The Blue Knight - Part 1


The Blue Knight
Part One - In a Lifetime


 
Headquarter's Plaza Parking Garage...Morristown, New Jersey...December, 1986

Hard to tell
Or recognize a sign
To see me through
A warning sign

Caden walked briskly across the pavement, her heels clicking lively as she approached her car. She had parked in the daytime, and only under the dark sky of early evening did she notice that the lot was unlit as she got to her car. In a moment, she was slammed against the car when she leaned forward to unlock the door as a large man ripped at her purse. She pulled back by the strap that was sliding down her arm and the man punched her twice, once in the cheek; knocking her to the ground.....

*****

Officer Michael Callahan pulled up the cruiser, flashing the spotlight on the fallen figure lying next to the sedan.

“Officer needs ambulance in the top tier of the parking garage adjacent to Headquarter Plaza,” the call went through to dispatch.

A moment later the girl was cradled in the officer’s strong arms, soft words saying clearly, "Don't worry, you're okay." The voice was steady, calming Caden, who by now had sat up. Michael’s cap had tilted forward, almost obscuring the view of the young lady.

“Easy, Ma’am,” the voice continued to soothe and Caden relaxed in Michael’s arms. Michael tilted back the cap visor a bit before wiping Caden’s cheek with a large gauze pad from out of the first aid kit; the blood had begun to cake and Caden’s eyelid was already turning blue. A moment later they were bathed in flashing red lights as the ambulance pulled up and two med techs got out and stepped up to the pair.

“Hey…Meeku” The taller of the two said with a soft laugh; relieved to see Caden stirring once again at their arrival. Michael nodded.

“How’s your family, Ramil?” The man smiled and signaled okay as he knelt down to check Caden, who had slipped back into Michael’s arms after growing dizzy.

“Nasty cut, Ram…butterfly that quick, kay?” Fin said and then called it into the ER. A minute later Caden was strapped to the gurney and they lifted it into the ambulance.

“Thank you…I don’t know your name,” Caden said with smile followed quickly by a wince from the pain of what proved to be a bruised neck.

“Michael…Michael Callahan.” Michael smiled as the door to the ambulance closed. A moment later the ambulance was driving down the exit ramp of the garage.


* * * * *

And as the rain it falls
Begin again
Heavy in my heart
As the storm breaks through
Believe the light in you
So the light shines in you
Without color, faded and worn
Torn asunder in the storm

“It’s okay, Ma’am. Just a short trip down the road; the South Street repairs finished yesterday so we don’t have that annoying detour,” Fin said, wiping Caden’s fore head. Caden looked at the doors of the ambulance as if she could still see the officer.

She sighed. One more disappointment. Fifteen months past her first surgery and finally with the last of it behind her; no one’s fault really, but even after a second operation, there was still significant numbness, and the doctor could only say ‘it’s hopeful.’ Having her purse stolen on her birthday would have been bad enough but the crime was compounded by the loss of an antique ring her grandmother had given her . And then she pondered the real loss.

“So…kind,” she said to herself, getting the attention of Ramil, who was checking her pulse.

“I’m sorry, but I didn’t catch what you said.” He apologized.

“Oh…I…” Caden would find out only thirty-six minutes later that she had a concussion, but she was lucid enough to ask the question.

“Oh…Officer… the police officer?”

“Michael Callahan,” Fin said, holding an ice pack on Caden’s cheek.

“Michael….” Caden said almost absent mindedly. Ramil turned to Fin and smiled broadly.

“Michael is a very good police officer….one of the best!” Ramil wasn’t exaggerating. The two had served in Grenada almost three years before and had earned each other’s respect and friendship.

“Michael is one of a kind.” Fin said, laughing softly as she flashed a smile and a conspiratorial wink in Ramil’s direction.

“Yes, one of a kind, I’d say.” The conversation had barely gotten started before Caden felt the ambulance come to a halt.


* * * * *

Morristown Memorial Hospital

Unless the sound
Save your body's soul
Unless it disappears

(First the thunder) Selfish storm
(Then the storm) Hold on the inside
(Torn asunder) One life
In the storm

A few seconds later she was lying on a tall bed in the ER with a nice doctor in a hijab shining a penlight in her left eye.

“I don’t think the socket is broken, but we’ll send you to radiography. The swelling is minimal, so we should be able to get a good film if we get you there right away. I will say I’m positive you have a concussion, and we’ll be keeping you overnight at least for observation.’ Dr. Laleh Aamanpoor said with only the hint of a British accent; a leftover blessing of an education in London. She smiled and was about to turn to the nurse when she felt a hand pull at her sleeve.

“Doctor? I’m …can you notify my GP? Jane Aldretti?“ Laleh smiled at the recognition of the name.

