Sunday, June 25, 2017

Peace At Midnight?




It’s late and Abbi tries to concentrate on an article the head doctor of the emergency department gave all of the nurses to read. As she begins the first paragraph for the third time about advances in spinal trauma, she hears footsteps on the back porch. Two knocks and Liam opens the door.
            “Abigail.” Liam kisses her forehead as he walks past her and towards the refrigerator.
            “Liam,” Abbi greets him as she slides the article aside. Liam, possibly mimicking the writer that he always wanted to be, always appears to be in some state of dishevelment. His black eyes and the wild mop of black hair suit the man who thankfully outgrew his shyness.
            “Beer?”
            She shakes her head yes.
            “Anything to eat?” He moves things about in the refrigerator.
            Abbi stretches and releases her freshly washed hair out of the bun that sits on her head. “I only got home half nine.”
            He slides a chair closer to Abbi and hands her the beer. “I assume David will be home late?”
            “Are the peace talks fallin’ apart Liam? What are you hearin’?” Abbi rubs her eyes as she leans back in her chair.
            “Yer, askin’ me? Your own bloody husband is sittin’ in those secret talks I hear about on the BBC and yer askin’ me?” Liam gulps down his beer. “Isn’t the deadline midnight?”
            “You know he doesn’t tell me a thing and apparently you don’t either, mister newspaper writer. You’re both bloody worthless.”  Abbi smiles before taking a drink.
            Their smiles fade as they stare at each other. It is surprisingly silent out for a night where peace may come to Northern Ireland. Not a siren. Not a helicopter.
            She leans in close to him, her hands resting on his legs. “When this country has peace…what does that mean for me?”
            He moves to comfort her but instead she takes his hands into hers. He sighs and looks at the floor as if his converse have the perfect words for him to say. But he just continues to stare at the floor.
            Her small but strong hands tighten their grip on Liam’s scarred boxing hands. She bows her head too and sighs. She speaks softly. “I don’t get my son back. David will always have enemies.”
            Liam sits up, startling Abbi. “How can you still love him, Abbi? For God sakes, how? He drops her hands and stands. He begins pacing back and forth. “I just…how?”
            She sits in shock at the outburst.
            He returns to his chair and puts his hands on her shoulders, his knuckles white as he holds onto her.
            “Liam, I forgave him for sleeping his Lindsay. He’s been under a lot of stress with the peace process. I can’t blame him for…” she doesn’t have the opportunity to finish.
            “His brother almost killed you with his bare hands.  He fucked your best friend. Your son is dead because …”
            She grabs hold of his shirt and jerks him towards her. Her calm demeanor disappears. “No! Liam.”
            “Bobby is dead because David fucked up, Abbi. When are you going to accept that? You’re his pawn now. This isn’t over when they sign that agreement. The world is going to celebrate and you’re going to be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life.” He pauses and lowers his shoulders from his defensive position as she remains gripping his shirt. “And I’ve been patient. You deserve better, Abigail. Not three am wake up calls from wounded volunteers, house searches, prison visits…or to be terrified into place by his deadly silence…I’ve seen you change. You don’t fight back anymore. And Abbi, I’ve changed. I’d fucking put a bullet in his head right now to take you away from all of this. I’m tired of seeing him hurt you.”
            Abbi sits in astonishment. She begins to speak a few times, but each time it seems harder for her to get any words to form. She releases Liam’s shirt. She slowly pushes the chair back, stands, and takes a few steps away from him. Again the silence surrounds them.
Liam takes a few cautious steps towards her until his arms encircle her and he nestles his face into her hair.  “I can’t watch him treat you like this, Abbi.” She leans back into his arms.
 “What can I do to help you?” He speaks softly. “Please, Abbi.”
She raises her hand up to pull him closer to her and sighs his name.
There is a quiet knock on the back door abruptly ending the moment. Both startled, they separate immediately.
            Abbi walks to the door. “Who is it?”

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