At the age of fifteen, Jenny was a gentle serving girl, with grace beyond her years. She feverishly pencilled the still life beating the clock.
She could do anything with her hands, and they were strong but at the same time feminine enough to wear a ring,
should the day come when her father would have her married in a small ceremony at Saint Killians.
Footsteps on the porch reminded her of her duty and she dropped the journal behind the sofa resuming her place at the sink.
Her confident hand twitched as she set about peeling potatoes for the stew. She dropped the cubes into a large pot pairing them with the carrots.
Her father, Matthew Kilkenny, a giant brooding mantis of a man, crashed through the door ambushing her. “Where’s your mother?”
“She’s gone to market to get the mutton,” she stammered burying the knife.
“Aye, well, start then!” The wood stove was scarce of logs and his face stormy as he fumbled for his pipe disappearing into their sunroom.
It was cold now at sunset on the edge of the forest and she wanted to stay in the warm cottage. The trees were ashen, the sky black and the emerald-sea frozen.
The crunch of tires on gravel made their painful approach minutes later, and her mother trudged up the driveway carrying a cardboard box she’d unloaded from the Volkswagen.
She unwrapped newspaper and dropped rough cuts of mutton into the saucepan, her eye blackened from a recent chastisement.
“Father wants whiskey.” Forgetting spirits was a capital offence in this joyless home. She waited for Aveleen to unload the box, stunned when it contained no liquor.
So, it ends today.
“Now, go get the wood.” She pushed her towards the door, but Jennifer froze watching her mother snatch the pistol from the cabinet.
“You will go to College.” She seized the 1961 Program Guide laying idle on the chair and layered it over the colt automatic.
The six-thirty news belted from Radio Eireann as she crept like a cat into the conservatory. “Here Matthew!” He turned, and she shot him in the chest, the schedule dropped to the ground.
He passed next to the Pye transistor closing a chapter in their lives.
At the beginning of semester, a crowd gathered at Dublin’s Technical College where the portrait of Matthew’s murder was awarded.