanded he stop and offer him his coffee. Unable to concentrate on his schedule, Lou once again turned to look out at the city below. Gigantic Christmas decorations adorned the quays and bridges; giant mistletoe and bells that swayed from one side to the other thanks to the festive magic of neon. The river Liffey was at full capacity and gushed by his window and out to Dublin Bay.
The pavements were aflow with people charging to work, keeping in time with the currents, following the same direction as the tide. They pounded the pavement as they powerwalked by the gaunt copper figures dressed in rags, which had been constructed to commemorate those during the famine forced to walk these very quays to emigrate. Instead of small parcels of belongings in their hands, the Irish people of this district now carried Starbucks coffee in one hand, briefcases in the other.
Women walked to the office wearing trainers with their skirts, their high heels tucked away in their bags. A whole different destiny and endless opportunities awaiting them. The only thing that was static was Gabe, tucked away in a doorway, near the entrance, wrapped up on the ground and watching the shoes march by, the opportunities for him still not quite as equal as for those that trampled by. Gabe intrigued him. Not least because of his talent for recalling every pair of shoes that belonged in the building as though they were a maths timetable, but, more alarmingly, because the person behind those crystal-blue eyes was remarkably familiar.
In fact, Gabe reminded Lou of himself. The two men were similar in age and, given the right grooming, Gabe could very easily have been mistaken for Lou. He seemed a personable, friendly, capable man. It could so easily be Lou sitting on the pavement outside, watching the world go by, yet how different their lives were. Thirteen floors up and Lou felt like Gabe was staring straight at his soul, his eyes searing into him.
This confused Lou. His involvement in the development of this building entitled him to the knowledge that, beyond any reasonable doubt, from the outside the glass was reflective.
He could only have been looking at a reflection of some kind, Lou reasoned, a bird perhaps had swooped and caught his eye. He lifted up his hand, smiled tightly and gave a small salute. The phone rang. She cleared her throat. Alfred wears size eight brown loafers. Earlier, Gabe had asked if Lou needed an observant eye around the building, and so, picking up the phone, Lou rethought his earlier decision.
His name is Gabe and Harry will be expecting him. But call him Gabe. Oh, and Alison? While in the process of telling the truth, he had the almost admirable quality of telling a total and utter lie.
And through helping somebody else — Gabe — Lou was also helping himself; a good deed was indeed a triumph for the soul. Despite that, Lou knew that somewhere beneath his plotting and soul-saving there lay another plot, which was the beginning of a saving of a very different kind. That of his own skin. As much as he wanted to ignore it, it niggled. The fear was there, it was there all the time, but it was merely disguised as something else for others to see. Just like the thirteenth floor.
Yet, at the same time, it had been a pleasant meeting. Did he not want the job? Was this part of a joke, Lou? He looked out the window and saw Gabe still in the same place on the ground. A light rain was starting to fall, spitting against the window at first and then quickly making a tapping sound as it turned to hailstones. Gabe pushed himself back further into the doorway, tucking his feet in closer to his chest and away from the wet ground.
Alison squinted and moved her nose closer to the glass. His breath was momentarily taken away by a great gush and the rain alone felt like ice-cubes hitting his skin. Gabe was concentrating intently on the shoes that passed him, focusing his mind on something else, no doubt to try to ignore the elements that were thrashing around him. In his mind he was elsewhere, anywhere but there.
On a beach where it was warm, where the sand was like velvet and the Liffey before him was the endless sea. Gone was the look of warm contentment of that morning.
As Gabe watched the shoes, he was imagining them to be the feet of a local man working at the beach he was currently lounging on. The local was approaching him with a cocktail balanced dangerously in the centre of a tray, the tray held out and high from his body like the arms of a candelabra.
It was a hotter day than usual, the sand was crammed with glistening coconut-scented bodies and so he would forgive this local his shortcomings. The muggy air was slowing everybody down. The flipflop-clad feet that approached him sank into the sand, spraying grains of sand into the air with each step. As they neared him, the grains of sand became splashes of raindrops, and the flipflops became a familiar pair of shiny shoes.
