CHILDHOOD DREAMS AND WISHES

SHARON KENNISON

 

                She often thought of him, of his smile with his dimples showing so well. She thought of his walk, and the way he talked using his hands. She remembered many of the things he had accomplished in his life. And she thought about the end of his life, the tragic ending of a young man way before his time. The hours and the tears had not lessened the pain, and after the passage of all these years, some how she didn’t think it ever would. And to feel this way about someone she had never actually met was even more amazing. If only she could find someone like him today, to have a future with a person as wonderful as that, would be her greatest dream. One which, she was afraid, would never happen. Her life had been full of unfulfilled dreams. And empty nights. How many more lay ahead of her she didn’t know. Only that the one person who could fill them had been dead for more than 30 years. Oh the dreams of childhood. Many forgotten. And some which still remain.

            She shook herself out of her dreams. She was at work, and needed to concentrate on her job. She really liked her job, but lately had become distracted easily. Living in the past too much she told herself. But she knew it was living with childhood dreams which was the cause of many nights of tears and hours spent in thought. But for now, she needed to pay attention and mentally shook herself back into the present. So much to do, and so little time to accomplish the deeds.

            She had just become involved in some reading when she heard someone walk up to the desk. It was a subtle sound, a slight scuff of a heel on the floor.

            “Excuse me, but could I interrupt you for a few minutes?”

            There was something about that voice, but she couldn’t place it right now.

            “That’s fine, what may….” and abruptly halted her sentence as she looked up.  . Standing in front of her was the twin of the person she had spent many countless hours thinking about. The dark hair, the dark eyes. The smile that put dimples in either cheek. She tried not to stare, but it was impossible.

            “I’m sorry,” she said, when at last she was able to catch her breath. “You remind me of someone from a long time ago.”

            “Yes, I hear that from time to time. I hope it is of someone that you care about.”

            She was still very shaken, and nodded her head. “Yes, very much so. How may I help you?”

            She stepped closer to the end of the desk, taking in his every feature. How could two people be so similar? It was truly amazing.

            “I was wondering if I could talk to you about something? It will only take a few minutes, and could be of a benefit to both of us.”

            This intrigued her, as she had no idea about what he could need to talk to her. She had never met this man before, so couldn’t have any history with him.

            “I’m sorry, I guess I don’t understand. What do you need to talk to me about?”

            “Would you walk with me a bit? I promise you, it will all make sense very soon.”

            She looked around at her co-worker, who had her head down reading from a chart. She hadn’t seemed to notice that anyone stood there. Turning back around, the man was still there, and for some reason, she had the impression that she could trust him. Now, trust was something that didn’t come easily to her. Especially when strangers were involved. But was he a stranger? There was something so very familiar about him. But how could that be?

            “I guess, if it won’t take long.”

            “Fine. How about taking a walk down to the canteen, for a cup of coffee perhaps?” His eyes showed that he wasn’t sure she would go that far with someone she didn’t know. She was looking very hesitant. So he decided it might be time to pay a trump card, and he called her by her name.

            She was started. How could he know that? She glanced down, but her nametag was turned around, he couldn’t have gotten her name that way. She looked into his eyes, and noticed a slight fear that wasn’t there before. Why would he be afraid of her?

            She felt a slight shove on her shoulder, but glancing around saw that there wasn’t anyone near her. Now that was strange. She wasn’t given to fantasy ideas having lived in the world of reality for so many years. But she had also learned years ago to trust her instincts. And they were telling her that taking this walk was a good idea.

            “I’m going downstairs for a few minutes,” she said to her co-worker. “I’ll be back shortly.” Her co-worker nodded but didn’t look up from her work. And with that, she started down the hallway with the tall, dark headed stranger by her side.

            The conversation was non-existent as they waited for the elevator to arrive. Stepping in, she pushed the button for the lower level and watched the numbers slowly descend. So slowly in fact that it seemed like a slow motion film.

