Peter McCarthy, a 33 year old Irish pharmacist arrives back to his hometown, Ravenstown (fictional) North Co Dublin Ireland after 4 years away in Australia.
Mystery initially surrounds why Peter left for Australia, but we learn that his trip away was after a personal loss.
This is the story of a migrant coming home.
Back at the McCarthy's, Peter's father (a retired taxi man) has all the gossip on the neighbours along Lewis street, from a hash bust 3 doors down, to a minor celebrity
(well as far as he has heard) moving into the old vacant house, 3 the other way.
Helen, Peter's sister is now a single mum and juggling that with her stressful management job at upcoming fast food chain, Veg-Patch-Express. She is in need of much Gin & Tonic therapy. Peter is kept busy, with many of the neighbours and family dropping over to welcome him home (and get the odd bit of medical advice while they are at it.)
Aunt Marian is already plotting her matchmaking, convinced she needs to find Peter a partner. Peter's old man asks him to join him on a very unexpected holiday.
For Peter despite all the joy the move home brings, he has to face the heartache and anguish he left behind. Although now there's more riding on his return, than meets the eye.
This is I Viaggiatorri, a sculpture by artist Bruno Catalano symbolizing the void created by leaving one's country and family for another life.
Peter Chapter 5
Take it, Take it, don’t be such a pussy!
I willed myself. I was lying face down on the narrow bed, starting to think about biting the pillow, with the pain. ‘Do you want me to go harder or any deeper?’ The voice behind me said. No, as far as my kidneys was deep enough,
(I thought, but didn’t say) I groaned. My struggles escalated tangentially, as, at one end of me, my inner pep talk continued- Do not make a show of yourself and yell out- and at the other end, well there was now a danger of a bit of flatulence. I clenched my teeth, surely it would soon be over. My thoughts turned to Dad and how he would be coping with it all, as he had arrived in to meet me and was getting the same works. They had put a screen up and he was on the other bed.
It was when Makasi, my featherweight, Korean masseuse took a break from battering my back with butter paddles, that I breathed a sigh of relief. Then when she took off her slippers and using the handrails along the walls above me, began to walk up and down the centre of my back, she caught me completely off guard. I couldn’t help it now as, mostly in shock, I involuntarily blurted out, ‘I thought this was supposed to be HAPPY HANDS massage, not feckin HAPPY FEET!’ She just giggled and kept going, no fear on her. It was mostly my post- stag party hangover talking anyway. All those glasses of Writer’s Tears at the whisky bar were starting to pound in my head.
Afterwards, slouched on recliner chairs in a zen recovery room, Dad and myself wearing bath gowns, just the two of us, drinking some sort of herbal tea and trying to balance cucumber slices on our eyes, Dad had to go and lower the tone. ‘Peter son, I enjoyed that a bit more than I thought I would,’ (he must have winked as one of his cucumber slices fell from his face and he was now patting around his chest searching for it. Although this was an improvement as he’d already eaten his first two.) He replaced it and then went on. ‘ My masseuse, she had the magic touch, if you know what I mean,’ as he made an uncharacteristic chuggling, slow laughing, noise. Horror rose inside me. What did he mean? He was going to leave me in no doubt, as he went on, ‘I got a stir Peter, Just as her wee slippery fingers went in between my toes, I got a stir.’ As he made that awful slow motion laughing sound again. I didn’t know what to do with the uncomfortable feelings and imagery these words had inflicted upon me. And for once, I held my tongue back enough just to say, ‘ Oh that’s great Dad,’ I even convinced myself that was sincere, although I also bargained, I might need to go puke in a bin later. What was it with us McCarthy’s and our erogenous feet?