The clocks in Ireland went back one hour last night. Today as I look at the different times on the clocks in my house I feel somewhat confused. Which reminds me of something that happened a friend of mine many years ago.
We were student nurses at the time, on night duty. My friend was the eldest of two children, with a younger brother who had begun to be a somewhat challenging teenager. Many nights we met at break where she entertained us by sharing his latest escapade.
One weekend her parents were invited to a family wedding ‘down the country’, which would mean an overnight stay. They had been looking forward to it for a long time, however as the day approached they became increasingly nervous. Their sons bad behaviour was giving them serious cause for concern and they were nervous about going away for a full day and night. However with a lot of reassurance from my friend they decided to risk it.
The wedding was on a Saturday, and my friend had booked the night off. However she was working on the Friday night. Returning from work early Saturday morning she decided to stay up to see her parents off, and to be around to keep an eye on her brother. Her parents eventually left somewhat reluctantly, with my friend reassuring them that she could manage her brother with no problems.
As the hours passed by, the week of night duty began to take it’s toll. My friend tried to do some housework in order to stay awake, but she was exhausted. It was 3pm when her brother and his friend came to her to ask if it was okay for him to go to his friends house down the road. He assured her he would be home by 7 o clock. She agreed and off they went. Alone in the house tiredness overwhelmed her, so she decided to go to bed for a nap.
She was woken by the loud ringing of the telephone in the hall downstairs. Bewildered and confused she got up to answer it. The house was in complete darkness.
‘Hello?’, she answered, her mouth dry.
‘Is Darren there?’, a womans voice shouted.
‘Darren?’, she answered confused, ‘Who is Darren?’.
‘Daren, my son’, shouted the voice. ‘You are Stephen’s sister aren’t you? I thought you were keeping an eye on them’.
‘Oh yes’, she said, as slowly she began to recall the events of the day. ‘Emm, they went out’.
‘Out?’, shouted the voice, Out where? When?’.
As my friend looked around the dark hall she remembered her brothers promise to be home by 7pm.
‘They said they’d be home by 7’ she announced in what she hoped was a confident tone.
‘7’ shouted the voice once more, ‘7, do you know what time it is now?
‘No’ replied my friend, confusion overcoming her once more. As she looked around the dark empty house she said to the angry voice,
‘Sorry, but do you mind if I ask you, is it day or night?’.
There was silence on the phone and eventually the voice said, ‘And you are the one supposed to be looking after your brother’.
The phone went dead.