“Of course. Any family members?” Caden shook her head, and winced at the gesture.

“Easy…no sudden movements Miss O’Rourke. Someone will be here shortly to transport you for x-rays. Everything will be okay.” She smiled and went to walk away but stopped almost as if someone had grabbed her once again. She stepped up to the bed and leaned close.

“It’s going to be alright. I’m sure you’ll check out just fine.” And then, as if she wasn’t close enough, she leaned far enough to look as if she was about to kiss the girl. She whispered softly,

“You don’t have to worry. We have a very discreet and caring staff here. And besides…one could hardly tell. You had some very good doctors.”

Caden immediately frowned and sighed heavily. Laleh noticed and quickly added,

"It's hardly noticeable even if you're looking..." She used her eyes to direct Caden's attention to the girl's neck. Her kerchief had been lost in the scuffle in the parking lot. She frowned again, feeling very insecure. Laleh half-frowned herself before adding,

"I'm sorry. It's been a rough night already, and that didn't help at all." She squeezed the girl's hand. Almost as an afterthought, she repeated herself,

"I'm very sorry, Miss O'Rourke. Please forgive me?"

The girl nodded and half-smiled with a wince, more from the sting of truth of the doctor's words than the pain in her cheek. She laid back on the bed, blinking out tears. It was true that the doctors were excellent; the best in fact. But it also remained painfully true that unless God had a miracle up his divine sleeve, she would never ‘enjoy’ the product of her doctor’s work. But even if she could feel something down there, it was almost assured that someone as nice as Michael Callahan would ever care for a girl who had been born twenty-six years ago that day as Kellen James O’Rourke.


The Callahan home...a while later...

“Hi, Michael, honey. How was your shift?” Michael’s mother said as she hung Michael’s hat on the peg by the door. She always greeted her youngest child with a kiss on the cheek and a question about the day’s events, and today was no exception; actually the clock was more than a few ticks past midnight, so it was Christmas Eve.

“Nothing happened all evening until about an hour ago. A girl was walking to her car and she got mugged. Danny Giraldi is going to follow up at the hospital, since I’ve got to take you to the airport at five. I’m gonna take a shower and then a long cat nap before we head out…give me til about three-thirty.” The sound of the shower was followed by the creak of the bathroom door as it closed. Michael pulled a small bright object from the left shirt pocket, promising to stop by the hospital on the way back from the airport. A moment later, Michael stood at the sink, pushing fingers through thick blond hair.

Michael thought about the woman and sighed. One more day of frustration. No resistance or even notice at work, but it didn’t seem that there would ever be an opportunity for a relationship; life hindered by unnecessary fears and preconceived notions and a very necessary and demanding call to work; needful overtime since Michael’s mother was flying to Phoenix to meet her daughter Linda before a drive to Goodyear to the Cancer Center.

“Dear god…please make Mommy all better,” the child like-prayer spilled out almost as painfully as the tears that fell in the sink. A moment later shameful distraction took over; shameful at least in Michael’s eyes, even If no condemnation came from anyone else. The hands that held the young lady only hours before moved across a willing body even as guilt slowed them. Fingers exploring the soft nipple on the left while the other hand crept tentatively downward. A microsecond later both hands had flown to a face that was red with shamed heat and bitter tears. Guilt over what comprised identity and form and belief; twisting faith awry as accusations filled an already burdened heart.

“Michael? Is everything okay?” Katie Callahan knocked gently on the bathroom door.

“I’m …I’m okay, Mom…..could you put on the kettle for some chamomile tea? I think I’m too tired to sleep, you know?” Michael shouted through the door over the sound of the shower that was already growing cold. Turning to the mirror, the hands pulled away from a very tired and overwhelmingly sad face. A moment later the hot tears dissolved in soapy water as the washcloth moved across Michael’s face. The tears may have disappeared but the crying continued as Michael thought once again about an uneasy but almost irresistible attraction to the woman who had already stolen Michael’s heart.

“Please…god…this hurts too much….I can’t do this …” Michael thought of the demands of the job…the pull of anticipated grief as Katie Callahan fought stage three ovarian cancer. And Michael thought about the attraction to the young lady…the forbidden love, a stubborn and misguided but vocal few had already spoken in haste and ignorance. And Michael calmly stepped into the shower. Turning down the cold to get as much heat into the water stream, Michael sat down on the floor of the shower, spent from all of the day’s disappointments. And she cried.

(First the thunder) Selfish storm
(Then the storm) Hold on the inside
(Torn asunder) One life
In the storm

In a lifetime
In a lifetime
In a lifetime
In a lifetime


Next - Intersection


In A Lifetime
words and music by
Pá³l Brennan, Ciará¡n Brennan
Performed by
Clannad and Bono
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_klil_eOEY



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