It would certainly be the last time we did this together. Memories of previous wortkouts flooded back. Dad putting me through the paces. Dad holding back to let me think I was getting there at last. The ones where there was so little to tell between, when each of us ran until breaking-point and still we were side by side thirty minutes later. And now this one last run, Dad visibly decaying; this time I was the one holding back to let him think...

After just ten minutes he stopped without a word. Visibly exhausted he bent double, straightened himself back up and put his arm on my shoulders.

"You're looking forward to tomorrow, aren't you? You've been talking about nothing else for weeks. Well, I want you to remember one thing. Getting married is a wonderful thing, and you're right to be excited about it. But, one thing I've learnt from my life with your mother, is this. Always think of tomorrow."

This final piece of fatherly advice surprised me. I looked at him and waited for more. Nothing came. What did he mean, "always think of tomorrow"?

But all that was soon forgotten as we jogged slowly back home. Yes, our wedding was to be the next day. We had put it forward - not that we minded - so we could be sure Dad would be present. "A few weeks the doctor said, maybe a little more. It's hard to tell." Those few weeks would soon be over.

Our wedding was a truly wonderful occasion. Even the weather played ball, and as we left the next evening in the battered old mini I felt a feeling of deep satisfaction. Everyone knew we were planning on going to Italy for our honeymoon, and we had even let slip the name of the hotel we were staying at that night, certain that the moment we left, faster cars than ours would be speeding down the motorway in a bid to surprise us on our arrival. What they didn't know about was the caravan we had rented for the week, hidden away in a clearing in the woods just 10 miles away and where we were actually spending our wedding night.

Several hours later we lay in each other's arms and closed our eyes to get some sleep. That first time with each other was wonderful and there would be so much more to come. I wondered how on earth I was going to live up to expectations... to my own expectations. How on earth could I possible be the kind of loving partner I so wanted to be; the way Mam and Dad had been. Then I remembered Dad's words... "Always think of tomorrow." Now I knew what he meant. Tomorrow was the next occasion I had to show my love. As I lay there in the arms of my beloved, I made a mental note of what I wanted to do to express that love. And high on the list was also a letter of thanks to Mum and Dad for the wonderful way they had patterned life together, not to forget a word of thanks to Dad for his so precious advice. And as my list drew to a close, I added one final point at the end... tomorrow. That was the way to move forward one day at a time; never to forget tomorrow.

(... please leave your message after the beep.)

"Hi Mum! Where on earth are you? I've tried to reach you at the office, your appartment, and on your cellphone. What are you doing? Ian has had a terrible accident. He was out jogging. You know how he loves to go jogging when he has to work late. He was in the park, the one he goes to every night. But tonight there was a drugs bust there that turned nasty. Someone fired at one of the cops, who retaliated in kind, and in the ensuing crossfire Ian got in the head. Mum, he's real mess. Mum please come, please! I need you, I really do. Katie's promised to take me to the hospital, but she can't stay long, as Ron's out of town. Mum, come as soon as you get this message, please!"

(6 months later)

Hi Mum,

Well, today I got the news I've been waiting for for the last two months. Ian can come home. The specialist told us this afternoon. Everyone I've seen is delighted. "What wonderful news," they keep saying. But they don't know him. They can see him lying there, straining to remember the smallest detail of our life together. They don't see the effort it takes to get him out of bed and walk him down the passage. Mum, I loved this man. And when I see him like that, there's still something in me that says, I want to give him my love. Yet, the fact is any love had gone out of our marriage long before the accident. Married singles, that's what you would have called us. And now I'm going to have to devote the next 6-12 months of my life to a man I no longer know and who can't remember anything about our life together. Oh yes, the doctor was very blunt about that.

"Mrs. Storman, you must realise that although your husband is slowly regaining the use of his body, his mind is still very much a blank. You're going to have to help him, Mrs. Storman; and it's going to take a lot of time and energy."

Mother, how on earth am I going to cope! It's all too much. And on top of that, Ian's not going to be able to work for another year, at least. His firm has been great. They've kept Ian on and kept up the insurance payments at the same time. But they're not going to wait another 12 months for a crippled executive to return to the post, not even knowing if he's going to be able to do so. And then what? The house, the cars, all our luxury, even the maid... are we going to have to forsake all this? And the computer! Mother, I won't even be able to write you these mails any more. No, I can't, I just can't!

What's more, when Ian gets back, I'll be all alone. Ron's been a great help over these past months. He's round most days now and whenever Katie's out of town he spends the evenings with me. Until now, I've not let him stay the night, but I do so long for him when I wake up alone. But with Ian back at home, even that consolation will be denied me. I'm all alone alone; all alone with Ian.

(Another 6 months later)

Hi Mum,

Sorry I haven't written for so long. I bet you think, we've had to sell the computer. Well, we've not had to, not yet. But we probably are going to have to do without quite a lot, now that Ian has resigned from the company.