Gabe looked up, hoping to see a multicoloured cocktail filled with fruit and umbrellas on a tray. Instead, he saw Lou with a pile of clothes over his arm, and it took him a moment to adjust once again to the cold, the noise of the traffic and the hustle and bustle that had replaced his tropical paradise. His hair had lost its Cary Grant-like sheen and neatly combed quiff, and the shoulders of his suit appeared to be covered in dandruff as the little white balls of ice falling from the sky nested in his expensive suit and took their time to melt.
When they did, they left dark patches on the fabric. He was uncharacteristically windswept and his usually relaxed shoulders were instead hunched high in an effort to shield his ears from the cold. Gabe simply smiled. He was more atuned to a song and a dance, an ooh and an ahh, a thank you and a declaration of indebtedness. What he did get was a quiet smile and, after Gabe had thrown off the blanket from his body and raised himself to his full height, a firm, thankful — and, in spite of the temperature, a surprisingly warm — handshake.
The doubt came breezing through like a stubborn guest through a hotel lobby with no booking, and Lou stood there, confused as to what decision to make. Where to put this doubt. Keep it or turn it away. He had many questions to ask Gabe, many questions he probably should have asked, but there was only one that he could think of right then.
He had wanted to be convinced, for his mind to be put at ease, but he did not count on receiving the kind of response he was given. Gabe barely blinked. On Reflection Gabe and Lou left the icy air and entered the warmth of the marble entrance hall. With walls, floors and pillars of granite covered by swirls of creams, caramels and Cadbury-chocolate colours, Gabe was just short of licking the surfaces.
Lou felt all eyes on him as he led the rugged-looking man through reception and into the Gents on the ground floor. Unsure of why, Lou took it upon himself to check each toilet cubicle before talking. Grey Gucci trousers, a white shirt, a grey and white striped tie. He fingered them all delicately as though a single touch would reduce them to shreds. While Gabe discarded his blanket in the sink and then went into one of the cubicles to dress, Lou paced up and down the urinals responding to phone calls and emails.
But then he slowly reared his head again, realising with a start that it was Gabe. The only thing to show that this was the same man were the dirty pair of Doc Martens beneath the Gucci trousers.
Everything fitted perfectly, and Gabe stood before the mirror, looking himself up and down as though in a trance. The warmth had replaced the coldness in his body and his lips were now full and red, his cheeks a nice rosy instead of the frozen pallid colour of before.
Let me know now and then about what you see. His voice was quiet. Thanks so much, Lou, really. Lou hurried him on and led him back out of the Gents and through the marble lobby to the elevators. Gabe offered the comb back to Lou. Lou shook his head and waved his hand dismissively, looking around to make sure nobody waiting with them by the elevators had seen the gesture.
You have an employer number, PRSI number, things like that? Gabe shook his head, looking concerned. His fingers ran up and down the silk tie, as though it were a pet and he was afraid it would run off.
Thanks again. Where do I —? His left hand was jingling the loose change in his pocket, his right hand glued to his ear. The mailroom. There was no reasonable explanation for why on earth he felt this, as Gabe was as soft, friendly and appreciative as he had been the very first moment Lou had met him, but there was something about the way he … there was just something.
Gabe moved to step in with Lou. Unable to think of what to say but running through the time in which it had taken him to get to his floor, he merely stared at Gabe open-mouthed. Alison jumped up from her chair and blocked him from entering his office. Lou watched him for a moment in wonder, and then snapped out of it. Where are my keys? There are three messages already on your desk from this morning alone! And besides, your family hate me as it is. Giving her a look that withered every part of her insides, he allowed two of his fingers to slowly crawl up her arm and to her hand, where he took the phone from her grasp.
He heard a cough coming from behind him and he quickly moved away and pulled the phone to his ear. With the squeaking mail cart that had miraculously failed to alert Lou this time. Alison very kindly passed them all on. Lou stood up a little taller then and watched Gabe. Lou noticed him take in the large en suite to the right, the floor-to-ceiling windows that displayed the city, the giant oak desk that took up more room than necessary, the couch area in the left-hand corner, the boardroom table to seat ten, the fifty-inch plasma on the wall.