            “I know this all seems strange to you. And to be true, it is strange for me as well. I have never done this before myself, so you will forgive me if I stutter a bit.” And he put his hands in the front pocket of his jeans, as if he didn’t know what else to do with them.

            She turned to face him. “Just want do you mean? And what do you intend to do?”

            “Talk to someone about childhood dreams, and future wishes.” The entire time his eyes never left hers. And  the statement was so quiet, she thought she had misunderstood what he had said.

            “What dreams, and what wishes? Whose?”

            “Yours.”

            She stood there, watching him. His gaze never faltered. He smiled that sweet smile and she knew. It hit her where she lived. And almost knocked her out. But it couldn’t be. Not him. That was not possible.

            “Normally not, you are right. But in this case, it is.”

            “What are you talking about?” She hadn’t said anything so what was he talking about.

            He slowly took his hands from his pockets and reached out to take her hands in his. “I am the one you think I am. In this case, it is possible.” He held her hands as she tried to pull away.

            “That can’t be. You have been dead for more than 30 years. So how is that possible?”

            He looked down, absently stroking her hands. He noticed that her hands were strong, but slightly rough from the work that she did. It fit with her life, a life he had been watching for many years. And he needed to tell her everything, now before he lost his nerve.

            Glancing up, he again looked into her eyes. “Before I tell you how, I want to tell you a few other things. And I don’t want you to be scared, that’s not why I am telling you these things. I want you to understand everything.”

            “I remember way back when, I received many letters from young girls. I read them, and was amazed that all these girls would spend their time writing to me. I read them, smiled at many, and put them away. But one day, I read a letter from a girl and my heart just stopped. It wasn’t what she said, but how she said them. The entire letter just tugged at my heart. So when, a few weeks later I read another letter from this same girl, it didn’t take long to understand that here was someone very special.”

            She was watching him, not totally understanding what he was saying. But for some reason, she understood the need to hear him out, to see where this was all going. So she waited for him to continue.

            He swallowed hard, as if what he had to say next was very hard. “All of this happened at a time in my life that was very hard for me. And for whatever reasons, which I won’t talk about right now, as we don’t have the time, my life ended shortly after I read that second letter.” He smiled sweetly at her as he continued. “But after a short time, I realized that I had actually received a gift. I could follow the lives of people who were living, to see what was happening to those that I cared about. I of course watched my parents and siblings, and my close friends. Than it dawned on me to see about this girl, who wrote letters to me like no other.”  He shifted his weight and continued. “So I went to the powers that be and asked about her. And they pointed her out to me, they pointed YOU out to me. And I started watching you grow up. I was watching the day your mother died, watched you so bravely weather that storm. I was proud of you the day you went to college….oh so smart, doing college courses at age 15. I felt the pain when your Grandfather died, knowing how close you were to him. And I was beside you when you buried your Grandmother on your 17th birthday, even if you couldn’t see or feel me.”

            She was trying to take this all in, but it was so hard to believe this. But how could he know all of this? She shook her head and tried to comprehend what he was saying.

            “I was watching when you were married, to someone that so didn’t deserve you. I watched as  you raised your two wonderful children. I hurt with the way your husband treated you, and felt your pain with the divorce.”

            He cleared his throat, and continued. “I know that you only wanted someone to love you, and thought you had finally found that person. But your pain was just beginning when he walked out of the door that night.”

            The tears slid down her cheeks at this memory. A memory she hadn’t cried about in a long time. And with this, the elevator doors opened. She glanced out, unaware till now that they were still in the elevator, and looked back again at him.

            “Come on, lets find that coffee machine.” He dropped one hand, but retained his hold on the other. “And since you are wondering, it is a time delay thing. Everything for us is at a normal speed, but for everything else, only a few seconds have passed. This allows us to talk without anyone else missing you or bothering us.” They entered the snack room, and he waited while she fed the machine some money, getting herself a cup of coffee. She asked him if he wanted one, but he refused.

