This is how I found driving again on the other side of the road, in the pouring rain, on a route which was familiar and painful at the same time, only this time with my wife F at my side. Half asleep by the time we had crossed the Meath-Roscommon border. The rain not preparing for truce, my mind wandering about years gone by: thousands of days, millions of hours spent without my daughter. She is 12 now. I haven’t had a glimpse of what she’s like since September 2014. A glimpse is the proper word, as she just looked at me from inside her mother’s car left with the engine running in front of a nice hotel in Castlebar.

Silence and nothing since then. It is the end of January 2017. Alicia’s aunt’s words over the phone have flooded over me like a small river running violent and constant over time. We were on the phone for more than an hour and what I understood was basically what Dr. D. had told me half an hour before.
K, Alicia’s mother, had tried to kill herself by cutting her wrists with a kitchen knife. In the kitchen, where Alicia and her two little twin brothers found her. It is unclear whether Alicia0’s mother, N, was there or came right after. Alicia sent help desperate messages to her friends and cousins. N called the family doctor. He came and did not report anyone (the social workers should have been called straight away). K was brought to hospital. Alicia and her twin brothers found shelter in M’s house but are now in foster care home. There is going to be a Court hearing tomorrow to decide a provisional custody, which will be given to the foster care family. M called Alicia’s school principal who called the social services who stepped into this mess. And into this mess I stand. Again. After years of silence and pretended oblivion.

I have driven on this road countless times and now, at some stage, in the dark, I feel lost and I am lost, meaning I have not a single clue of where I am, what turn to take, how long to drive yet to get… I was to say home. A kind of it. One hallucinating and soft, like a permanent coma, only you do not know what side you are and what is the healthy side: who’s the one lying on the bed motionless and who’s the doctor coming every day to give a worried eyebrow lift. And then move to the next. But I really don’t know where to go now, metaphor aside. I do not want to wake F up – and she wouldn’t know it anyway being her first time in Ireland – so I let the car follow a road we both know too well.

I’m building no expectations. I just have a whole lot of sleeping cells going crazy in my stomach. I keep my hands on the wheel. The future is uncertain, the end is always near.

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