The Bridge

By Colette Powell Moore

Us children sat on the wall at Emersons field looking up and down the street. We all had to be quiet, and not allowed to make noise. Siobhan said her granny heard “The Banshee” the night before. Silently we all turned out heads towards Hinny’s house, with the top half of the door closed for the last few days, all our mothers had been going in and out of Hinny’s for the last few days. Our street started at the Square and stopped at the Spa Bridge so called because on the other side of the bridge was a Spa well which was supposed to have healing powers. We had the most wonderful play ground on Spa Street.

The river at the end of our street, the bridge which we played under, the woods on the other side of the bridge and the field right across the road from our house.

We were told every day to get out and play but today we were to be quiet and have respect. Everyone was watching all the activity in our area. The army were everywhere, they were in the field where we should have been allowed to play, they were down by the river and under the bridge. Heremma was kidnapped and everyone was looking for him, it was all people talked about. So while we were looking at Hinny’s everyone else were looking for this man Heremma. Every house in the town was to be searched. When the Guards came to our street, I ran in so full of excitement to see our house being searched. 2 Guards came in and greeted Ma and Da and the Sergeant spoke to Mammy and said “Is there anyone in this house who shouldn’t be here? My mother said “No Guard” He tipped his cap and said “Thank you, we’ll be off” and that was that, and they walked out the door. I was so disappointed, now I had nothing to tell my friends.

One day mammy was down in Hinny’s and Daddy shouted “Shiss Shiss” and he turned up the transistor. Heremma had been found. He turned to me and said “Go down and tell your mother they found Heremma”. Well, I took off like the hounds of Hell were on my heels. I ran to Hinny’s, burst through the door and stopped dead in my tracks. Mammy, Hinny’s sister nan and Carmel and Mr.Burbage were all around the bed saying the Rosary, and lying on her bed was Hinny as I’d never seen her before. Even then I just knew she was dead. Dressed in the most horrible brown sack dress just like a monk would wear. Her hands were joined and entwined through her fingers were her Rosary Beads.

Mammy asked what was wrong, I told her the news while never taking my eyes off Hinny. I didn’t ever blink, the news was received by all with “Thanks be to God” Just then came a loud moan from Hinny’s lips ”Mary”. I screamed and fell backwards, mammy held me and laughed as she told me it was OK. Carmel who was nans daughter-in-law said “It’s ok Colette, it like this “Right now Hinny is on the bridge, on one side is her mother “Mary” calling her, but on the other side of the bridge is her sister Nan calling her back. She loves both, so is finding it hard to cross over the bridge, but she will cross over the Bridge to her mother”.

No words would come, but I nodded and Ma told me to go home and tell Dad she’d be home in a few minutes. I left Hinny’s and once again my legs took flight this time in fear and shock. I ran home sobbing to my daddy. “What! What! Oh God, what’s after happening” said Daddy.

Through my sobs I told him “Hinny’s on the Bridge, she won’t come back, not even for Nan”. “Nan keeps calling her, but Daddy she wont come off the Bridge”.

Daddy ran, “Oh God, Oh Holy God, what’s going on”. He ran out on to the street, it was deserted, not even a child played, no army present, just a silent street. He stood in the middle of the road looking up at the Bridge when we both heard a click of a door as Mammy opened Hinnys door and came through wiping her eyes.

Daddy looked back at the Bridge then at Mammy as realisation dawned, he looked at me and said “I Think it’s safe to say. HINNY HAS CROSSED OVER THE BRIDGE.

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