That bellowing voice you hear echoing through the hallway is my dad. I don’t know what he wants. He probably wants me to get something for him. You know how fathers do. I think it’s a power thing. For instance, ‘ come in here and get the remote.’ Or ‘ hand me my phone that is sitting across the table from me. Or the ultimate power move, ‘bring me the toilet paper while I have this bathroom door open so you can smell all my scent.’ Oh my goodness, it is the absolute worst. But, we still love them.
I especially love my dad. It has been me and him ever since I could remember. And he has been an awesome father. I never really desired a mother in the house because he has always exhibited both characteristics. Now don’t get me wrong, I have thought about it. I mean, who wouldn’t. Dad really doesn’t talk about her though. He just says she had the most beautiful smile. I don’t know if there was something crazy that went wrong and it is my duty to go find her, or if she is a female dog and never think about her. Either way, I know I’m not missing much because my dad had been amazing.
“David! I know you hear me boy”
But, of course, he still does annoying things.
“David!” my dad yells as my door blasts open. “David! Did you not hear me?” “I was coming.” I am glad they haven’t invented portable lie detectors yet, or at least they aren’t affordable. ‘What are you in here doing? Are you in here watching porn! You know you can go blind doing that.” I hope not…I’m just kidding, kind of. “No, dad. I am not watching porn.” “O ok.” “Did you need something?”
As he sat on my bed, I can tell by his serious face that it was about to be a deep teaching moment. I have to admit, some of them are good. But sometimes they can go long. I guess tonight, I should let him have his moment because it is the last night before I head to college. I am excited, but a little sad. I’ve spent so much time with my dad, that I honestly don’t know how I am going to head to another city. He probably thinks the same thing, so I shouldn’t be insensitive. “Are you ok?” “Come here, sit by me.”
“Come on pops, don’t get emotional. We still have to say goodbye tomorrow.” My dad has always encouraged me to show emotions, but I don’t believe I saw him show his till now. “Dad, come on. You are going to make me cry. It’s going to be ok. Carver University is not that far away. You can visit me anytime.” “I wish I could son. But it doesn’t work like that.” “I’m sure it could. And how about this. You take off work for the next two days and we take one final road trip.” Judging by the smile that just appeared on his face, maybe that will help. “No son. This is a trip you must take yourself. I wish I could go, but this is your journey.” There go the tears again. And I don’t know why my face feels wet. There must be a leak in the house. “Dad come on. One more legendary road trip.” “I wanted to give you this son before you go.” He rolls off his black and brown beaded bracelet. I do remember him saying he would give it to me when I get older, but I was thinking he was going to give it to me on his deathbed. Wait a minute, I hope he isn’t about to go to his deathbed.
“Your bracelet? I don’t think I have ever seen you take that off.” I can see the indentation on his wrist. “This has been in our family for many generations. I honestly don’t remember how we got it, but I just know it is a one-of-a-kind heirloom.” He holds it out for me to take, but I’m a little hesitant about it. “Just give it to me straight, is something wrong? Are you dying?” “Boy, I’m not dying. You are to receive this bracelet when you are leaving the nest. That has always been the tradition and now it is time for you to carry on the tradition.” “So what’s so special about this. It is a nice-looking bracelet no lie, but what makes you think I can’t get a similar one at the store.” I am not exactly sure why he is staring at me like this. It is kind of freaking me out. “I’m proud of you son. You are now a man now and must make your own choices. You are going to go places that other people wish. You are going to see things that only people dream about. And you are going to make choices that change destinies. That is just what our family is about. And though you may forget, this bracelet is there just to remind you of who you are and where you come from.” Looks just like a bracelet I saw at Journey’s the other day. But judging by how his face is dripping with wetness that is not his usual sweat, I should take this serious. “Wow dad. Thank you. I will cherish this. I promise I will.” “I love you son.” “I love you to dad.”
After that very emotional talk last night, I am now sitting at the bus stop waiting for bus 211 to take me to school. My father insisted it was the best and cheapest way to get there. He paid for it, and I'm just a broke college student now, so I agreed. This morning wasn’t as awkward with my dad. We just gave our normal manly hug, and then he waved goodbye to me after he dropped me off. I’ll probably video call him tonight to make sure he is ok. But for now, I am about to get on this bus and take a nap. There is no way I am staying awake for 4 hours.
