Inspiring Older Readers

posted on 18 Oct 2016

The Arrow by Kieran Breen

He had told her that somewhere between now and then, between is and ought, between regret and hope is being. At the time she had thought this another example of his arrogance and self righteousness. As she pondered on the past and worried about the future his words came back to her. He had once told her that an arrow in flight is never actually moving because at every micro moment in time it is occupying a specific space. At the time she had wondered what he was going on about and he rambled on about life being a series of moments quoting John Lennon’s, “life is what happens in between making plans”.

Plans were what she liked, developing, executing, monitoring, adapting and completing. Her skills in this area served her well and her career thrived. Yet from time to time when that icy fist of uncertainty gripped her insides she would remember his words. Wonder what had become of him, her pride stopped her searching social media and they had no shared acquaintances.

If truth be told even after all these years he irritated her, how could he have seemed so certain, so unbothered in spite of all the overwhelming evidence that his attitudes and platitudes were just meaningless hot air. In one of their last exchanges she had put this to him. He had shrugged his shoulders and told her that was just her current reality and she should ask the questions again in twenty years.

Twenty years had flown by, she had stayed in the same town moved jobs a few time and settled down with a man who she liked and respected and who gave her space and sense of belonging. So why was she thinking about him, why could she see his quizzical face and his lips miming “really”.

She almost did not see the article it was only by chance she had gone to the dentist. Her appointment was delayed, so she found herself reading a tabloid and then she saw it. The tragedy of a man who had stopped his car dead in the middle of a six lane highway and stepped out into the oncoming traffic and had been killed outright. No one seemed to know why he had done it, least of all his wife and three children or his friends of whom he seemed to have many.

Shocked as she was, she got on with life allowing herself only the odd moment to wonder why he had done it and how his wife must feel. Then the envelope arrived. Her husband brought it to her on Saturday morning whilst she lay in bed. She did not recognize the scrawled handwriting on the envelope but as she held the photograph she remembered the beach and the final argument. Scribbled on the back was the simple message, “our arrow is forever in that moment”. To her surprise she felt a smile cross her face and she spoke out loud “but I am still living you arrogant bastard” and then she ripped it up, threw it in the bin and got on with her life.