It was as big or bigger than any Dublin city apartment. His expression was curiously unreadable and then their eyes met and Gabe smiled. It was an equally curious smile. More a look of amusement.
Whatever it was, it immediately killed the pride and satisfaction that were lined up in the queue of emotions Lou planned to experience next. Meanwhile, over the phone, Marcia continued her mindless chat, and Lou felt as though his head was getting hotter and hotter. Lou, are you listening?
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Lou, I really need your help on this. He stretched the phone cord to the corner of the room so that he could reach for his coat. In a messy twist of trying to get his coat on while keeping the phone tucked between his ear and shoulder, he dropped the receiver. He fixed his coat before swooping down to retrieve the receiver.
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Marcia was still talking. His phone rang in his pocket and he covered the speaker to silence the ring tone, wanting nothing more than to answer it. She was quiet for a moment. I just need you to help me choose one. Got it. What date are we having it? So what date is the nearest weekend?
The same as it was last year and every year before that. Both venues are ready to go. He pressed the elevator button and, while waiting for the floor numbers to climb up, busied himself with his phone.
Of all the times his phone decided not to ring. Then, for some unknown reason, guilt overcame Lou and he placed his phone into his pocket. Always a good night here. Lou looked away. In taking it out of her hands he was in fact making it easier on himself.
Taking this off her hands was a favour for her and a favour for him. Two things accomplished at once. Just what he liked. Unsure if Gabe was preaching or was just trying to be friendly, he quickly stole a glance at him to judge, but Gabe was just looking through the envelopes on his trolley, figuring out which floor to go to next. That was always the plan. Why the hell was he explaining himself? Finally, the doors opened and the crammed lift revealed room for only one person.
Gabe and Lou looked at one another. After only two stoppages, they reached ground level and, finding himself crammed at the back, Lou waited for everybody to unload. He watched the workers rush to the doors of the lobby for lunch, bundled up and ready for the elements. The crowd cleared and his heart skipped a beat as he caught sight of Gabe standing by the security desk with the trolley beside him, searching the crowds for Lou.
Lou slowly disembarked and made his way towards him. You were going to wait for the next elevator. From the fourteenth floor. Just less than thirty seconds ago. Then he flashed a porcelain smile that had the opposite effect to the warm fuzzy feeling it had given Lou that same morning.
Instead, it sent torpedoes of fear and worry right to his heart and straight into his gut. Those two places. Right at the same time. Bordering the sea, a row of houses lined the coast, like an ornate frame to the perfect watercolour. Windswept and eroded from a lifetime of salty air, they got into the great American spirit of housing giant Santas and reindeers on twinkling rooftops.
Every window with open curtains twinkled with the lights of Christmas trees, and Lou recalled, as a boy, trying to count as many trees on show as possible to pass the time while travelling. The lights of Dublin city twinkled beyond the oily black of the sea, like electric eels flashing beneath the blackness of a well. Howth had been the dream destination for as long as Lou could remember. Quite literally, his first memory began there, his first feeling of desire, of wanting to belong and then of belonging.
The fishing and yachting port in north County Dublin was a popular suburban resort on the north side of Howth Head, fifteen kilometres from Dublin city.
It was a village with history; cliff paths that led past Howth village and its ruined abbey, an inland fifteenth-century castle with rhododendron gardens, and many lighthouses that dotted the coastline. It was a busy, popular village filled with pubs, hotels and fine fish restaurants. Howth was a peninsular island with only a sliver of land to attach it to the rest of the country.
Only a sliver of land to connect Lou from his daily life to that of his family. A mere shred, so that when the stormy days attacked, Lou would watch the raging Liffey from the window of his office and imagine the grey ferocious waves crashing over that sliver, licking at the land like flames, threatening to cut his family off from the rest of the country. Sometimes in those daydreams he was away from his family, cut off from them forever.
In the nicer moments he was with them, wrapping himself around them to shield them from the elements. Behind their large landscaped garden was land, wild and rugged, of purple heather and waist-high uncultivated grasses and hay that looked out over Dublin Bay. Stretching out from the harbour was a pier, that Lou loved to take walks along, though he walked alone. Those days were either made up of a sun so hot he could still taste the ice-cream as soon as he set foot on the pier, or were so stormy that the wind whipped with such strength they would hang on to one another to avoid being whisked off land and lost to the sea.
