Author’s Note: “Welcome Day is about a parent’s angst of how a combination of flawed genetics and a murky past will impact her child. The central character, Maria, is a single parent trying to distance her young son from her history of involvement in Irish paramilitary activity. In the story Maria watches her son begin life in a new school and worries how the ‘nature versus nurture’ dynamic will impact his development.”
YOU’D SWEAR THERE’S A PIPE BOMB INSIDE, the way Maria holds the envelope at arm’s length. “The strain of fear’s gotten into ya,” Jimmy would say if he could see her now, panicked about opening a letter. This is the same Maria who’d hardly break stride when planting loaded packages near the Belfast barracks, years ago. Back then, she could create thick barriers in her mind, making it easy to categorize the soldiers as a faceless enemy from across the water rather than young lads barely out of school, homesick and frightened in strange borderlands. These days, Maria’s barriers are low and permeable, allowing fear to seep through whenever it wants. Today, it has come through her letterbox.
Sure enough, this envelope contains what she dreaded…(story continued in Spy)