Local boy in a photograph – David O’Connor

Written by See Change Ambassador David O’Connor:
Measured by the directives of vulnerability in which meandering hesitancy has controlled a lack of action, I’ve been led back to bowers in my mind that I thought were buried and heavily overgrown. It was a bad week.
The inspiring quotes, self-help techniques and online links that encourage engagement, pride and ascetic stance in the face of what someone somewhere may define as ‘weak’, all insignificant in setting my feelings in line over the course of three difficult days.
Hashtags and trends on the front foot of what was a busy run in relation to mental health progression in Ireland did little for comfort and instead stood merely as a platform for finger-tip acknowledgement disjointed from positive mindful function geared towards personal goodwill.
No amount of talking heads in the Dail could have changed this.
I went for a walk. An April evening hung across from a setting sun, dimmed beautifully in celebration of brighter nights. A stroll in byword to ‘clear the head’ was deplorably tumbled to a drag that filled my head to the brim. Like a knotted blacksack bursting with routine of doubting questions, essence of worth uncomfortably topped and squeezed with hatred.
I stopped at a bridge, a flyover between Killester and Harmonstown DART stations. Red bricks topped with slabs, ancient to me as they’ve forever stood there to the best of my recollection.
Slighting just above my forehead, it would have been easy to climb despite best efforts of a soaring green railings upon the slabs. This a necessary deterrent to prevent the mischief of youth or to discourage lifelessly desolate males in their 30’s from climbing above train tracks to consider all options.
The path sufficed with my heels risen. I stood high on my toes holding the railings and watching through the grids as a train made its way. It’s bright light torched towards me as the noise in my head settled allowing focus and effort to brutally assess the weight and time that would be required in falling perfectly as it rolled on by.
The train passed along with my mathematical curiosity. I stayed on high on my toes with my forehead pressed hard against the fence. The squared embrace of its wiring shaping squares against my skin.
Starring down at the tracks, a song played in my head: ‘Local boy in a photograph’ by the Stereophonics;
‘There’s no mistake, I smell that smell,
It’s that time of year again,
I can taste the air.
The clocks go back, railway track,
Something blocks the line again 
And the train runs late for the first time’ 



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