On those family days, Lou would disappear into his own world. For on those days he was a pirate on the high seas. He was a lifeguard. He was a soldier. He was a whale. He was anything he wanted to be. For the first few moments of every walk along the pier, he would begin by walking backwards, looking at their car in the car park until the bright red colour was no longer visible and the people had turned into penguins; dark dots that waddled about the place without any defined movements.
Lou still loved walking that pier; his runway to tranquillity.
He loved watching the cars and the houses perched along the cliff edges fade away as he moved further and further from land. He would stand shoulder to shoulder with the lighthouse, both of them looking out. Here, after a long week at work, he could throw all of his concerns and worries out to the water and watch them land with a plop on the waves and float down to the floor below.
But the night Lou drove home after first meeting Gabe, it was too late to walk the pier. The power button on his view was off, all he could see was blackness and the occasional standby light flashing on a lighthouse.
So close to Christmas, every restaurant was throbbing with diners, Christmas parties and annual meetings and celebrations.
All the boats would be in for the night, the seals gone from the pier, their bellies full with the mackerel purchased and thrown to them by visitors. The winding road that led uphill to the summit was black and quiet now, and, sensing that home was near and that nobody else was around, he put his foot down on the accelerator of his Porsche He lowered his window and felt the ice-cold air blow through his hair, and he listened to the sound of the engine reverberating through the hills and trees as he made his way to Howth summit.
Below him, the city twinkled with a million lights, spying him winding his way up the wooded mountain like a spider among the grass. As icing on the cake to the day he had just had, he heard a whoop, and then, looking in his rear-view mirror, cursed loudly at the garda car that came up behind him, lights ablazing.
He indicated and pulled in, sat with his hands on the steering wheel and watched the familiar figure climbing out of the garda car. My apologies, the roads were quiet, I thought it would be okay. Dying to get home to the family. No pun intended. You just never know.
Both at the same time.
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With twelve as the maximum before losing his licence altogether, he was perched dangerously close with eight points already. He peeked at the sergeant and saw him grasping at his left pocket.
The sergeant winced and turned his back on Lou. He reached for the door handle and then thought better of it. The sergeant grunted something inaudible, the tone suggesting a warning of some sort.
Through the wing mirror, Lou watched him walk slowly back to his car. He had an unusual gait. He seemed to be dragging his left leg slightly as he walked. Was he drunk? Then the sergeant opened his car door, got back inside, started up the engine, did a u-turn and was gone. Lou frowned, his day — even in its twilight hours — becoming increasingly more bizarre by the moment.
Lou pulled up to the driveway feeling the same sense of pride and satisfaction he felt every night when he arrived home. He wanted the best of everything and, to him, size and quantity were a measure of that. There was a faint sound of a breathless and rather hysterical woman calling out movements from the television room down the hallway.
He loosened his tie and opened the top button of his shirt, kicked off his shoes, felt the warmth of the underfloor heating soothe his feet through the marble, and started to sort through the mail on the hall table.
His mind slowly began to unwind, the conversations of various meetings and telephone calls all beginning to slow.
Though they were still there, the voices seemed a little quieter now. Each time he took off a layer of his clothes — his overcoat flung over the chair, his suit jacket on the table, his shoes kicked across the floor, his tie onto the table but slithering to the floor, his case here, loose change and keys there — he felt the events of the day fall away. Perhaps she was busy breathing to the count of four, as the hysterical woman in the television room was doing.
This bothered him. Not the creaking, for it was an old house and not much could be done about that, but the being silenced was a problem. After a day of non-stop talking, of clever words of jargon, persuasion and intelligent conversation, deal opening, deal development and deal closing, not one person he had met with had at any point told him to Sssh.
This was the language of teachers and of librarians. Not of adults in their own homes. After only one minute of stepping through his front door, he felt irritated. That had been happening a lot lately. This kind of speech, though Lou understood, he did not like. Like the Sssh language, this adult-whispering was for children in class or teenagers sneaking out of or into their homes. So that irritated him too. A little over a year old now, he still held on to his baby fat, his flesh resembling the uncooked dough of a croissant or that of a pudding.