I think I am now in a dream. A very weird dream, but still a dream. Unless I actually sleep walk and I transferred myself to another bus when we stopped. I am for certain the bus I was on was a little more high-tech than this. And I for sure don’t remember all those people with afros. And is that an old-school boombox? What the heck. I have to be tripping. Aw crap. I don’t have my phone with me. I think I’m just going to close my eyes and hope this nightmare passes quickly.
“Next Stop, we have CU.” What is going on! “Hello.” Wow, what a sweet-sounding voice. If the face matches the voice, I may just have to play out this dream…Yep, I may just have to play out this dream. “Umm, hi?” “Are you okay? You looked a little distraught.” “Yeah, I’m fine. Especially now.” It is just a dream. I might as well try out some cheezy lines. “Well that is good. I didn’t want you to start hyperventilating.” Her aura is breathtaking. And I really want to try a taste of her creamy caramel skin. Wait a minute, did that dude just light up a cigarette? “Are you going to CU?” Is anyone going to say something to that guy that just lit up a cigarette? Oh wait, she just asked me a question. “I’m sorry, I was mesmerized by your beauty. What did you say.” Her laugh is so cute. “First off, I am not that type of lady who falls for corny lines.” Did my dream just disrespect me? That’s weird. “I like intellectual gentlemen who know how to listen.” “Oh, I know what you said. The answer is yes, I am going to CU.” Thank God I was able to replay that in my mind. But still, this is a very vivid dream. It almost feels a little to real. “Ok, well at least you know how to guess really good.” There’s that giggle again.
“Are you going to CU?” “Yeah. This will be my second year.” “Bet.” “Bet what?” “What?” “You said bet. So what are you betting?” This conversation doesn’t really seem in sync with my mind. “Umm, nothing.” “I’m just going to assume you are nervous about college.” “Yeah, that’s it.” This dream is getting weirder by the second. “Don’t be nervous freshman. It is going to be alright. Especially since you know the coolest person on campus.” “Is that so. Well what is my new friend name.” “Friend?You have to earn my friendship. I don’t want a square claiming they are my friend.” Square? Since when is that in my vocabulary. “All for CU.” “Are you coming?” Those brown eyes are food for my soul. “I guess not,” she says with that sultry voice.
Umm, this feels awfully real. “Last chance for Carver University.” I look around in the chair to see a familiar-looking bag. I grab it and run to the front as the bus driver starts to close the door. “Come on young man. I hope you pay attention better at school than you are doing now,” he says. As I walk out the door, my breathing becomes constricted as I look around at a world that I don’t think I’m making up. This dust coming in my nose is… this sun beaming down is…this school in front of me is…real? How is this possible? I can’t breathe. How? Why? What? Did the bus get hit? Am I in purgatory? “Hey?” Is this heaven or hell? “Hey?” Who is that talking to me? “Are you ok?” Is that a demon or an angel? I did hear demons were once angels. Which means they may look good until they devour your soul. “Hey man. Breathe.” I jump with what little strength I have as I feel an actual touch on my shoulder. Oh my God. This is real! “ Breathe. Someone come help!”
Oh, ok. It was just a dream. But, where am I? Not to critique it, but this couch is old school. Matter of fact, this whole room is old school. “Hello. You gave us a little scare.” An older lady says as I view her at a desk in the front of the room. “Where am I?” “They didn’t tell me you bumped your head.” I flinch a little as she touches my forehead with the back of her hand. “It’s ok. I’m just checking to see if you have a lump.” “I don’t remember what happened.” “Oh ok. You may be dehydrated.” She walks toward a old-school water cooler and dumps some water in a cup. I didn’t think it actually bubbles up till I just seen it with my own eyes. “Here, drink.” I probably shouldn’t drink water from a stranger. But I am thirsty. “Good job. Let me get you some more.” “How did I get here again.” “Some other students saw you and got me.” “Other students? Here?” “You must be a freshman. I am Nurse Gem. CU’s nurse. You were having a panic attack, so I told them to bring you here, to my office.” I could feel my chest caving in as I just realized, I am still in this nightmare. “First day can be a little overwhelming, so just lay back down."
“Hey, Nurse Gem. How is he doing?” At least there is one thing that is recurring in this mess. But she is probably the head devil. “Poor baby was not ready for school. He definitely a house boy..” Nurse Gem doesn’t know how to whisper. “Come on in. Baby needs a friend right now.” If she is a fallen angel, she wouldn’t have to offer much for me to fall. She exhibited great elegance as the perfect artistry of her figure approached. Her hair protruded with cultivated twists flowing down to her shoulders, creating a refined crown on the gorgeous queen. “Hey. Are you okay?” “Huh.” “Poor baby isn’t okay at all. Are you sure the baby didn’t bump his head.” “No Nurse Gem.” She has to stop looking at me with those eyes. “Hey. Come with me. I will walk you to orientation.” She probably means hell, but with those chocolate candy-coated eyes, I’ll follow them anywhere. Hopefully, I don’t regret that soon. “Ok.” Her hands were so soft when she grabbed mine. “I’ll take him from here Nurse Gem.” “Ok baby.”