            “So what are you doing here? I do believe you are who you say you are, but why come here? I don’t understand.” She stood watching him, looking for answers.

            “Because I have been in love with you for just as many years as you have loved me. And because of that, I wanted to tell you a little bit about the future. So you would have something to look forward to. I only want you to be happy, and I see you becoming less happy with each passing day. And it breaks my heart.”

            She looked down, not knowing what to say. It is often said that one shouldn’t know too much about the future, because knowing that will change it. But did she not try? If he could really do this, was it not worth the chance? She slowly looked up, a question showing in her face. One which he did not miss.

            He smiled that simple smile, the one that caused his face to light up.

            “You want to know?”

            “Well, you started this, so proceed.”

            He drew in a deep breath and began. “You have lived many years alone, but that will be ending very soon. You will soon again meet the person whom you will love forever, and who will love you for just as long. In fact, you have already met him. It is just that the time hasn’t been right just yet.”

            “Who is this person? If I have already met him, tell me his name.”

            “Oh, I can’t do that. Even that is too much to know. But rest assured, he will come to you, and very soon.”

            “Soon in my time, or soon in God’s?”

            He smiled, “soon in your time.”

            She frowned and continued to look at him. “How come you are telling me this? Why now? Why ever?”

            The smile left his face. He looked troubled now, and not sure how to tell her the rest. “Because I can see what is in your head, and your heart. And I am afraid that you will make a bad choice soon, because you think that no one cares. And I don’t want you to miss out on a wonderful future.”

            “I don’t understand……” but she did, looking away. And having told no one, she was more frightened.

            She looked up at him again. “So are you some kind of angel?”

            He laughed, “Sort of. Here, touch me here,” and led her finger to the inside of his wrist. “See, no pulse.”

            She tried to pull away, but he would not let her. He was warm to touch, but didn’t have a pulse. He really was dead.

            “But why? This makes no sense.”

            “Because The Father wanted you to know just how loved you were, and that the future you wish for can be yours, if you will just wait for it. So he granted me the right to come here and talk to you, so you would realize that your life has not been wasted, and that you are loved.”

            He lifted her chin with his finger and gazed into her eyes. “I do love you as does God. Please, give it a little more time. Please.”

            She looked deeply into his eyes, and saw the truth. “OK.”

            He smiled and sighed. He had accomplished his deed, almost.

            She shook herself and glanced around. “I had better get back now, before they start to miss me.” And she started out the door, with him beside her.

            Once into the elevator, she glanced at him again. He turned towards her and spoke. “Are you alright?”

            She nodded her head, “yes, just a bit strange.”

            “I can see that. But please remember what I have told you. Never forget it.”

            “I won’t. But can I ask you a question?”

            “Sure.”

            “Will I ever see you again?”

            She held her breath waiting for his answer.

            “Yes, some day soon, you will. But remember to live your life. The past is a wonderful thing, but you can’t live there and forget to live in the today. You need to live for the future and all the happiness that will exist there.”

            “I’ll try to remember that.” The elevator doors opened. And together they stepped out. The walk down the hallway was a slow one, one she didn’t want to end. But end it must. And too soon they were back where they started. She glanced up at the clock and was amazed that they had only been gone for 5 minutes.

            “I told you, regular for us and slow for them.” He grinned at her.

            She looked up into his face, trying to memorize every line. “Thank you.”

            He reached out and hugged her, and she never felt so much love before. She returned the hug for everything she was worth, and realized how much she did love this man. A tear slid down her face, for what she had missed, and for what would never be.

            He felt the moisture thru his shirt, and slowly pushed away from her, looking into her eyes. “Don’t cry. I will see you again, I promise.”

            And with that, he walked away into the dark hallway and out of her sight.

