Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Again, the ‘taking a shit’-theory

WEDNESDAY, March 17 – After lunch, I finally get Eamonn to go along to the park with me, to give Elsa a run. However, the dog chooses this moment to have an attack of the shits on Beethoven Street, which results in numerous gagging passers-by, including Eamonn. He wants to go home, but I force him to keep walking.

I know how it works. Once we’re in the park, everything will be all right and we’ll end up having fun. That’s my goal today, having fun in the park – despite the fact that our route includes a tricky crosswalk. Not the one where Jenn was knocked down, but one further ahead, just around the corner where Stadion Road crosses Beethoven Street. We’re in luck: the light is green.

We can keep walking, instead of waiting, in which case thoughts might stray to that Thursday in October, some two hundred yards from here. As we cross, things go wrong. Well and truly wrong. In the distance, a siren sounds. The ambulance is heading in our direction at top speed. We’re already about a hundred yards from the crossing when the ambulance whizzes by behind us.

I reach for Eamonn’s hand without looking at him. He holds my hand tight, and we keep going. I try to broach a neutral subject, but Eamonn turns away.

‘It’s not about Elsa’s poop,’ he says.

‘I know, Eamonn. It’s the ambulance, isn’t?’

‘Yes.The ambulance.’

‘I was thinking the same thing, Eamonn .’

We walk on another hundred yards or so, and we’re almost at the entrance of the park when he jumps into my arms and begins to cry, and cry, and cry. We stand there for several minutes, motionless. If Elsa hadn’t had an attack of diarrhea on Beethoven Street, if she hadn’t taken a shit first, then we would have long since been in the park and none of this would have happened.

But it did happen.  Slowly, we walk back home, carefully avoiding ‘the crosswalk’. I try to make it clear to him that it might help if, at some point in the future, he went by the place where the accident took place. To see with his own eyes that it’s nothing but an ordinary crosswalk.

He looks at me angrily and says, ‘It isn’t an ordinary crosswalk. It’s a shit place where my mother was killed.’

Again we hold each other tight. Now we’re both crying. What’s left to say? Quite a bit, it appears, during our walk home. Eamonn tells me that ‘after the accident, while Mom was lying on the ground surrounded by medics, there were a couple of teenagers hanging around who started making jokes about it all, and calling it cool.

At that moment Eamonn had been sitting on the curb. ‘Later I wished I’d smacked them in the face, so that they fell on the ground and died.’

We walk on in silence. When we get home, Eamonn immediately starts on his homework.

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