To the Stranger who lives in E4~
Just this morning I caught a glimpse of you, just as the elevator doors began to close. Your burgundy tie was a bit askew as you fumbled with your briefcase because the elderly woman next to you bumped into you with her zebra-print umbrella and carpetbag monstrosity. Very Mary Poppins-like but with a 70's flair. Perhaps she has her own secrets she carries, cumbersome and unyielding.
I know mine are. But what secrets aren't weights crushing us and grinding us to the bone?
Here again, another chance blown away, tossed far and wide as if caught up in the dance of gust and breeze. Do you ever feel that way? Losing ground in a strange world where rules change by the day and life passes by in mere seconds?
Can you imagine another place? Where death is no longer mourned and infirmities are celebrated? I want to find that place. Hopefully it's where we will meet-at the edge of hope and dreams.
But reality is cold: the ice-cream that melts before I can get to the cone or the bowling alley closed down because of looters.
In the daybreak of tomorrow, there won't be any more chances. Time's run out I'm afraid... with 100 different ways I wish I could say "hello" instead of whispering "good-bye."
Two months ago I signed my name on a dotted line and put in my 4-weeks notice at Harry and Winston, the law firm on East Blvd. Most of personal belongings packed, shipped and delivered to my older sister Raina. She has more use for them than I do. I won't need a full wardrobe where I'm headed.
Rays of golden thread warm my cheeks, not a cloud to mar the beauty of a clear Spring day. My left hand reaches for my camera so that I can capture the sunrise over Black Mountain, but its gone. Stored in a small cedar chest which once belonged to my grandmama Maria. In it is everything I hold dear, my camera, my journal, the picture of Raina and I at her wedding, and a small gold ring.
It's the one personal item I am able to bring with me when I leave.
In a few hours a sleek limo will arrive and an impeccably dressed chauffeur will offer me a ride downtown. When I reach Starworth Laboratories they will issue me my drab black uniform, plastic name tag, and lumpy pillow.
My treasure chest will be stowed away at the bottom of a steel gray pod, my home for the next century.
Yes, they are putting me to sleep, a stasis of sorts. No one has ever tried such an experiement before but Dr. Grenwall and his team are confident in their abilities. Brilliant in science and technology, not so great at small talk.
Though we have never met, I always dreamed of meeting someone like you. Tall and strong yet kind and generous, yes, those suit you. I observed you through my glass prison as you helped a young mother and her three children cross the street safely. I held my breath as my heart leapt in my chest as you wandered about in the pouring rain, searching for Mrs. Winter's lost tabby cat.
Those acts of kindness shine the light on your character. It is that character which values others above oneself which will change the world. I wish I could have told you that in person. Then you would have seen that hazel eyes never lie.
My eyes are perfect, unlike the rest of me. Four months ago my infirmities became flaws under the microscope of curiosity. Dr. Grenwall, my late father's partner, knew how much I hated to be poked and prodded. My days of being daddy and mommy's puppet were over.
Yet he convinced me. I limped through a battery of tests, suffered through two strenuous medical evaluations, and lost 10 pounds I couldn't afford to lose.
"All in the name of science dear" he spouted highhandedly, "just think of it as a living testament to your father's contributions to science and a future free of disease."
My character flaws include many things but the most prominent being mousiness-the unfortunate ability to become mute and nod my head in agreement even when my soul is on fire with fear and anger.
Dr. Grenwall knew that I wouldn't care if my infirmities killed me. But he did figure out that I would do it for the children, the future generations who will hike Black Mountain and play under a hot Arizona sun.
In stasis, my nerves might just heal, and the terror waging war in my body may just quit. Could I possibly wake up and be able to walk on a beach in the sun for more than an hour without my skin beginning to melt off? To build a snowman without all my nerve endings shocking me immobile?
If only I could tell you stories...stories of two brilliant scientists and their two wayward daughters, who learned quickly that 'freaks of nature' was a kind nickname.
What could 100 years do for me? For the world?
I don't have the answer to those questions, although for your sake I wish I did. My purpose is not to figure it all out but to be a catalyst toward a calmer, healthier, new world. A place where we can live beyond infirmities and achieve anything.
I once thought I would be married, four kids, and practicing law. Infirmity greeted me instead, stealing my vitality and snuffing out my dreams. Your life, your vision in my mind, became my meaning for leaving my glass prison.
Always strangers...but only until dreams meet. For when I awake one day, I hope to find you on the edge of hope and healing, leading into a never-ending dawn.
So if you read of me in the newspaper and happen to remember the mouse from 2F, know that I have marked my place in history, never in dark but beyond where infirmities lie.