He saw all the changes he had made. Evelyn Noonan decided to walk home, her mind a flurry of confused thoughts and ideas. She wasn’t quite sure why she had declined to get on the bus, and by the time she got home she felt ridiculous, astounded that she had listened to a crazy blind man. She led a happy life, and died in comfort, never again perturbed by designs of fate. Instead of dying at the age of thirty-nine, on the 25 September 2012, she lived to be eighty-four.
The difference this woman made was enormous. Seventeen minutes after Evelyn got off the bus, Cillian stood in the bus aisle as it passed his target, the Irish House of Parliament, Leinster House. He looked at the passengers. His masters told him they were his enemies, but his mind registered only friends. The man at the back of the bus reminded him of his guitar tutor. The twins at the front were similar to his childhood friends. The bus driver looked like his da.
The woman who could have tipped the balance was Evelyn. Had she stayed on the bus, Cillian would have pressed the detonator. He would have seen her stalling the bus's journey due to dropping her coins, and he would have been reminded of his old english teacher, a woman he despised for her pompousness and upper-class upbringing. A woman who looked down on her students as peasants. A woman Cillian's conscience would have no trouble eliminating, even if it meant the death of fifty other people. A woman who was his enemy.
But Evelyn never got on the bus, and so Cillian never detonated the bomb. The bus reached its destination. There was no scene of devastation outside Leinster House, and no spark to ignite a revolution. Cillian's masters' plans never came to fruition, at least not that year, and life continued in moderate peace.
Cillian managed to evade his masters for four days. A week later his head and left hand was found in the Liffey. The hand was still holding the detonator.
The blind man could see all these alterations, and more. He saw how everything had changed, both big and small. From the failure of the 2012 Uprising to someone winning an extra two-thousand Euro in the Lotto.
Two twins had to drop out of college, instead of dying when they were only eighteen.
A guitarist played a breakthrough gig and signed a record deal, becoming one of Ireland’s most famous artists.
And a cyclist, instead of living his life in normalcy, almost ran over the huddled figure of a blind man as he clenched his head in the middle of the park. The cyclist broke his leg irreparably a minute later, distracted by what he had seen. The leg had to be amputated and the cyclist fell into a depression, living to be only thirty-seven.
The blind man lay in the middle of the park, as the sun set gently on the horizon. He waited for the cyclist to pass, to swerve and yell as the blind man knew he would, and slowly, stood. The voices roared inside his skull, but he could control them now. He listened to the whispers, and awaited his retribution. He would be punished severely for his interference, but he didn’t mind. As long as Time let him live, he would continue to defy it.
A long time ago, the blind man had made his decision.