Wading Into The Foyle

 

 

“Time, gentlemen.”

The bargirl began placing the empty chairs atop their tables one by one. Even with all the lights on in the pub it was very dark, but the younger man had no difficulty seeing his friend’s expression. Even many years ago, the older man’s eyes, set deep in a young face, were aged well beyond their years, but rather than showing weary resignation they glowed with a sort of simmering mischief, the sort of look one would see in the eyes of a man who was in on the joke. Tonight that light had retreated to some distant recess, replaced by a look the younger man had no difficulty recognizing. His friend, always somewhat haunted even in the light of day, was seeing his ghosts before him as real as if they were made flesh.

“You know my mother never trusted them,” he began.

“Aye.”

“Never a one of them. And when she fell and broke her leg…she was a heavy woman, you know that?”

“Yes.”

“And when she fell and broke her leg, she wouldn’t even go to a doctor, because all the doctors were prods. And she had my uncle set it for her. And she stayed in bed. We were worried, it was my dad that worried most of all, but she’d have no doctor, and then the infection started.”

The younger man said nothing, though he’d heard the story before. Somehow, listening to it in the telling calmed the both of them, the way a long sigh after weeping settles the muscles and bones of the mourner.

“We begged her to go, but she’d say, ‘They’ll take my leg, I know they will.’ And we told her they’d have to if we didn’t get to them quick. And sure enough, the leg became gangrenous. You could smell it in the room.” He paused as if remembering against his will. “We finally found a doctor who would come to the house. He was an Indian man. He told her, told us all, what we already knew, that she would have to go in hospital and the leg would have to come off. She wouldn’t have it. Said she’d die in her own home. That’s what they reduced us to. To that. And I begged the man and asked if there wasn’t some other way. I could see him wanting to say something, struggling with it. I begged him some more. Finally, he told me that in his village in India, in a case like that, they would tie a tourniquet around the leg and wait for it to spontaneously amputate. The person would die sometimes. He wouldn’t put the tourniquet on himself, but he told me how to do it, and I did it, and…can you imagine?”

“No.”

“Well, she lived, somehow. And she lay in that bed for six months. We finally managed to get her to go a clinic where they made prosthetics, and given the nature of warfare on our green and glorious isle, they were able to fit one to what was left of her leg. And after all that time, I got to see my mother walk again, with a cane. And then it was me that couldn’t stand, because my legs left me and I slid right down the wall.”

He was quiet for so long that the younger man spoke to break him from his memories lest he drown in them.

“It was so long ago…”

“Did you ever feel,” the older man spoke abruptly, “that there was this time that was your life, and then there was everything after that? And the everything after is not your life, but something else?”

“Yes.”

The bargirl, finished with her chores, turned off the lights and stood silhoutted in the door, holding it open. When she spoke her voice was quiet, distant, hollow.

“Time, gentlemen.”

 

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25 Responses to Wading Into The Foyle

  1. A truly awesome piece of writing Oglach.
    To me, it came across as quite surreal.
    Like a dark and distant memory of something forgotten.
    That’s how I felt, reading this wonderful story.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Nathi says:

    Hello Oglach

    My heartfelt thanks to you for following my blog, and for all the likes & comments!And hope we continue to grow and support each other in this journey!

    Also, my blog A Wayward Scribbles reached the milestone of 500+ followers last month and I thought why not celebrate it!

    So, I’m very excited to personally invite you to my blog party(23 May, 2018), since you’re one of those amazing blogger who chose to follow my blog and I would love to show my gratitude!

    See you at the party!
    Nathi

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sdtp33 says:

    Haunting story…beautifully written, you have a great ear for dialogue. JIM

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Intriguing story, especially the mention of the tourniquet…I heard they really do it in the remote tribal villages and still, they survive, away from the light and treatment of civilization, they survive on their own…
    Those six months could be a part of the history, I surmise, is it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • oglach says:

      She spent six months recovering afterwards. I’m not sure about the details. The story as it was told to me is very tragic but also inspiring and full of love. I could not possibly do it justice. Thank you for reading, Maniparna.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. First word that came to mind is haunting for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sarah says:

    Wow! I don’t know quite what to feel – it’s one hell of a story , one that needs to be re-read to completely digest!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I always feel as if I’m eavesdropping when I read your stories, Og. A curtain is drawn back for a moment, and I’m allowed to witness something truly arresting. You tell your tales effortlessly, and they grip and pull me in. I’m in constant awe of your talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. megaeggz says:

    Wow i cant believe this is fiction

    Liked by 1 person

  9. michnavs says:

    You have a very intriguing story telling skill Og..and i like it..it haunts me..it surprises me and it makes me wanna read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Phil says:

    Dear Lord. I was managing up till

    given the nature of warfare on our green and glorious isle

    but that broke me. Thanks, O.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. paolsoren says:

    In keeping with my own particular way of looking at life, I don’t care if it is real, or fiction, or fiction based on something real – whatever it is, it paints a fantastic real picture of life. I often see a blog and tap ‘follow’ because the other bloke followed me and it seems the polite thing to do but then that’s the last you ever hear of him. But I have a feeling that this is going to a worthwhile exercise.
    I’m very pleased to have made contact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oglach says:

      Many thanks, Paol. I’m in a bit of a rut just now, but I reckon if you stick around long enough, you’ll read something to your liking. The man who does the majority of the speaking in the post you read is the source of many true tales I’ve yet to tell. I found your own blog courtesy of Derrick Knight, and if he’s following you, you’re well worth it. Looking forward to more.

      Liked by 1 person

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