Now, I know you thought things were going well for Ian at work. And they were. Getting back to work was the one thing that really helped Ian make remarkable progress. Oh, at first, things were difficult, but everyone was remarkably patient and explained things a hundred times. Jenny took the greatest burden. Never was a secretary so loving and patient. And slowly, Ian's memory started to come back. And what he discovered, shocked him. The firm's principles of justice and equity for all, are nothing more than a facade. They're out to screw whoever they can and make sure there's a big stake in it for themselves at the end of the day. Ian was disgusted, until he realised that he was one of the worst culprits. Jenny had suspected Ian was different, so she had been hiding a large part of his dossiers. But Ian found them today. He flew into a rage when he discovered what had been going on - what he had been doing. And when Jenny tried to console him, as apparantly she so often did in the past, Ian was horrified. He fled out of the office. I found him at home when I returned from a shopping trip in town... did I ever tell you that we had to get rid of the maid? He was kneeling beside his bed, tears steaming down his face. He'd remembered everything: the shady deals, the clients he'd ripped off, the secret accounts he had stashed away, and his relationship with Jenny. He remembered everything. And he told me everything. And I stood there not believing this was happening. It all seemed so surreal. This wasn't Ian talking to me. This was a different man. Or was it Ian, after all, and the Ian I'd known for years was someone else. And it wasn't just seeing him there like this, hearing all he had to confess. Ever since he'd got home, he was different. He took such an interest in me, and wanted to help in whatever way he could. He wouldn't let me mother him and insisted he do as much as possible in the home. He needed the exercise, so he said. But he took every opportunity he found to mother me as much as possible. And I hadn't realised it until today, but I really do love this man. That's why I think this is Ian, the real Ian.

Yesterday, we spent the whole day talking things through, and Ian wrote his resignation letter last night. This morning we also contact the agents to get the house sold. We'll never be able to afford it now. We don't know what we're going to do yet, but a man with Ian's abilities will easily be able to make himself useful. We still have quite a bit saved up from when Ian was working, but the hidden accounts we'll make over to the firm; a repayment for their standing by Ian during his illness, if you like.

Mother, I don't know what the future holds for us, but I do know where I want to be and with whom I want to be with. And that's what counts the most.

From the start I'd been unsure about taking Morgana on a trip to Ireland. I know she'll blame me for the idea. She usually does. That just goes to show how good she is at planting thoughts in your head and then getting you to suggest them. It seems to be a woman's gift. I sure know, I don't have it. Not that I'd not wanted to show her my home and the country I'm still very much attached to despite my long absence. But Ireland still held a few ghosts I needed to lay to rest. And the largest of these was Dad.

Dad was the reason I left Ireland, and Dad was the reason I didn't want to go back. Not that we hated each other, or anything like that. Dad was kind and caring; he was also exceedingly smothering. In his presence nothing could bloom, let alone a 19 year old youth setting out to discover life, the world, and what his place in that world was. There was just not room for the two of us in the garden of life that Dad had etched out in his younger days. His roots were firm and solid and easily swallowed up any newcomers. Either I would be subject to the same fate, or our roots would become so entwined that any notion of personality would become meaningless. And that was what I had to avoid.

So I left. I left in order to become myself. I left because I needed my space in order to become myself. And what did I discover? But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The trip itself went well. Morgana charmed the whole world, with the possible exception of a couple of once upon a time hopefuls whose Irish eyes betrayed a different kind of green and for whom the long hiatus had changed little. Mother loved her from the start and fussed over her as only Irish mothers can. Sis came to meet us at the station and endeared herself even before Morgana got off the train. It was great just seeing how Morgana conquered all wherever she went; I was falling in love with her all over again without ever having fallen out of love.

I took her everywhere. We visited all the old haunts and I told her some, but far from all my former adventures... some things really are best left unsaid. But one place I didn't take her, was Dad's tomb. I didn't want to go there myself, so how could I take her. I knew I had to go if I was to break Dad's spell in my life, but I just couldn't bring her to do it. In the end, it was Mum who took her, and gave me a very awry look of disapproval while she was about it. We had just two days to go, before returning home again. And we'd not be back until well after the wedding. Was Dad going to dominate our life together too?

I grabbed my coat and went for a long walk. But it was no good. The path kept taking me back towards the graveyard. Coming to yet another fork I cunningly picked the more direct root, that one that went past the pub before going on to the graveyard. If I was going to have to do this, then I needed some fortification. But it was no good. I went in, greeted those standing round the bar, stammered an "I'll be back later, Gerry" and walked straight back out again. I was going to have to face up to this, and I was going to have to do it alone. Not even Guinness could help me today.

I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say or do when I got there. I just knew I had to get it done. In the end my surprise came to my aid; surprise that the tomb was so small. Could this little slab of space really hold such a giant? This man who overshadowed my life, was now lying under my feet. And he seemed so ordinary lying there as he was. I sat and began to talk to him. The more I talked the more I felt his hold slackening. I told him all I had done since leaving home. I told him about friends and about betrayal; how much I had learnt and how different things had become important to me. This was the first time in my life that I talked to my father like this, and it was the first time he'd listened. Maybe it was the first time I'd let him listen. And as I sat there I suddenly realised, how much I owed him, how many of my values came from him, how similar to him I had become. But the key thing was that I had become this on my own. And through the wind blowing in the leaves I'm sure I heard him whisper: "Thank you son. I'm proud of you."

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