Hence the nickname Pud, which, unfortunately for the already christened Ross, seemed to be sticking around. He opened a few and discarded them on the hall table. Pieces of ripped paper drifted from the surface and onto the floor. Her long brown chocolate hair was tied back in a high ponytail and she shuffled towards him in a pair of slippers — the noise grating on his ears, worse than the sound of a vacuum cleaner, which, until that point, had been his least loved. Then, as quickly as he saw it, it disappeared again, leaving him to wonder if it was he who had imagined it, or if that part of her was there at all.
The face of the woman he saw every day stepped up to kiss him on the lips. After a long moment he felt the intensity of a stare. The paper fluttered to the floor. When I could finally find the phone. Pud hid the handset again, it took me ages to find it. He wants it in the yacht club. Your mum is staying out of it. So what did you tell her? She patiently watched him reading the last page of the document and waited for an answer. When he had folded it and dropped it on the hall table, he reached for another.
He looked up and gazed at her, as though noticing for the first time that she was there. Have you met her? She took a deep breath, her shoulders relaxing as she exhaled. Started again. And I bought that apple pie you like. A few pieces of paper fluttered to the ground. It was either the sound of the paper hitting the marble or his words that stopped her on her way, but either way she froze.
Rib-eye steak. Ruth took another deep breath, turned away from his mess and made her way to the opposite side of the house. When Lou rejoined his wife, she was sitting at the kitchen table eating lasagne and salad, the pie next in line to be eaten, watching women in spandex jump around on the large plasma in the attached informal living room.
She swallowed the food, feeling like a rock was going down her throat. He never intended to hurt her; he just did. After a long silence in which Ruth had lost the anger and built up the appetite to eat again, Lou joined her at the kitchen table, in the conservatory.
On the other side of the window the blackness clung to the cold pane, eager to get inside. Beyond it were the millions of lights of the city across the bay, like Christmas lights dangling from the blackness. I felt funny. I just feel … out of sorts. Just a gentle sleepy moaning at first. Knife and fork down and with the unfinished plate pushed away, Ruth prayed for him to stop.
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Her maternal instincts were kicking in and the only voice she could now hear was that of her child, as his sleepy moans turned to full-blown cries. Finally, the cries penetrated his thoughts. Halfway from the table to the kitchen door, she stopped. Where has all that come from?
The wails got louder. The child has been living in the world for over a year now, Lou. Lou looked around the room and held out his hands dramatically, emphasising the house.
You choose one thing over another. Instead, her shoulders shrank, her entire demeanour altered, as she gave up the fight and instead went to tend to her son. Lou reached for the remote control and held it towards the TV like a gun. He pressed the trigger angrily and powered off the TV. The sweating spandexed women diminished into a small circle of light in the centre of the screen before disappearing completely.
He reached for the plate of apple pie on the table and began picking at it, wondering how on earth this had all started from the second he walked in the door.
It would end as it did so many other nights: A few hours later he would wake up, work out, get showered and go to work. As he walked towards it to turn it off, he heard other noises that made him reach for the volume dial. He was speeding and you let him get away. You just let him off. You and your mother moved here recently? The boy nodded. He could kill someone speeding around like that. Go on. The Morning After At 5. The previous evening had gone exactly as predicted: The message was loud and clear.
Even as students, broke and staying in the worst accommodations he had ever experienced, with the temperamental heating and bathrooms they had had to share with dozens of others, things had never been like this. Now they had a giant six-foot-six bed, so big that even when they both lay on their backs their fingers just about brushed when they stretched out. Lou thought back to the beginning, when he and Ruth had first met — two young nineteen-year-olds, carefree and drunk, celebrating the end of first-year university Christmas exams.
After that night, Lou had thought about her every day while back home with his parents for the holidays. With every slice of turkey, every sweet wrapper he unravelled, every family fight over Monopoly, she was in his mind. Lou stared at the ceiling and smiled, remembering how each year he and his siblings — paper crowns on their heads and tongues dangling from their mouths — would get down to counting every crumb of stuffing on their plate, long after his parents had left the table.
