"God, my heavenly father, I understand you only throw at us what we can endure but how can I recover from this? Of what use am I now that I've failed to protect my family? What is the point of learning from this lesson? What is the point of being stronger, If the people I was supposed to protect: are gone."
A bang from the closet shocked me and jarred my concentration— I lost my prayer. I hadn't touched that closet, or heard any noise come out of it in years. I made my way over carefully, snakes appeared in the house from time to time: it was best to be careful.
As I opened the closet door I saw my black and white telescope, from when I was a kid, had fallen. It was staring right back up at me as if asking me to take it for one last spin. I was going to give that telescope to Jimmy when he was old enough...damn it. 10 years later and everything continues to remind me of my son and wife.
I cannot escape the guilt, and I no longer have the energy to fight my conscience anymore. Tomorrow it will all be over.
It had been marinating in my mind that there was only one real answer, but in that moment something unexpected happened. In my lowest point, during my surrender, I had this sudden urge to look through my old telescope one last time: to forget about everything, for at least a moment.
I grabbed the pearl white and obsidian laced telescope and positioned it near the circular window. It took me a second to remember how to adjust and get it focused but I managed. Pluto was my go to. When I was a kid, I felt that if I could find the smallest and furthest planet, I must be pretty doing something right: it was great practice.
As I was trying to bring Pluto into focus, something off to left caught my eye. At first I thought it was a bright star, but the light was changing directions from left to right, or was it moving up and down? I remember going back and forth thinking it was some type of aircraft or thinking I was seeing things.
It seemed to have stopped. I remember that much, and when it stopped, the light felt as though it had locked on to my eyes, then locked onto my body. It had a pulsating glow. Each pulse grew in strength, taking up more and more of my vision. This can't be real.
The light was beginning to burn my eyes from the sheer brightness. I began to recoil out of the telescope but before I could: the light had absorbed me.
All vision around me had transformed into the same radiant light.
At first, I was startled by the luminescent aura, but it was nothing compared to the warmth and comfort that had greeted me along with it. For the first time in 10 years: I had peace. I felt home.
The radiance subsided and the warmth faded— what came into view in front of me was the hostess working the local bar. I remember her. She hasn't aged a day. Woah— Wait a second.
That was the moment I realized that this was the night of the accident. This was the night I drank one too many at dinner. This was the night I lost my wife and son. This was the night my life was obliterated.
A weak white glow persisted around the edges of my sight but everything felt real. "Mark, the waitress is showing us to our table." That voice, it couldn't be, Katherine? I turned and there she was: my Katherine. She gestured me over and little Jimmy was right there too, grasping onto her leg— trying to hitch a ride.
My eyes started to well up and I moved forward to embrace my wife and son. The light began to flicker as if it had become agitated: reality was becoming unstable. The radiance reacted by encroaching on me once again, I was being removed, taken out the same way I had came.
"No! Please don't take them from me again!" I froze and the aura halted along with me. It's a test. I have to go along with it.
The luminescence stayed at bay and we were all seated by an elegant and high spirited waitress; sheasked us what we wanted to drink. Katherine spoke up. "I'll have a glass of red wine, whichever you recommend is fine with me; and my son Jimmy will have a sprite with a cherry please: it's his favorite." The waitress chuckled a little and thought the drink order was cute while looking at a five year old Jimmy grinning ear to ear.
"Dawnt fergit dah cherwy pwease." Jimmy said with a concerned toddler
The waitress had an awe face that expressed she was quitting at this very moment to leave and go make babies of her own.
I had completely forgotten about Jimmy's cherry sprites! It's unfortunate how difficult it is to remember the good times when despair takes hold. Joy felt like a stranger.
As the waitress turned to take my order I was shocked by her earrings. They were made of obsidian with pearl engravings. They formed little telescopes. Little black and white telescopes: just like mine. Unbelievable.
"Sir, what'll you have to drink?" the waitress asked.
This was it, this was the moment I ruined everything. This was where I didn't understand what was at stake.
"I'll just take a glass of water please." I said.
What was left of the radiance surrounding the outskirts of my vision vanished, and all that remained was reality. A reality with my wife and son.
Katherine looked concerned.
"It's not like you to order water at a restaurant babe; it's okay if you want let loose a little bit tonight, you've been working so hard lately. Is something wrong? Are you sick?"
Tears began to seep uncontrollably. "Sweet-heart, I feel great, this is the best night of my life."