Tuesday, November 24, 2009


....he seemed to jump from the ferry, his long coat almost catching in the door as he sprinted away. His breath came in short sharp bursts as his feet pounded the sidewalk mercilessly. He shoulder barged through the exit door and spilled into the street, scraping knees and hands on the brickwork ground. Instantly he recovered himself, taking a moment to brush the sweat soaked hair away from his face. His eyes glinted below, wild, alive. Muscles tensed as he rose again to his feet, his legs already in motion and scurrying onwards like a wind-up toy. He ran through the park, scattering dozing pigeons when he ran between them. His arms pumped like pistons, relentlessly driving him along the footpath and across the train tracks. Out on to Alderney Drive, and alongside the canal, people stood and stared at the crazed looking man fighting to control his breath and bounding towards them. They stood motionless, transfixed by the image, wind bellowing through the coat, hair dripping with perspiration flung back over his head with the onrushing air. He dodged to avoid them, left, then right. "Watch it, buddy" called one of them as he almost clipped their shoulder. He briefly looked back at them, still running. "Sorry" he called with fading breath, and then he continued. Up along Portland, the first of the hills, he knew that this time he would have to make it to the top. With renewed vigour he renewed his pace, ignoring the sharp burn in his lungs, his stomach aching and legs stiff. His heart thudding mercilessly inside him. The hill dug in, and he dug in. Running on toes, sprinting upwards in the direction of Pleasant Street. He cornered onto the tree lined road and the downward stretch lay before him. A moments respite before the final agonising inclines towards home. Inside he felt a sickness, a need to wretch. He struggled momentarily, pace slowing, but then blocked it out. Adrenalin powering him now, nothing left in his lungs, his body sapped of strength. Only his mind and heart to throw him forward. The final hill. Gritting his teeth he stared upwards, the incline seemed to rise forever past houses and trees he never seemed to notice but today they stood out vividly, individually. The corner of Cameron Street was just ahead and rounding it he knew he would be there soon. With one last final push of all that he held inside him he concentrated on breath, on muscle and began the ascent. Upwards, lungs screaming for air. Legs numb and almost beyond control. The van came into view, he could see the front path now. Home was near. The final steps were oblivious, no memory of the steps to the porch. He fumbled in his pocket for the keys, shaking with exertion and struggling to put the key into the lock. It entered and slid in. He turned the handle and clattered up the stairs, throwing the keys to one side as he darted for the kitchen.
"Darling, where are you," he called.
"I'm in here," she said.
He followed the sound of the voice guiding him closer, drawing him nearer. As he rushed down the hallway and then sprinted the stairs up to the bedroom he fell, skidding over the final steps and hitting the floor of the bedroom. He couldn't speak. His eyes searching the room, blinded with hair and sweat he managed to focus on her lying on the bed. The sunlight bathing her in beauty. He wept to look, tears began to stream down his cheeks, his mouth curled. Slowly a smile broke free from the exhausted man as he saw the sight before him.
"Its a boy," she said.

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