But it was matched that year, and then beaten by Quentin, because the phone had rung and it had been her, and that had been it for Lou. Childish ways were put behind. Or that was supposed to be the theory of when he became a man. The nineteen-year-old of that Christmas would have longed for this moment right now. He would have grabbed the opportunity with both hands, to be transported to the future just to have her right beside him in a fine bed, in a fine house, with two beautiful children sleeping in the next rooms.
He looked at Ruth beside him in bed. She had rolled onto her back, her mouth slightly parted, her hair like a haystack on top of her head. He smiled. Study had always come so easily to her, while he, on the other hand, seemed to have to burn the candle at both ends in order just to scrape by. She could do it all at once. Ruth had led the way for everybody, always bored with sitting around. He was the life and she had been the soul of every party and every day. She made score cards, wrote out questions, included tacky music and fake applause into every quiz they had.
Food shopping was a game; with her controlling the list of treats like a game-show host. For a box of popcorn answer her this. They planned to go to Australia together after university. Determined to succeed and follow friends over there, they spent the year saving for the flights; him working behind a bar in Temple Bar while she tended tables. He could at least do that for her.
In the year waiting for him to finish, Ruth completed a Business Masters Degree. Just for something to do. She never once pushed it in his face, never made him feel a failure, never celebrated any wonderful achievement of her own in order not to make him feel any less. She was always the friend, the girlfriend, the life and soul of every party, the A student and achiever. Was that when he started resenting her?
All the way back then? Because when that happened, he forgot all sense of himself.
He was invincible, there would be no consequences and no repercussions. Ruth had caught him with the nanny six months previously. There had only been a few incidences with her in particular, but he knew that if there were levels of fairness for having affairs, which in his opinion there were, sex with the nanny was somewhere close to the bottom.
There had been nobody since then, apart from a fumble with Alison, which had been a mistake. If there were levels of acceptable excuses for having affairs, and there were for Lou, then that would have been at the top. He looked at her. Her figure appeared then, a pink-sleeping-suited five-year-old, dragging her blanket along the ground behind her, her chocolate-brown hair and fringe tousled from her sleep.
Her big brown eyes were the picture of concern. She stood at the end of the bed and Lou waited for her to say something. He frowned. So they are judges on the Find a Star show, and then Pontius Pilate sings and everybody boos and then Judas sings and everybody boos and then Jesus sings and then he wins because he has the X-factor. She looked exhausted. He made his way around to Ruth. About that. I told you to put this in your diary last month. Alison replaced her.
So maybe there was a problem when they switched over. The school play and then dinner with your mum, dad, Alexandra and Quentin. And Marcia might be coming, if she can move around her therapy session. Boats, boats, and more bloody boats. She slapped down slices of ham, tossed a slice of cheese at it then pushed down on the bread and sliced it diagonally with a sharp knife.
She moved about the kitchen, slamming presses and violently ripping tin foil from the teeth of the packaging. Ruth just looked at him and said nothing, allowing her stare to speak for her.
On her look, he rephrased it with more meaning. A full hour before another soul would arrive, it was important for him to be the first in, it made him feel efficient, ahead of the pack. Pacing the small empty space of the elevator and wishing it was like that every day, he revelled in not having to stop at any other floors before getting to the fourteenth.
He stepped out of the elevator into the quiet corridor. He could smell the products left behind from the cleaning staff last night. The carpet shampoo, furniture polish and air-fresheners still lingered, as yet untainted by morning coffee and body smells. Outside the glistening windows it was still pitch black at the early winter hour, and the windows seemed cold and hard.
The wind whipped outside and he looked forward to leaving the eerily empty corridors and getting to his office for his morning routine. En route to his office he stopped suddenly in his tracks. He walked briskly towards the door and his heart began pounding with anger as, through the open door, he saw Gabe moving around his office. He yelled, then ran and fired his fist at the door, punching it open and watching it swing violently.