I could feel my hands start to sweat as I followed this gorgeous woman to what could be my doom. She smiles as she looks back at me staring at her. “Alright, tell me the truth. Did I die?” “Your silly,” she replies back. That didn’t really answer my question. “Are you an angel or a devil.” She stops and looks at me with a devilish smile. I knew it. “You really did hit your head,” she says while laughing. “And to answer your question, I could be both. Depends on how you treat me.” There is a chance this real, so I should just shoot my shot. “If this is real and not a dream or purgatory, I would only treat you like the gorgeous queen you are.” “You are cute.” Well damn. I didn’t think she could get any more beautiful, but with that smile she just flashed, I think she surpassed any of my wildest dreams. “Can you tell me one more thing?” I ask her. “And what is that.” “What name do they call the most beautiful creature in the universe.” “I don’t know. But my name is Cora.” “Well Cora,” I reach out and grab her other hand. Hopefully, she doesn’t care that my hands are a little sweaty. “If you aren’t the most beautiful creature, you must be a very close second. And God kept number one for himself.” She chuckles. “And my name is David.“ I move her hand upward and gently kiss the exterior. “Well, it's good to officially meet you, David. We should get to orientation.”
In orientation, I start to learn more about this second-year psychology student. I kind of missed everything else spoken there. Afterward, she showed me around the school. It's weird since it looks exactly like CU from the 70’s, but I don’t know anything right now. Oh yeah, and somehow in this dream, nightmare, purgatory, whatever it is, I am registered here. It’s kind of weird. But honestly, I don’t care at this moment. I just love being with Cora. She is funny, very intellectual, and surprisingly popular. I actually thought she was lying on that part until she started introducing me to friends. She knew some of everybody. Not sure how I got so lucky to be with her. After I took my bag to my dorm, we ended the night on the lawn under the stars.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” I turn to look at her as she stares in awe at the blazing balls in the sky. But I couldn’t take my focus off of her. “Yes, it is.” She looks at me and giggles. “You know curfew is coming soon.” “Even if it does, I just want to cherish every moment I get with you.” “Ok, Mr. David.” She sits up and moves close to me. “I get it.” I could smell the mint as she exhaled on her approach. I still wasn’t sure where I was, or how I got there, but this moment is all that matters as the world stops turning.
As she leaves a trickle of residue on my lips, she retreats back to her original position. We both sit and reflect each other’s smiles of satisfaction. “Excuse me. Mr. Cook? David Cook?” I don’t know who that weird-looking guy is standing over there. “Do you know him?” “No.” I stand up on high alert, ready to protect my new queen. “Hello, Mr. Cook. I am a friend of your family.” “Umm ok.” “Can we talk real quick? It won’t take but a second.” “I can go sit on the bench over there. Just don’t be long because of curfew.” I watch her perfect silhouette walk toward a close bench. Such beauty.
Now, this guy may be the devil for real. “Who are you again?” “I’m like an assistant for the family. I’m here because you are the new owner of the bracelet correct?” I forgot I had it on, but it was still there. “Yeah. My dad gave it to me this morning.” “Yeah. So here is the deal. That bracelet can take you anywhere in time.” Well, I guess that makes sense. “So it's a back to the future bracelet? Cool.” “No, back to the past, or forward to the future.” I guess that movie hasn’t come out yet. “Ok, can I take anybody with me?” He looks past me to Cora. “So this is the catch. You can stay in any of those time periods, but only if you are prepared to lose something of great importance years later.” “Great importance? Like what?” “It all depends on what or who the bracelet chooses.” “And how fast do I have to make a decision.” “Right now sir.”
I look back at my queen who is waiting on me patiently with a smile that brightens the night. “Do you see her over there man?” “Yes sir. I see her. She is beautiful.” “And even though I met her just today, I think she is worth taking a chance for.” The man smiles. “Then that is that sir.” He smiles and walks away into the darkness.
“So who was that?” “Someone trying to tell me about the future. But the only future I can see is one with you.”
There goes that smile again. Beautiful!