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‘The Resolution’ by Rik Lonsdale

‘You need to take more exercise, dad.’

I’d heard it before, not only from my daughter but the doctor as well. I just couldn’t be bothered. I knew why. It was since I lost Emily. We used to walk a lot during our forty years together, but now it just wasn’t the same. But to shut my daughter up I agreed to start walking again in the new year.

‘A new year’s resolution,’ I said, ‘I’ll have a walk twice a week. Now can we get on with enjoying ourselves?’

She waited until the 2nd January to ring and remind me of the resolution. It seemed a fine day, so I told her I was just about to go out.

Where I live it’s rural and the walks are lovely, but not short. I talked myself into a walk up the hill, down the other side, then back to the pub for refreshment.

I didn’t see a soul until after I’d crowned the hill and begun my descent. Then I saw a figure below me, heading uphill. It looked like it would be ten minutes before we met. But after a little while I saw the person stumble, then slip off the path and begin to fall down the hill side. I chuckled to myself, thinking they must have slipped, but then I saw the figure lying still on the grass.

Something’s wrong, I thought and quickened my pace. I was out of breath when I found the unconscious woman.

I’d done some first aid long ago so checked for vital signs, breaks and bleeding. There wasn’t much to see, but she didn’t look like she was coming round. I couldn’t carry her down the hill, it was more than I could manage, and she clearly needed help. Then it started raining, heavily.

I phoned the emergency services, and ten minutes later the Air Ambulance was hovering overhead. They winched her aboard and then said, ‘you’d better come along too.’ The crew had her on a drip by the time I was onboard, and they took us to hospital.

I didn’t even know her name, but the staff kept telling me about her, how she was alright and would be able to go home soon.

Then, there she was, thanking me for saving her life. It turns out she was diabetic and had forgotten to bring any sugar with her on her walk. If the ambulance hadn’t got to her, she would have died.

I got us a taxi home, least I could do.

‘What were you doing, walking in this weather?’ I said in the back of the taxi.

‘Well, it was fine when I set off,’ she said, ‘and I’d promised my son I’d get more exercise, a sort of new year’s resolution.’

She didn’t understand why I laughed, but we’ve been walking together now for a year. And whenever we do, we count our miles and contribute to the Air Ambulance. We both know neither of us would be walking if it wasn’t for them.

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