It’s small secret among those of use who like to drink that there are two worlds, existing almost alongside one another. I’m sure the Germans have a word for this impression: You leave a pub or club or some evening haunt and the street is a mess of drunks chatting, smoking, taking two hours to organise themselves into a taxi.
And then maybe twelve hours later you find yourself on that same street, but you don’t notice at first. Until some shopfront now unboarded or a lazy tree branch reminds you, and you realise this is the same place as last night. Except it isn’t. You know that it isn’t.
Similarly my route out of Dublin, which I intersected five hundred times by bus before it was ever my way home. And now I cycle through that cross heading south without ever thinking of all those evenings I watched it, half asleep, forehead lolling on the shuddering window. But it returns to me some Fridays, homestead bound. I pass on the bus and for a moment see only that same old view before starting, and seeing that what I’m looking at is now my daily run. Except it isn’t. Not from here.
The sense of dual realities is overpowering. Visceral. But I could put it down to a trick of the mind, of memory. I could, I mean, if it weren’t for that postbox. The one I only see from the bus. The one that won’t exist on my cycle south. I can’t explain that. I wonder if it’s there right now. I wonder what’s in it.