The story of three characters, strangers, and how life can be affected by others.
|Just ask yourself
Myles Byrne was a runner, not just a jogger, but a serious runner who had won many a race throughout Ireland and Europe.
Running since his early twenties, after he realised he was never going to be any good as a footballer, he had kept himself fit and trim, up to his present age of fifty four.
Catherine Lynch smiled to herself as she drove carefully through the big city park. A dedicated care worker, she knew she was getting better at driving her new second hand car.
Her father, Liam, was also feeling pretty good as he sat there beside her. His patience at giving driving lessons to his eldest daughter was working very well.
Patrick Keogh was at the end of the road both physically and mentally. A country boy in the big city, no friends or work, he had nothing to live for.
Having left his native village two years ago, full of hope and grand dreams, he now had no one to return too, or anywhere he cared to go.
As Myles ran out of the main gate of the park and headed down town towards his city centre gym, to shower and collect his car, he took little heed of the fine drizzle that was now falling.
His body working in automatic mode, legs following one another, and his runners making a rhythmic slap slap on the road, his thoughts wandered.
Dropping down through the gears, Catherine brought her car to a smooth stop behind Friday night’s traffic jam. Engaging the hand brake and putting the car into neutral she was aware of her Father’s pleased smile.
To her right, she looked over at what was one of the driving test centre buildings, and knew she could apply now for her first driving test. There was a ridiculous waiting list, so it would be months before she would be called for the test.
The fourth boy in a family of nine, Patrick was made well aware during his twenty years on the family farm, that it would be left to the first born, Joseph.
There being three boys younger than him, he was encouraged to leave home and go up to the big city, Dublin. There he would find plenty of work and get himself a lovely house and a good car, and maybe even meet a good girl, or so he was told over and over again.
Now running along on the bicycle lane, Myles kept a wary eye out for cyclists coming behind him, and also kept his eye on the cars moving in fits and starts beside him.
Feeling pretty good about his winning of the veteran’s ten K last Sunday, he reckoned his chances where very good to win the up coming mini marathon in the next county.
The traffic moving along in nice order, her heater and wipers keeping the windscreen clear, Catherine felt in complete control of her car.
Her dad had warned her over and over again, “A car is a killing machine if you lose concentration for even a second” She could hear him saying it in her sleep.
The misty rain clung to his clothing, forming drops on his hair, running down the back of his neck. Paddy hardly noticed or cared. He would soon be wet enough anyway, after he threw himself from the bridge into the cold flowing waters of The River Liffey.
He had left no note or message of any kind, relatives that never rang or got in touch, deserved no comforting words of regret, or otherwise. Only one chance did he give himself, if he met just one smiling face, on the way to the bridge, he would not kill himself.
Seeing that he only had two more bridges to reach, Myles increased his pace, and marvelled at how he could still turn it on like a tap.
Soon he would be home, where tonight he and his wife had agreed to baby sit their first born grandchild, a boy called Michael. No hardship this, for they adored the child.
The runner had just passed along on the inside of the car when the traffic moved forward. Catherine accelerated and moved after it, when she caught a glimpse of a wet, forlorn looking figure walking along the footpath. He wore no overcoat and looked to be soaked to the skin.
Looking back to where she was going she was horrified to see that she was bearing down on the stopped car in front of her, Her Father’s scream to “Stop! Stop! Brake!” was like as if it was coming from far away. Meaning to press the brake Catherine missed and pressed down hard on the accelerator.
Hearing the sudden roar of an engine, Myles turned, too late to see a car glance of the one next to it, before it headed straight for him. He never had a chance to move out of the way, before it hit him hard in the legs and threw him up in the air.
Even before he crashed to the ground, he knew that his legs where in the wrong place. The further crunching sounds of bones as they broke, and jagged edges coming through the skin, sunk in to his consciousness, before he mercifully blacked out.
Screams cut through the night, and Paddy came out of his trance just in time to see the runner hit the ground, and the car almost run over him. He stood there motionless not knowing what to do, or if he could help in any way.
A man jumped out of another car and started barking orders to the shocked bystanders. “You, miss, get on your mobile and call for an ambulance, now!” Asking the bus driver who had also stopped to give him his reflective jacket, he tossed it to Paddy and told him to go behind the car and direct the traffic.
Glad that some one had taking control and seemed to know what he was doing, they later found out he was a first aider, several others in the crowd helped make Myles safe, as they waited for the ambulance and the police.
Catherine and her dad also received help. Though neither was injured, they where in a state of deep shock. Catherine would go on to recover, Myles would never run again.
As the police took over the scene of the accident, Paddy returned the jacket to the bus driver and continued on his way. Making his way through the crowd, several smiled at him and said “Well done”.
Walking along by the shop windows, he thought to himself how he had been of use after all. Maybe life wasn’t so bad, and look at how so many kind people had stopped to help at the accident.
It was at that moment that Paddy caught a glimpse of himself in the shop window, and there was a smile on his face. He turned, pulled back his shoulders, stood tall, and headed back to his home.
And now, dear reader, I ask you to ask yourself, if Paddy had met you that night, what would he have done after seeing your face? The End?.