Patrick Murphy was one of those people for whom nothing ever seemed to go wrong. We grew up together and, as children, it was always I who caught the smack Patrick missed as he dodged the farmer whose fields we had invaded, or I who recieved the penance for talking during Mass, though it was Patrick who had laughed aloud. I resented him like hell, and sometimes downright hated him. Strange thing was, he was my best friend.
Now, the other mystery to me is how somebody as purely golden as Patrick was could choose to spend his time with such a Jonah as myself. Where Patrick succeeded, I failed. Where Patrick had good luck, my bad luck was the only luck I had at all. I used to joke that if Patrick ever made it to the end of the rainbow, he would find two pots of the leprechauns' gold but if I made it, I would be bitten by the leprechaun.
The height of Patrick's good luck came in 1858, early in the year, when his parents decided to move the family to New York. I was out working with my father in his fishing boat and when we docked, Patrick was standing there.
"Micheál!" he called as the boat docked and when I got out, looking curiously towards him, he blurted out,
"I'm going to New York!" I stared. It was unlike Patrick to lose composure, but he was shaking with anticipation and wringing his hands. His grin stretched from ear to ear and as I walked back to the villige with the day's catch in a net he was dancing down the road beside me.
"Da's bought the tickets," he explained, "Mother didn't want to tell us until it was sure, but we're going, Micheál.We're really going." He kept telling me all the details, but I tuned him out mentally. Losing Patrick and his parents and siblings, who had live next door to us my entire life was not a thought I liked. I guess I had imagined us all growing up and staying in the village forever, though when I gave some thought to the idea it wasn't at all what I would have wanted for my sisters and brother. But...