RHEA AND HILARY – 1
Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.”
A big white rented pulled to the curb outside the Connolly residence. Neighbors were peeking behind curtain and small children rode their bikes in circles to watch the action. The row housing had been built and rents subsidized, by Arthur Guinness the brewer in the 1930s.
Stephanie Connolly opened the front door and ran to hug her sister, Rhea.
“I packed the rest of your things, Rhea.”
She turned to the second woman, “Oh, and you must be Hilary. Thanks for moving my sister. Look at boxes. Dad won’t let me move any more.”
Stephanie pointed towards the piles of boxes and suitcases piled outside the front door. Two neigbourhood kids rode their bikes in circles outside the house not wishing to miss a thing.
The first kid shouted a question.
“Jaysus, Rhea are yer headin’ for Hollywood then?”
His companion added, “I heard yer da wuz bellowing like a bull at ya. Did Jimmy Doyle put a bun in yer overn? He’s gone dat to lotsa girls.”
Rhea ignored them. She turned to Hilary.
A male voice bellowed from inside Rhea’s home.
“Stephanie, get into the house, now. Your sister caused this bloody mess and she can move her own boxes, or let her ‘lady-friend’ do it as well.”
There was a note of sarcasm when he pronounced ‘lady-friend.’
“Jaysus, is you a lesbian now?” asked the first kid.
“Tony Ryan, go and watch paint dry!”
Rhea stepped into the hallway.
“How are ya, ma and pa?” Rhea called out.
t”Welcome to your home, Rhea.” yelled a supporive Stephanie. “A high degree of Catholicism is practiced here, starting with when they kicked you out!”
Rhea looked at Hilary who gave her a comforting wink.
“Help me with this one, Hilary, it’s as heavy as a boulder.”
Hilary glanced sideways into the sitting room. Stef waved to her, but the male and female adults never lifted their heads from the newspapers. After the van had been loaded, Rhea and Hilary returned to the house for the final box.
“Be seeing you, Stef.” Rhea called out. Stef bolted from the table and threw her arms around her sister. Between sobs, she yelled at the adults.
“Call yourselves Catholics? I will never forgive you!”
Mr. Connolly rose and confronted Stephanie.
“Wait a minute, young lady. Get the facts right! Rhea used her newspaper job to write that disgusting homosexual article. All of Ireland read it!”
It was now his wife’ turn.
“How could you ruin the good reputation of your father? He was recently promoted to the third degree rank of the Knights of St. Columbus. Sure, didn’t the neighbors take pictures of him in his grand uniform. And there was a picture of him in the newspaper.”
Stephanie cut her mother short.
“Ma, they were making fun of him. He was called the ‘Holy Roman’ Emperor.’ Someone else shouted, ‘Is it Halloween, Lord Connolly!’ Calling him a ‘Lord, just shows that they think him a snob. Isn’t he just a Guinness brewery worker like the rest them?
Mr. Connolly responded.
“I’ve always loved the Church and the Church has rewarded me as a Knight. At work, I have prayer meetings for alcoholics and those having domestic troubles. Sure, I’m loved at work. Those who don’t love me are either jealous or atheists!”
Mrs. Connolly put an arm around her husband.
“James, we’ve done our duty. We took the girls to Mass every Sunday. Now, one of them has disgraced the family. Now that isn’t our fault, is it?”
Rhea turned to Hilary, “This is why I wanted an education. I need to flee from Neanderthal parents.”
Mr. Connolly barked, “God gave you the brains to get a scholarship. Gave you a better step up in life than I ever got, and what did you do? You turned against God and entered Satan’s camp. For the last time I ask, ‘how in God’s name could you be a homosexual?
Stephanie ran upstairs and flung herself on the bed. She opened the Irish national newspaper. Underneath her sister’s picture was the title, A Modest Proposal for the Elimination of the Gay Menace. Tears trickled down Stephanie’s face. All her sister had done to mimic Jonathan Swift’s 18th century writing, “A Modest Proposal” and change the subject to getting rid of homosexuals.
Dean Jonathan Swift – author of Gulliver’s Travels and “A Modest Proposal.’