Deidre was all class. Good school. Good family. The good side of town. I was from Dunnesfield—say no more.

Our different paths crossed at the races, where people like her and people like me both felt at home.

While waiting in a bookie’s queue I’d put her onto a good thing, which won in a protest. Three races and a few champagne’s later she tapped me on the shoulder. ‘Thanks for the tip.’

‘No worries,’ I said. ‘Bobby’s the name.’

I called her the next week to see if she wanted to watch track work. She knew her stuff around horses. That’s what got us together.

But I remained self-conscious around her. Constantly minding my manners and my P’s and Q’s. Anything not to spoil things between us. I felt like I was walking on ice. As if any moment I’d fall through.

Driving through rain-soaked streets one day we passed a group of boys in a bus shelter. Deidre let her BMW drift into the overflowing gutter, sending a wave of water over them.

‘What did you do that for?’ I said.

‘Because I’m not perfect.’

‘But I don’t——.’

‘Don’t bullshit me Bobby.’ She glanced in the rear-view mirror. ‘Ha. They’re not happy.’ And she laughed like a girl from Dunnesfield High, not St Margarets.

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