I woke with a start, body shaking and covered in sweat. For a moment I did not know or remember where I was. The room , the bed, everything was strange. A hand gently touched mine, and I knew everything

I had been out running one day, something that seemed to happen every so often. Perhaps it was guilt at those numerous working lunches, or the worry of growing old. Whatever! The shorts were on and I was huffing and puffing along the country lanes. The day was fair, and the thought of the shower followed by a cold beer upon my return kept me plodding along.

A car overtook me, and I had a brief glimpse of a mop of golden hair and a pair of blue eyes as it disappeared round the corner.

Suddenly the quiet of the morning was pierced by the screeching of breaks, followed by an almighty crash

Is if it were a starting gun, the sound of the crash sent me racing round the corner, to be confronted by a tangled mass of metal.

It would seem from the first glance, a farmer was coming out of one of the fields on his tractor, when the car came round the corner, hitting it fair and square.

I rushed to the wreck vehicles, the farmer had been thrown from the tractor, and was now slowly getting to his feet, blood streaming from a deep gash in his head. He mumbled something about a farm and the ambulance, and started off unsteadibly across the fields to a distant house

I went to the car, the smell of petrol filled, my senses. I reached inside, the car, trying not to move the man who sat behind the wheel, turned off the engine
I did not think about what might happen in another car happened to come along

I needed to try and free the man, his eyes flicked open. He tried to speak, blood spilled from his mouth.
"Do not bother with me" he gasped "I've had it. Save her, save my Diane"
I looked into the back of the car, the blond mass of curls was very still.

"Diane, it's ok, I'm here, it's ok"

A hand grasped mine, and in that brief moment, I lost my heart.

That hand never left mine, all the way through the ambulance journey, and into the hospital.

The days that followed as I sat at her bedside, that hand was often in mine. The driver was dead when the ambulance arrived, and though everybody tried, nobody could be found who was related in anyway to my Diane, as that is how I now looked at her.

So here I was sitting by her bed, and that hand was once more in mine. This time though I felt a gentle squeeze. And my eyes filled with tears

Oh well I thought, perhaps I was not to old.

I settled back in the chair, a hand small and soft in mine.
Tomorrow I thought, tomorrow, I would see what had to be done to take care of the small angel that lay there in the bed. After all, she would need a father now and I knew that no matter what, I had just found a daughter.

Barry Eva 2000