He opened his mouth to yell again, but before he could get his words out he heard another voice coming from behind the door. He thought back to the previous night, replayed finishing up his paperwork and filing them away, as always, unable to leave his desk with unfinished work. Gabe stared back unblinkingly. That shows such dedication to the job. It catches it indeed. A glare and a grin. Mr Patterson watched the exchange with growing discomfort.
What, em, what exactly are you doing in my office, Gabe? There are so many floors for me to get through in such a short period of time, I wanted to figure out who was where. Just like that! I finish my shift at lunchtime and would be only too happy to help out around here for the rest of the afternoon. Well, Melissa can fill you in on the details, time and venue, etc. While Lou turned to glare at Gabe, he heard a familiar cheery call behind him.
Alfred was a tall man, six foot with white-blond hair, kind of like an oversized Milky Bar kid who had melted and been moulded back together by the hands of a child. He always spoke with a smirk on his face and in the kind of accent that came with being privately schooled in England, despite spending the summers in Ireland, where he was from.
His nose was disjointed from his rugby days and he swanned around the office, as Gabe had observed the previous day, kicking the tassels of his boat shoes in the air, one hand in his pocket, with the air of someone — a naughty schoolboy — who was up to tricks. Gabe imitated him, confidently giving Alfred the once-over. A peculiar thing for most, apart from Lou, whose heart was pumping at a ridiculous rate at the sight of the black slip-ons and the brown loafers.
The exact shoes Gabe had described to Lou the previous morning. So Alfred was meeting with Mr Patterson. Lou looked from Alfred to Mr Patterson, feeling a sense of betrayal. Mr Patterson bid farewell and took off down the corridor, swinging his briefcase jollily in his hand.
Their shake was cold and limp and their hands quickly fell by their sides. Alfred even wiped his on his trouser leg, whether it was consciously done or not. Lou gave me a job. What the hell is going on with you? Hey, can I use your bathroom? No, not here, Alfred, just use the restrooms. He smirked and winked at Lou before making his way to the toilet. From the office, Lou and Gabe could hear loud sniffing. Lou rolled his eyes. Here, I got you this. Not dinner. Oh, come on, Lou, you know this one.
Gabe exited the office and made his way towards the elevator, the squeaking of the wheel loud in the empty hallway. Nobody knows that! Lou watched as Gabe pressed the call button for the elevator and lingered by the doors, while the elevator began to rise from the ground floor. The bathroom door opened and Alfred exited, rubbing at his nose and sniffing. Hey, where did you get the coffee? Ever heard of a thing called temptation? Did I hit a sore point?
But Gabe was gone. The elevator pinged and the doors opened, revealing nobody inside, and with nobody to step in. In the reflection in the mirror that lined the back wall of the elevator, Lou could see the confusion written all over his face.
The Juggler At five p. From the door to the desk, from the desk to the door, and back again. Over and over again. Not unlike Mr Patterson, he too had family commitments. Tonight, Laurence, his daughter was going to be a leaf. For some reason it made him weaken at the knees. Alison eyed him curiously from her desk, looking up from her typing each time he reached the doorway.
Finally, the sounds of her acrylic nails against the keys stopped. He straightened himself up, fixed his tie, and cleared his throat. He began pacing towards his desk again but then stopped himself and poked his head outside the door. So he might not be expecting me? I mean yes. Seconds later he poked his head out the door again. Mr Patterson has asked me to do a few jobs for him around here, so I thought it would be a good idea to look a bit more respectable.
A new dark suit, similar to one that Lou owned, was draped over his shoulder and covered in plastic. This is just for me to have. I believe Lou wanted to see them. How did you get them so quickly? At least, I think so. Just wondering.
Is Alfred free this evening? Lou knows that Alfred is available to meet with Bruce, if Lou decides to back out. He closed his office door, no doubt startling them both.She never once pushed it in his face, never made him feel a failure, never celebrated any wonderful achievement of her own in order not to make him feel any less.
You picked a good one, Lou, I owe you. Paperback Verified Purchase. He climbed to the right-hand side and, once settled, he focused on the columns of cement that held the roof up and watched them swaying. Both venues are ready to go. Maybe it was the other one, the one with the really big boobs.