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He drove slowly out of the Dublin airport car park and headed south. He was returning home, a reluctant hero after having been away for ten years. He had been born to a mentally unstable mother and a father who resented him. He would soon be twenty-eight years old. He had been both mentally and physically abused all through his childhood. At the tender age of five, he had learnt to stay out of his mother’s reach whenever possible and never to be on his own with her. In the big old manor where they lived, he found places to hide to avoid her. In his childish mind, he came to believe that was how all mothers and fathers treated their children. When he commenced going to school, he found out that all other children had mummies and daddies that they did not have to hide from. He was different; he had a mother and a father, but he would have loved to have had a mummy and a daddy. His thoughts came back to the present and why he was making this journey. Would his presence in the village cause problems for the mother of his son, a son he had never seen? She had written and told him to stay away, that his letters were causing friction with the new man in her life. He had to try one last time face to face. If she said, ‘No, you cannot see your son’, he would drive back to Dublin, get a flight to New York, and try and forget the past. It had taken him ten years to muster up enough courage to come home. He knew he was not very big on courage. Others thought he was a hero. He had come to accept the truth about himself – he knew he was no hero.

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