           

            Three weeks later, as she was running her laps at the gym, she had time to once again reflect on the conversation she had had with him. She did feel better lately, but not sure the reason. She hadn’t met anyone else, or renewed any old acquaintances, but that didn’t seem to matter so much anymore. She believed what he had told her, and guessed she needed to wait to see what would happen.

            She had finished her running laps and was now doing her cool-down, when she caught an image out of the corner of her eye. She looked towards the doorway, and spotted him standing there, arms crossed and leaning into the frame. He was smiling brightly. And she couldn’t wait to see him, so she jogged over to where he stood.

            “Hi there,” she said, slightly out of breath.

            “Hi yourself.” He continued that grin. “Feeling better?”

            She nodded, “actually, a lot, thanks. What are you doing here? Didn’t expect to see you so soon, even if I was hoping.”

            He reached out and hugged her, even when she tried to stop him. She was after all sweaty and didn’t smell that good right now. But he hugged her tightly.

            “I came back as quickly as I could arrange it. It took some doing, but I am here now.” And he took her hand and placed it on his wrist.

            She stopped breathing, shook her head, and stared at him with amazement. How could that be? How could that happen?

            He could read her questions and knew her confusion. “Because some times God allows things like this to happen. Come on, lets get out of here and go talk.”

            She was confused, but understood what he was saying, in part. “OK, I will be right out,” and headed to the locker room to change clothes.

            He was standing outside the door when she emerged. And taking her by the hand, they headed out the door and to her vehicle.

            “Where do you want to go?” she asked him. Because, where do you take an angel who now has a pulse?

            “How about lets drive to your place. We can be alone there and talk, and I can answer all your questions.

            She pulled out of the parking lot and headed home. The drive was accomplished in complete silence, as she didn’t know what to ask. He knew she needed to concentrate on her driving, so decided that conversation could wait for a few more minutes.

            As she entered her house, she was full of questions. But afraid to voice them. She led him to the couch, where they both sat down. She turned towards him and waited for him to speak.

            He looked into her eyes. He so loved her, but didn’t want to hurt her. She had had too much of that already in her life. He slowly reached down for her hand, and glanced back towards her eyes. And started talking as carefully as he could.

            “There are times when, even though things haven’t been a mistake, they have occurred at the wrong time. You and me are an example of that. You were born too late or I was born too early. It doesn’t matter which. But we were meant to be together. And there are a few times when God realizes this, and takes steps to correct the situation.”

            She frowned, not taking in everything he was saying.

            “God made a mistake?”

            “No, God doesn’t make mistakes. Just that the timing sometimes is wrong. I went to him, and we talked, and he realized that this was something that was meant to be, and has decided to allow it to happen, if you want it to.”

            “I don’t understand. Just want are you saying?”

            He glanced down, than back to her face. “I am saying that we have a chance to make this a life we both want, if you want to. I have been granted another chance to live. And I want that chance to be with you.”

            She shook her head. “How is that possible?”

            “Everything is possible with God’s help.”

            She pulled her hand away and continued to shake her head.

            “No, you are dead, or rather you were dead. How do you now have a pulse? And how can you come back here and say these things to me? And how can you exist now?” She was very confused about everything that was happening.

            He understood her frustration and was not sure how to proceed now.  

            “I will try to answer your questions. As far as the pulse, that is God’s doing.  He can do anything through those that believe. And he sent me here to you, if you want me.”

            “How? How can you do this to me? You told me I would be meeting the man that would love me for all time, so now you show up and….” She let the rest of her sentence trail off. Because she realized that he had been talking about himself. The person that she would love forever. And that person she had already met and would meet again.

            She met his gaze. “This was your plan from the beginning?”

            He shook his head. “No. In the beginning, I just wanted to ease your pain. But with actually meeting you I realized that I wanted to be the one to be with your forever. So while I was talking to you, I was also speaking the The Father. And here I am.”

