Routine is important, he thinks as he watches the rain sluice down. After a weekend of warm, sunny, balmy August heat, he does not mind this change. It is Monday, and it ties in with the mood the sullen acceptance of the start of the week and the return to work. Eamon sits in his car in the car park, waiting for the ferry, as he does most Mondays, after a weekend in the cottage. He watches it leave Magilligan, ploughing steadily across Lough Foyle. The sea is a brown sludge with flecks of white where the faint wind whips up small waves. Way back, he spent time in Magilligan Camp in the early days of the Troubles. A bleak miserable desolate spot, he recalls, accessible in those days only by road.
As the ferry nears Greencastle Harbour, Eamon flicks the wipers on as he plans his day. The wind has got up, the sea is choppy now and rain sweeps across, hiding the shore of Magilligan. He is booked to give a talk in Letterkenny the following evening, a standard introduction to classical music, how to begin easy listening with the most popular melodic pieces. Of course, he is aware that his knowledge of music and his effective presentational skills are one reason for his popularity, why he is in such demand with women's groups in particular. The other, and probably greater, is his notoriety. During the question and answer session and when they break for tea and minerals, he is plied with questions about his spells as a prisoner, his time in the IRA. Was he really a member of the Army Council, the supreme ruling body of the IRA, some of the bolder, more curious, ask. These questions Eamon bats away, gently, with a smile. He has a number of anecdotes, humorous tales that he uses to lead his audience off that subject. Some persist. Sometimes a woman follows him out to his car at the end of the evening. There are hints, offers, and requests for sex. Eamon declines, politely, graciously. Long years of the secret life have given him an expertise, a veneer, the shield he uses to deflect such things.
Beside there is Mary, his wife, whom he loves deeply. Eamon is uxorious; the thought of hurting her in any way is repugnant. In any case, he thinks wryly, if she suspected anything she would not only be bitterly hurt, but probably would set about him physically. Her temper, mostly under control, can still flare when she is angry.
Eamon listens to the nine o'clock news. Overnight there have been riots in Belfast. An Orange Order parade and march has been rerouted a couple of hundred yards away from a Nationalist street, and the Loyalists are kicking up. A muted, mealy-mouthed condemnation is all he hears from the Government in London. Eamon knows what the press reaction would be if such outbreaks of violence and damage buses torched, shops burnt out, cars set alight had been in a Nationalist area. The British media, accompanied by loud condemnations from the Loyalist politicians and their friends in London, would have castigated the Movement. But there is no word from the Loyalists. Silence for once, he thinks dryly, from the Reverend Paisley and his men.
Eamon resists the temptation to switch to a news channel. He is content with the introduction to Shostakovich's Eight Symphony. How many times has he listened to it? He can remember the first time he heard it, when he was in Long Kesh. Over the years, he has caught parts, but only listened to the complete symphony, maybe five or six times, he calculates. His lower gums are sore where his denture rubs he lost most of his teeth after a brutal kicking during an interrogation gingerly he runs his tongue over the tender area.