Often you try to make nice with the people in your room, give them a greeting and maybe say which beds are taken. But as previously mentioned many times on this blog, most people give a head nod and simply pass you by. This place however took me completely by surprise.
Check in https://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Abrahams-Hostel/Dublin/109 bag down, blah, blah, blah, up to my room. Four beds taken, three vacant, one reserved for me. You can usually tell girls stuff apart from guys by what they’ve laid out; boots, pink towels, purses or handbags, etc. It’s nice rooming with ladies, so when I saw her stuff on the floor I was pretty happy. I was about to turn the light on when I saw her asleep. Figuring she’s had a long day, I let her be and went out. Finding the cheapest convenience store I picked up dinner and went back. Again, I was quiet but eventually she woke up.
“Good morning,” I said with the street lights coming in through the window.
She waved and rolled over.
When she was a little more conscious we got to talking. Diana was from Brazil and spoke in broken English. My Portuguese is non-existent, but luckily we both had translate apps. I could’ve just left it there with the simple introduction but she asked me something that gave me pause.
“Is it safe to go outside at night?”
Now when I’m doing my fiction writing I invent conflict, make stuff up, but this is honesty what she told me. She’d been mugged a week before; in a different country. She showed me the fresh stab wound on her back in the process of scabbing over. She didn’t want to walk to the store and pick up dinner, so she said she’d wait till morning. I put my shoes on.
The store was only a few minutes away, but we walked further to a pizza shop. We sat and chatted, exchanged stories of travel and whatnot. She was going to the Giants Causeway the next day so I showed her some of the snaps I’d got. When we returned, the three other guys were back; English with an Indian background. It turns out they live very close to my family in the UK. Small world, right? While Diana was in the bathroom, the other three beds filled; a trio of frat boy, also English on a weekend binge. The three of them and the Indian guys were a fair bit younger than me and Diana. When they heard there was a girl in the room, they reacted as you’d expect. To quell any sort of flirting frenzy, I quickly said:
“Gentlemen she’s much too mature for you and beside’s I’ve already taken her to dinner.”
The absolutely deafening roar that erupted from the six of them was like being at a rock concert. My face went so red so fast after I’d realized what I’d said. When Diana came back, we all acted like gentlemen. And when she asked me to untangle her necklace from her hair, the boys gave me ‘the look.’
And that was all within the first 6 hours.
A day later, after she’d gone to see the jagged coast of North Ireland, we spent the morning together. It was with her that I saw the library at Trinity College. Besides the amazing look of the library there was a distinct scent, like fresh cedar mingling with the unmistakable smell of old books. We didn’t spend too long there, just enough time to see it and rush off to the next place. We paced around to outside of Dublin Castle before heading back. She gave a thank you and the briefest of goodbyes. We shared a silent look at each other for a split second- and then she left; she was going to be late for her flight. I smiled and shrugged it off. I think we both knew.
After that the rest of the week was quite boring actually; work, book, blah, blah, blah. When the frat boys left a few others took their place, but nothing exciting happened compared to those first two nights. There is one thing to mention actually. Now I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but we did have a native Irish guy that was slightly- hostile- towards the English/Indian guys. He spat some random drunken babble their way before first insulting Britain then casually throwing out racist remarks at their Indian background. They kinda laughed it off, for a bit, before going silent. He pestered for a while more before shutting up himself. I seriously thought there was going to be a shouting match, or even come to blows.
So Dublin’s been a handful so far…