On Saturday I went to the Ballydehob jazz festival with my friend Lucy, a Moorish looking woman from the West. Lucy married a Corkonian with an Italian father. I always thought she was the Italian of the two, but I was wrong.
We thoroughly enjoyed our evening, although we barely heard any jazz. The town was buzzing, the charming little pubs that probably never changed over the last 100 years were full,everyone looked happy.
A few people sat down at a table next to our seats and we started talking. They were from Edingburgh, visiting their friend who lives in Schull but was from, and here you have it, Sligo.
'Oh dear' I thought, 'here we go, we'll never get away now'. Because, you see, my friend is from Sligo as well, and when two Sligo people meet they have to compare notes on who they know, pass on the gossip and especially show how happy they are to meet another Sligo person.
And I was right .
Lucy 's cousin had been to the same school as the other Sligo lady whose name I can't remember, they told each other where they lived, what they thought of the movie 'The Calvary', which was filmed in Sligo, and used the local butcher's as one of the locations.
Oh and how was the local butcher now? Gossip, gossip, gossip. When I thought everything had been said, the other Sligo lady exclaimed 'wait, there is a Sligo man standing at the bar, he's a musician who lives in Cork, but he's a Sligo man'. It didn't take long before mr Sligo came in, all excited about meeting his town compatriots. Of course he knew such and such and so and so and on and on it went.
It made me think. When I meet another Belgian, we mostly exchange a few words, and then never see each other again, unless it's accidentally. If anyone tells me they know another Belgian, I just say 'Oh Really?' but that's about it. So it is nice to see that over here even being from the same county is special.
What would Lucy do if someone from Sligo became ill, depressed, or needed any other help? I think she'd step in and do all she could to help out.
So, when I got a text message from a fellow Belgian last night saying 'please help' I decided to go and find him.
I don't really know the man. Someone brought me in contact with him a few months ago when he was destitute, thrown out by his wife, unemployed. with no social welfare. I helped him by pointing him to Focus Ireland, invited him over for dinner a few times and went out for a drink and a chat with him as often as I could, but as I was going through a separation myself, he was dragging me down, so I told him , once he had sorted his social security out and found a room, I wouldn't see him anymore. I didn't hear from him again, until last night.
Until that message.
I drove over to where he was at the coast.We talked and talked, I tried to convince him to seek medical help, which he refused. It is not easy to convince an ex- university lecturer, but at least I think I did manage to stop him from doing something stupid, just for the next 24 hours anyway. He went back to his room. I sent him a text this morning, which he answered saying he still felt like it makes no sense to go on living. And this afternoon I got no more replies. And here I am now, worrying about this fellow Belgian, who is somehere in Cork, I have no address, only a mobile number.
I sent him another text asking him to contact The Samaritans, with their free call number. No reply.
What should I do?