Welcome Backwards to Ireland - an excerpt from The Troubles

(please keep in mind this is still in editing)

At the beginning of August 1976, I stepped off a plane in Shannon Airport, Ireland, filled with a sense of excitement and my bags loaded with countless pairs of socks and underwear personalized by Mom. She’d started with hand-sewn white tags, moved onto iron-on tags, and finally resorted to writing just my name inside with a magic marker the same as she’d done for Roger years before when he went to Dungannon Royal. I’d been prodded and poked with fingers and needles to ensure I wouldn’t infect Ireland with some disease or vice versa, and it had all been well worth it.

I couldn’t have been happier when Mom and Dad sat me down and explained I’d be going with Roger to boarding school, not Dungannon Royal as he’d suggested, though, because Northern Ireland was too dangerous, but to a school in the Irish Republic. Anything was better than Romig Junior High back home. I’d heard all about the place being a real house of horrors where bullies forced little kids like me to do awful things like push quarters around toilet seats, and if the quarter fell in? 

I shuddered. 

“Welcome back to Ireland, son,” Mom said, interrupting my thought.

I inhaled deeply, savoring the mixed aroma of burned jet fuel, damp, grass, and cow manure. 

Mom said I must be starving and took me for a bite to eat at the airport hotel, but it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner, and the restaurant wasn’t open. The lady at the front desk said ach not to worry, find yourself a place to sit and we’d be brought a pot of tea with some sandwiches, would ham and cheese be okay? Ham and cheese would be just lovely, thanks. We settled for a cozy spot off from the main lobby. 

Soon after the tea arrived with a plate of fancy-looking sandwiches with the crusts cut off. They looked delicious. I eagerly bit into one and felt something cold and greasy in my mouth, but since my rumbling stomach did not reject it, I continued eating.

As another lump of sandwich slid down my throat, the lady hurried up to us and, out of breath, told us we had to clear the hotel immediately. “We’ve had a threat.”

I continued munching away, waiting for Mom’s lead. 

Click to read the first four chapters, including the below excerpt.