Belfast Telegraph

Did throwing charm in the bin really change my luck?

By Nuala McKeever

Boy will I be glad to see the back of this year. I never liked it from the start. I said to M on New Year's Eve last year, as we were slumped on separate couches, coughing up our lungs with that bug thing that was going around, "2013, don't like this number, doesn't feel good."

Hmmmm... I'm sure it wasn't that I invited "bad luck" into the year, but sometimes I wonder. I don't believe in superstitious nonsense. Honestly. But sometimes, in the wee small hours of the morning, when the whole wide world is fast asleep, you lie awake and think about Frank Sinatra singing that song and worry about silly things.

Like the day I threw out a wee plaster angel that had been given to me by a traveller woman whom I'd befriended. The rather gaudy figure (the statue, not the woman) had sat on my mantelpiece for a couple of years after she'd pressed it into my hand with the promise, "This will bring you luck, I see babies for you and great happiness with your man."

Well, she was right about the happiness, but the babies never materialised and anyway, I don't believe in superstitious nonsense, do I?

This past April I decided, finally, to redecorate the house. Time to de-clutter, freshen-up, create new space for the big change I kept saying I felt was coming in my life, even though I couldn't say what the change was going to look like. I just felt it in my waters.

So I was moving all the dust-collectors into either a box for saving or into the bin or charity shop bag for getting rid of, prior to painting. I lifted the gaudy angel figurine off the mantelpiece and was going to put it in the bin when something made me pause. I felt a slight shiver of misgiving.

"What if I throw it away, will that call down a shower of bad luck and punishment on my head? Will it invoke the wrath of the gods I don't believe in? Should I keep it, just in case?"

It was old, childish, fear of the devil, scary superstitious nonsense. I shrugged it off with a snort and a dismissive, "Oh don't be stupid. Put it in the bin. I won't be dictated to by superstitious nonsense like that!"

And into the bin it went.

Two days later the awful thing happened.

I don't believe in superstitious nonsense. Really I don't. I know there's no connection. I know there's nothing to feel guilty about. I know that.

But still...

The mind craves sense, reason, logic, cause and effect. I did this, therefore that happened.

I think I'm telling you all this to get it out of my mind and into the open, in the hope that turning it into words will expose it for the silly thing it is and strip it of its power to haunt me in the wee small hours.

It IS silly. And yet, part of me doesn't want to let it go, even though it's painful.

As time slides forward and the rest of the world moves on, it seems more and more that it's only in these small painful moments that connection still lasts.

And I don't want to lose connection, so I'll take the pain, if that's what keeps him real and here and present, connected.

I'd rather be in the dark, silent place with discomfort than be up on the surface in the light, if down here's the only place he is.

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