            It was too much for her to comprehend. She stood up and walked around, with her head down, as if the answers would be on the floor. It made no sense. Too much of living in reality was taking a hold and making a future seem impossible.

            She looked at him and stopped her pacing.

            “Just how can this happen? How are you explained? A job, history, name, what about that?”

            He patted the cushion next to him and she slowly walked back over to where he was and sat down.

            “Hi, my name is Joshua Smith. A nice, normal, common name. I have a driver’s license,” pulling his wallet from his back pocket and handing it to her to view. “I have a social security number, newly issued to a 45 year old man, and I have a job as a manager of an internet company.” He knew how important some things were to her and was trying to ease her worries about these things.

            “If anyone would do a credit report search for me, they would find an excellent report, a strong work history, and income tax returns for the past 20 years. God has covered all the bases. You and I can work out the finer details later.”

            He looked into her eyes, but all he could see were questions.

            “But why?”

            “Because you deserve it. You have had a life filled with mistrust and pain. And it is time that ends. Let me ask you a question….do you love me?”

            “Of course I do.”

            “If you had a chance to see if this love of ours could grow, would you take it?”

            Slowly things were clearing for her. “Yes, I would. But I just don’t know how it would work. Things never work for me. Something always happens.”

            He reached up and stroked her cheek. She was everything he had spent his entire life looking for, and she was slowly slipping out of reach. He cupped her chin, and bending towards her, softly kissed her lips.

            In all her life she had never felt so much love. Her instincts were to go for it, but her mind was telling her to back away. Which way to go?

            “I just don’t know what to do. I can’t think right now.”

            He knew her mind and her pain. She was tired and needed to think so he sat back against the couch and brought her head into his lap, to use as a pillow. She did not resist this, as it felt so right. She felt the tears slid down her face, tears for what she wanted and for what she was afraid would never be.

            He stroked her hair. “Try to get some sleep and we will talk when you are rested. This has been a lot to try to take in.”

            She did feel very tired, and her eyes slowly closed. She pushed them back open and looked up towards him. “But I don’t want to sleep. I am afraid if I do, I will wake and find that this has all been a dream. A dream from which I don’t want to wake.”

            He looked into her eyes. “Does that mean that you want me to stay around forever?” He held his breath as he awaited her answer.

            She smiled at him. “Yes.”

            He returned her smile and reached down to sweetly kiss her lips. “You sleep now, we will talk later.”

            And with that, she dozed off.

 

            He watched her sleep from the doorway. Was he being fair to her? What if he hurt her worse than she had already been hurt? That was not right of him. And he did have a history of screwing things up, just look at his past life. Maybe he should go and not come back. She would think it was a dream, he could make sure of that. He had to do what was right for her and not just what he wanted for himself.

 

            She slowly opened her eyes and tried to stretch when her foot hit something solid. She didn’t have a footboard, and looking down she saw the arm of the couch. She remembered falling asleep on the couch talking to…..him. She was using his lap for a pillow and he was talking about wanting a life with her. She reached up under her head, but stopped when she didn’t feel his leg, but her own pillow. She closed her eyes and her breath came in shallow gasps. Had it all been a dream? Was he gone? Had he really been there at all? She didn’t know, and the pain was so intense that she didn’t know if she wanted to find out the answer. If he was never really there it would be one thing. But if he had been and was now gone, she didn’t know if she could live with that. But she had to know.

            She slowly opened her eyes, and looked towards the end of the couch. She only saw her pillow. He was not there. She swallowed hard, and forced herself to look around her house. The windows, the TV, the furniture. She closed her eyes again, and mentally shook herself. You have to make sure she said to herself. So open those eyes and look.

            She slowly opened her eyes, and looked towards the doorway which led to the rest of the house. If he was anywhere it would be there. If not, than it was all a dream, a pleasant dream which she could cradle to her for the rest of her life. Along with the memory of those kisses. And his touch.

            Finally she made it to the doorway, and knew that her life would never be the same again.