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ROLLING WITH JAMES JOYCE ON AN IRISH HILL

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ODE TO THE BOOKISH GIRLS

The Bunkmates story

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“Sometimes you just need bunkmates and a change of scene…”

Did I ever tell you the story of the time I stayed in town? Well, winter here was a distant thought. I was staying in this old hospital turned hostel, with a dark bearded man as my bunkmate. We barely spoke to one another, out of courtesy rather than hostility. We were there because we wanted to be alone; the presence of one another necessary only to prevent us from completely isolating ourselves from the world.

I would spend my mornings walking around town in a shirt dress and a hat, drying the sweat off my neck with a silk scarf and fending off street vendors who would want to sell me jewellery and fajitas. I would buy fruit from the vending stand that stood at the last point of the long line of vendors; carrying it in a plastic bag, I would go sit on the front steps of this abandoned house I had found and have lunch there. The evenings I spent sipping whisky at a bar while hoping nobody would talk to me and tell me their life story.

The village was a space for heat and dirt; where women donned black layers of filth under their nail beds and bald men wore handkerchiefs as scarves on their heads. I would go back to my room in the afternoon for my siesta and so would my bunkmate. I never knew what he did with his mornings or his evenings. All I know is he trimmed his beard as soon as he rose and washed his hair every day. A curtain was the only thing that separated the small bathroom from our room.

Story credits: Devergo Jeans.

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