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A Meeting with Fate (Part 1)
What do people want the most in life?
As I walked through the library, this one question continually haunted my thoughts. Looking out an arched window, I thought, “It’s cloudy today.” It’s cloudy here everyday.
I stopped at the fifth shelf and reached up for a dusty tome. When I dusted off the Great Book of Life and looked for my name, I realize there were a lot of things in life I wanted to have, but I think it is best if I started from the beginning.
You could say I am one of those born and raised city folk. I was born in the city hospital. I grew up in a small apartment with my mother. I went to school in the city, graduated in the city, and got a job in the city. It was in the city that I found love; in the city that I was married and had a child. And it was in the city that I was divorced. The city was all that I have ever known and probably ever will know. The city has given me many good memories over the years, yet I always feel a knot of uneasiness in my heart.
Now, I live alone in a small apartment much like the one I grew up in, trying to make ends meet with the meager pension I received when I lost my job. The long years have worn at my body and to a lesser extent, my spirit. Ever since my whole family has left the city for better places, I have done nothing but let myself waste away. During the day, I stay inside; waking, eating, cleaning, and dreaming. During the night, my mind is restless. I often find myself outside, walking down a long deserted sidewalk, avoiding big crowds and bright lights.
It was on one of my moonlight escapades that led me to the church. Even though I had been all over the city, I had never been inside this church before. As I walked past the long pews, the beauty of the church seemed to take me by surprise. The high vaulted ceiling curved elegantly into a point at the top. The old stained-glass windows, illuminated from the bright night lights outside, shone with renewed vigor. I was so taken by this spectacle that I subconsciously found myself kneeling in one of the pews.
“Well,” I muttered to myself, “I’m already here, so I might as well give it a go”
So I clasped my hands together and bowed my head like all of the other people in the church. To be truthful, I was never a very religious man. Sure, I went to Sunday school and all that but I never took any of that seriously.
After I was done spilling my heart, I decided it was time to go home. Before I even got to the door, I knew what I was in for. The pitter-patter on the stone steps, the dancing shadows in the crack of the door, and the ache in my knees……, it was rain.
I don’t know what it is about rain, but it always puts a damper on my mood. I immediately decided that I was not going to take my originally path home, that was going to take way too long, especially with my aching legs. That was when I chose to take the shortcut through the park.
The park was like the church. I knew it was there, but I never took the time check it out. There weren’t many lights in the park, only the lights from the city illuminated its grassy expanse. All I knew was the path I was on right now would take me to the other side of the park, hopefully near my home. I half-ran, half-stumbled along the slick pavement, wincing as each step brought another spike of pain through my knees.
This self-induced torment continued as the merciless rain beat upon me, my mood darkened with each rain drop. I began thinking about what the heck I was doing with my life, just to keep my mind off the pain. However, this also kept my eyes off the road.
I stepped on something round and hard. The stupid thing rolled away as soon as I stepped on it, making me do a fricking Charlie Brown on the hard cement. My head swam as it collided with the ground. I didn’t even notice that the rain had stopped. As I was groaning on the ground, a hazy figure entered my pain-blurred vision.
“Oi, you’re alrigh’ dere, pal?”
When the pain cleared, so did my vision. The guy standing over me was kind of tall, with slicked-back black hair, heavy leather jacket, blue jeans, and white shirt. This guy must have come from an Elvis party or something.
“Hea, lemme give ya a hand,” said the Elvis impersonator, reaching down with his hand. I grasped it, and he pulled me up.
“Sorry ‘bout dat. Can’t believe ya slip on my can righ’ dere.” Jerking a thumb at the tree. At the base, the Coke can lay empty with a gash down the middle, one last drop soaked into the soggy ground. “Oh yea, d’name’s Steven Angelo.”
I absentmindedly shook his hand, still puzzled by his attire. He looked completely dry, yet there were no places near here that could keep some one dry. I was still pondering this when he started stretching in front of me.
“Gawd, bein’ cooped up in dat little can’s been a pain in da kiester,” Bending over to touching his toes, “I tell’ya, deres nothin’ betta dan fresh air,”. Then suddenly turning to me, he remarked, “Well, ya not a very tawkative fella.”
Just then, I came out of my daze, “Wai—wa--wait a min—what!? Did you just say you came outta that can?”
“Of course!” Looking at me as if it was normal to come out of cans, “Ooooooohhh, dats righ’. You guys don’t know ‘bout us yet.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a card, which read “Steven Angelo, Junior Wishgranter, Department of Prayers, Heaven”.........