Back to Ballyk
by Friends Babe
Peter looked down into the bright blue eyes of his daughter. He couldn't
believe she was finally here. His own daughter. He heart was filled with
so much joy at this moment he thought it would burst. Little Laoise, his
first-born. His eyes met his daughters and he could not imagine ever being
this happy again.
Peter was wrong, he had been that happy again, another five times. As his
family grew so did his heart. But his life wasn't always perfect, his heart
not always filled with joy. They had gone on to have three more children.
Two boys and another girl, Briana, Kennedy and Quinn. He felt that with two
boys and two girls his family was complete. But God had other ideas.
On 21st September 2005 his first-born and (though he never admitted it, even
to himself) his favourite, Laoise, went to her friends house. Everything
was normal until the phone rang. His wife answered and that was all normal.
His world only came crashing down when she turned her tear-stained face to
him and uttered those fatal words, "Peter, that was the hospital. It's Laoise."
She'd been walking back with her friends when the bus came out of nowhere.
It swerved around the corner and hit Laoise and one of her friend's head
on. They never stood a chance.
The funeral for little Laoise Clifford and little Morgan Fairchild was held
a week later. Peter could hardly stand throughout. He couldn't believe the
God he had once devoted his life to could be so cruel. Surely he wasn't so
bitter as to rob all of Peter's happiness with one swoop. After that things
went from bad to worse. His wife couldn't cope being in the house that was
once full of her daughters joy. She left Peter taking his children with her.
For the next two weeks Peter lived alone, never leaving the house. But she
came back and he forgave her. Just like he always would.
They began rebuilding their lives, and for a while things looked up. Until
Kennedy started school. He'd only been there a week when they were called
to see the headmaster. Kennedy had flooded the boys toilets. The same happened
a week later, and the week after that. The week after that he set fire to
the toilets. When Kennedy was 10 he was referred to a psychiatrist who said
he didn't feel loved and he needed to be on his own for a while. He'd been
feeling rejected ever since Maeve was born, four years ago, they were told.
It was better that he was the only child for a while. Did they know any childless
friends or relatives who could take him? Well the only childless people they
knew were his brother, Michael and his wife. But they lived in Australia.
And so 2 months later Kennedy boarded a plane for Melbourne and never looked
The last time Peter saw his son was two years ago, when he came back for
his brothers christening. That was the last time; Niall, Peter nor anyone
else had seen him. Peter missed him terribly, he felt like he had lost two
children. And now they were leaving. His wife felt it was a good idea to
make a fresh start, leave all the pain behind them. They still had 4 children
and they needed to make things better for their sakes.
It was Peter who suggested Ireland. He had spent many happy years there and
had always wanted to return. Not under these circumstances, but still. They
both agreed the kids would love it there. Two weeks later they were in Ireland,
on a bus heading for a pretty little town in the Wicklow hills, Ballykissangel.
"Come on, help me out here!" Peter said to his children, exasperated, "I
can't do all this on my own!" Briana's response was to give him a withering
glace before gesturing towards her brother. "Thank you Briana, you're generosity
astounds me," he replied. "Well you have a choice you can either help me
with the unpacking or help your mother with Niall and Maeve."
Briana looked at her father and grudgingly walked over to her mother and
grabbed the small girls arm dragging her inside the building that was to
be their home. After depositing her she stomped back and took her brother
into the building. She reappeared long enough to snap, "Happy Now?!" before
she went back inside.
Peter starred after his daughter and couldn't help but laugh. She was so
much like her mother that he couldn't stay mad at her. He saw his son looking
lost and shouted him, "Quinn," he yelled, "why don't you go and pick a room,
you're mother and I will be in, in a minute."
The child, in the early stages of teenage rebellion slinked into their new
home. Peter stared at his new home; he had wanted to live in this building
since he first set foot in Ballyk almost 22 years ago. He was mesmerised
and only came back to reality when his wife wrapped her arms around his waist.
"I love you Peter," she whispered softly in his ear.
"I love you too Assumpta," he replied as he faced his wife.