some of her fellow teachers and became unwontedly intoxicated. Shesealed the head of the department in his own wardrobe, intending toimprison him there until he asked her to marry him. As he knockedpolitely from the interior, a sudden clearing of her thoughts revealedthe ridiculousness of her strategy. In a rising key Éadaoin O’Herlihy requested she open the door. He did not ask for her hand. Not able to askhim to marry her—oh, she was through with questions—she quietly leftthe room, feeling her blood chilling and slowing, and rejoined the partyin the kitchen. He was released from the wardrobe by Nuala Smyth, anattractive, impetuous woman who was later dismissed from her post forattending a fancy dress party as St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
On the fourteenth of June 1958 she married Éadaoin O’Herlihy at theUniversity Church, St. Stephen’s Green, but not before he had steppedout with Nuala Smyth for a year. Éadaoin brought his wardrobe to thenew house on Charleston Road, Ranelagh. The wardrobe was made ofrosewood, a valuable item. Under its brittle varnish the melting toffee ofits wood ran expensively. Its heavily carved pediment reminded her ofthe entrance to the Dominican College, Eccles Street. She could not lookat the wardrobe’s brass handles without seeing the small, dextrous handof Nuala Smyth on them and feeling in her centre a soft subtraction, aminor fall of the soul. She could not enter or exit the wardrobe withoutwearing a hat and gloves, clean white, sister Dymphna looking on, herlaundered teeth on show. The wardrobe, Éadaoin explained to her, hadbelonged to his grandmother and therefore could not be sold or otherwise disposed of.
On November the first 1960 she was delivered of a boy in Holles StreetHospital. Two weeks premature, the boy was grey, wrinkled, bound inwhite streamers of vernix. The nurse swaddled the child in a blanket.Éadaoin was called from the waiting room. The boy was five and a halfpounds in weight and showed no deformities, such as extra digits orlimbs. They named him Colm. Éadaoin held him and walked to andfro at the foot of the bed, slack-mouthed, sprung-eyed, his face newlyopened to surprising enormities, unenvisioned vistas. She did not dareask herself if she was happy or sad. She had wanted a girl. Éadaoin hadwished for a boy. When Éadaoin left the delivery room she saw the palelozenge of his face behind the warp of the glass, and then there was onlythe click of his capped brogues down the corridor. Later that day her