Sullivan O'Mara goes home to visit his family for Christmas.
He’d always liked the word, though he’d never cared for the definition. He simply couldn’t relate— couldn’t imagine longing for a place like that. But he liked the word and he hated to think of it going to waste, so he decided to give it his own definition— one that made sense to him.
Homesick. Ought to be something like “seasick”— an ailment caused by proximity. Seasick he could relate to— it was what he was being at the moment, hanging his head over the railing on the ferry to Dublin. Homesick is what he would be, upon arriving home.
The breeze ruffles his hair as he stares into the blue-black abyss, as the choppy surf pitches the boat to and fro. It’s December, and the bitter cold and salty air have split his lips, which makes throwing up what’s left of his breakfast just that much less pleasant.
He loathes the sea.
Stepping back from the railing, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he feels bright and hollow and sharp as a knife. Comfortably discontent. He smooths down the front of his jacket for the hundredth time, running his fingers over the shapes in his pockets. Cigarettes, lighter, flask. A interesting trinity.
The flask is rather new— bartered the previous evening from an older boy for three cigarettes and two dirty magazines that no longer held his interest. He takes a swig of whiskey just to rinse the taste of puke out of his mouth, spits, lights a smoke. Ah, Christmas break. Coming home reeking of liquor and cigarettes and vomit. Perfect.