Wednesday 1 – Wednesday 8 June 2011
But did you see this one coming?
‘It’s possible, love,’ Dennis continued to look at the ground, avoiding the look that he knew would be in Bridget’s eyes. He heard her stifled cry, but still could not move.
‘Does he know?’
‘I don’t know, Bridge.’
She looked towards her mother in the kitchen. The woman was completely oblivious to what her husband had just divulged. How could she look at her mother the same way again? Knowing that she’d had an affair with Father O’Bannon? Knowing that Bridget herself, could very well be the product of the union? It disgusted her. Her mother, disgusted her.
‘How could you?’ Bridget screamed towards the woman inside. Kathleen, unaware of why Bridget was screaming, ran outside.
‘Love, what’s wrong? Dennis, what’s going on?’ Kathleen glanced at her husband, and almost immediately knew. ‘Oh, Dennis, you didn’t?’
‘Is O’Bannon my father?’ Bridget asked still screaming.
‘No, Bridget, he’s not your da.’
‘How do you know? Can you be sure?’ the youngest of the Carlson girls knew when the wool was being pulled over her eyes.
‘I’m sure. I was pregnant with you when I met Derek,’ now Kathleen took on a similar stance and posture to her husband, riddled with shame.
Unable to stand looking at either of her parents any longer, Bridget fled the yard. She had no thought of where she was heading until she realised, breathless and confused, that she was standing outside St. Patrick’s church, amongst a swelling mass of villagers.
‘What’s going on, Carl?’ Bridget asked O’Riordan.
‘It’s O’Bannon, love. He’s dead. Murdered by the looks of things.’ Carl O’Riordan’s face was ashen. ‘Poor Mrs. Hunter was the one to find him.’
Bridget’s face lost all colour, and her pallor almost perfectly matched Carl’s.
‘What do you mean Mrs. Hunter found him?’ she asked.
‘She’d been waiting to take confession, apparently, and the Father was late. She stepped out to find him, and find him she did. Dead, on the floor.’
‘Carl, where is she?’
He lifted his arm and pointed to where he’d last seen Mrs. Hunter, standing surrounded by the local police. Bridget ran forward to the old woman.
Mrs. Hunter saw the young Carlson girl coming her way, and braced herself.
‘Granny, what happened?’ Bridget asked.
‘Oh love,’ replied Mrs. Hunter, ‘I found dear, dear Father O’Bannon dead in his office. Oh, it’s a shock, sweetheart, a real shock for an old lady.’
Bridget noticed the twinkle in her grandmother’s eye as she threw her arms around Mrs. Hunter.
‘Problem solved, little one. The angels no longer weep for him,’ the old woman whispered in Bridget’s ear, as they stood surrounded by police and locals all wondering who had a mind to kill Father O’Bannon.
. . . The end . . .