A Close Call [CW series #25]

Junior was both hungry and curious. He jumped at the invitation to join his father to meet John and find out what it was that John had discovered in the mysterious woman’s file.

“We haven’t yet had a chance to talk about why you left Dublin. What happened, want to tell me about it now?” Henry manoeuvred the jeep around a sharp bend in the narrow road.

Junior sighed. He’d only been back in Leitrim at his father’s place for one night and already his life in the city felt like it was something remembered from a distant past.

“I’m really glad I came here, dad. I feel so much better for it already. Things got so stressful in Dublin, I couldn’t cope. I hardly slept at all, worked anything up to 16 hours a day and then I started having these weird episodes. All of a sudden I’d do weird stuff, lose control over what I was thinking and doing.”

“Did they fire you from work?” Henry turned to look at his son’s profile.

Junior continued looking straight ahead as though the bumpy pot-holed road was waiting for a response from him and not his father. “No, I quit before they got a chance to do that. Mind you they mightn’t have because I’d been working for them long enough to have been entitled to a chunky redundancy payment. It’s not that I did anything bad, nothing that harmed the business or any of my coworkers. I was just getting weird episodes when I’d -, I was afraid that I might – watch out!”

Henry slammed on the brakes and the jeep swerved around a tractor that had appeared in front of them out of nowhere. He hit the horn twice once he’d circumvented the unexpected obstacle and steadied the car. “Jesus, that was a close call. We could have gone into the ditch there. Good thing I wasn’t driving very fast.”

“Who was the old fellow on the tractor? He just came out of that driveway onto the road without looking to see if there was anyone else on the road.”

“Peter’s dad. His farm is at the bottom of our hill.”

“Peter, wasn’t that the guy who hung himself last year?”

“Yes, odd man his father. I went to see him and his wife once to express my condolences. His wife seemed to be afraid of him. She offered me a cup of tea and he just gave her one look and then she made a quick excuse that she couldn’t make tea because the water pump had stalled and there was no water. He couldn’t get rid of me fast enough. The wife, you never see her out and about. He does any shopping. I had a feeling that she would have liked to talk to me but he wouldn’t let her. Maybe I imagined it, maybe she just wants to be left alone. Peter was their only child, they must be devastated, both of them. Anyway, you were saying?”

“It’s good to be home, dad. Thanks for not minding me staying, I’ll make myself useful, and I could work on converting the shed. Give you some privacy and not be under your feet and in your way. What do you think?”

“Sure, you’re welcome to join the family business for as long as you like. And if you want to talk some more about these weird episodes – is there anything I can do to help?”

“I was thinking of giving your mindfulness exercises a try. Maybe you could do a few sessions with me?”

© Ash N. Finn, 2016

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