March 2, 2008

Paddy walked swiftly along the long dock. Upon reaching the slippery end the stopped. There he leaned over and peered into the sea. What he saw must have made his blood freeze. For he stood there, half bent, looking down for an eternity. Just watching him my stomach turned and my head swam. Paddy was a strong lad, both of body and soul. To make him freeze so, it must be a truly awful. I saw him once pull a beating heart from a lamb’s chest. Suffer the death of his wife without a tear. What, but the devil himself, can cause Paddy to freeze. Then, slowly, Paddy leaned over and then fell. Like he had been pushed, then crumpling. And he lay there not moving, not breathing, not daring to. I too had been frozen, but moved when I saw him fall. The dock seemed eternally long, and stretched as I ran. The pile that was Paddy got closer and more defined. His face was even red, sweaty forehead dripping. Breathing, yes, he was breathing, in shallow gasps of air. Eyes screwed shut, mouth in a death grimace. I fell upon him and grabbed his shoulders to shake him. Screaming at him to talk to me, forcing him to speak to me. To tell me its all right, my world is not coming to an end. With all the strength that Paddy had and some borrowed. He looked up at me, eyes wide and rolling, mouth hanging open. He gurgled, moaned and finally told me what had caused such a strong man to fail. He said two words that were to change how I felt for him. They were, “back spasm”.

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