David Wilkes started his Saturday the same way he always did. He got up out of bed at 6:45 am, went to the bathroom and then headed to the kitchen to brew some fresh joe. While the coffee was perking, he checked in on the kids and returned to his bedroom to put on his jogging clothes. He awoke his wife, to tell her he would be back after his run. Same routine, every Saturday.
He stretched his legs for a few minutes, took in a few deep breathes to clear out the lungs, then opened up the app on his smartphone which tracked his distance and time.
As he reached for the handle on the front door, he felt a sharp pain on his left temple. His vision was emblazoned with a piercing white flash and he went down in a heap.
“It’s a strange feeling looking down at your own body as it lies on the floor beneath me.” He thought as his spirit rose up above him and through the ceiling into the open air.
He drifted up into the blankness before stopping into a sea of white.
He looked around and saw a figure walking toward him.
He couldn’t quite comprehend what he saw. In his bewilderment, he made a single statement….or question, if you will.
“Dad?….Is that you?”
Mrs. Wilkes jumped out of bed when she heard the crash from the other room. She grabbed her robe and put it on as she rushed out to see what had happened. A feeling in her gut feared the worst.
As she rounded the island in the kitchen and headed for the front foyer and entryway to their home she glimpsed the end table turned over by the front door. As she rushed in closer, she found her husband on the floor with a small gash on his forehead, convulsing as if he were having a seizure.
“OH MY GOD! HONEY! HONEY!” She screamed.
Their children, who were awakened by clamor, came out of their rooms scared. The mother yelled at the oldest, who was 12.
“DANIELLE! CALL 911! SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR FATHER! HURRY!!PLEASE HURRY!”
Mrs. Wilkes, returned her attention to her husband, who she desperately held in her arms and spoke into his ear,
“Don’t you leave me…you hear me…don’t you dare. HOLD ON!!”
As she repeated those phrases over and over as she rocked him back and forth, she began to hear sirens in the distance, and the smell of fresh coffee.
“I come to you as whatever you desire me to be. You have never gotten over your Father’s passing….to comfort you in these strange surroundings, you see me as you wish to see me.”
“So this is what happens when in death. Hmph. Where’s the pearly gates…or the lakes of fire for that matter?” David asked.
“You…..are not dead…..yet. You are in transition. Here is where your ultimate choice is made.” The being stated.
“Choice? What choice?”
“The choice to grant the wish that you have wished, or, to return to fight for balance.”
“I wish for a lot of things….it’s just talk..”
“So you, as many others have before you and many others will after you, have stated….just talk. Well, we listen and we give the opportunity to grant those wishes, but only one time and only the gravest of wishes. Your wish…time and time again, has been to be taken away from all the stresses of your life. The stresses that you have created by not choosing. You want it all. Sorry. It can’t be. Now you must choose.”
“Wait…wait…wait. I don’t get it.”
“Of course, you don’t. Your kind rarely does. Let me put it plainly. You have a wife and 2 kids….and you have a mistress on the side. You cheat your business to support both. You refuse to choose. Here….in transition, you must choose. You either choose to go back and face your misleadings, thereby, creating personal balance or stay here…die and let them figure it out. Either way, you lose…..but because you make a choice, your soul can be cleansed and life will go on, or…….you take the easy way out and find out what you transition into after death.”
“How much time do I have to choose?”
“Your time left is based upon the amount of time you leave your body unattended. It varies….the longer you stay here the more chance you have of your choice being made for you…..Time is of the essence. CHOOSE!”
The paramedics arrive and immediately check Mr. Wilkes vitals.
He has a weak pulse and his heartbeat is slowing by the second.
“Mrs. Wilkes…we must get him to the hospital as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence!”
They get him onto a gurney and rush him into the ambulance. Just before they shut the doors, Mrs. Wilkes hears a dangerous cry from one of the medics…
“HE IS CODING! GRAB THE PADDLES!”
As the ambulance is about to speed off she hears one final cry…
Mrs. Wilkes heads back into the house to get the kids to go to the hospital, just in time to miss the slow driving BMW that speeds up to follow the ambulance.
The mistress pulls up the sleeve on her silk robe and checks the time.
He is never late. Always arrives promptly at 7 with that sexy sweat dripping off his brow. His little jog was his warm up for the real workout that she provides.
“Maybe he has finally decided to stop coming…..nah…he has been mine for over 9 years…his getaway from “family”….” She thinks to herself.
She feels a strange knot in her gut that makes her think that something has happened.
“Maybe I should drive by his house…just to be sure he is ok.”
She changes into tight jeans and t shirt and grabs the keys to the Beemer, that Wilkes bought for her, and heads toward his home.
“What of you mean, either way I lose? If I choose to stay.. I don’t have to face either woman or the company…that sounds like a win to me. If I go back….I must confess my sins, to all, to create…..balance? That doesn’t sound like balance to me…it sounds like death either way.”
“So…your choice has been….”
David quickly cut him off.
“Whoa..whoa..I didn’t say that. I love my wife…and my kids. I just got caught up in a little side deal that marred my judgement for a while……I CHOOSE TO GO BACK!”
“Very well. You have chosen. Your time here is essentially….up.”
The vision of his father turned and walked out into the blankness. As he disappeared, David Wilkes began to ascend back down to reality. During that journey he thought to himself,
“I don’t know who that was…but me coming clean is about as likely the Pope going to strip club.”
The ambulance arrives at the ER and David Wilkes is wheeled in. A black BMW screeches into the parking lot. Followed shortly after by a Volvo station wagon.
The woman in tight jeans and Mrs, Wilkes with her 2 kids in tow, both rush into the waiting room and up to reception desk at essentially the same time.
“I NEED TO KNOW WHERE DAVID WILKES IS! I AM HIS WIFE!”
They both say in unison.
The women look at each other, up and down, with quizzical looks.
The receptionist replies,
“Well…isn’t this special. Mr. Wilkes is in ICU. Just follow the signs….”
David drifts back down to where is body is located. He noticed his body laying limp on a hospital bed with multiple machines and tubes hooked up to him. He travels all the way down and back into his life and tries to open his eyes.
The Doctor is hovering over Mr. Wilkes monitoring the machines and his slow progress. He watches as David opens his eyes slowly. The Doctor plus out his mini light and flashes it into his pupils and back and forth between each eye. The pupils show no reaction.
There is a knock on the window. The Doctor looks back at it and notices 2 women anxiously standing there.
He walks out to greet them.
“Hello, ladies. I am going to assume that only 1 of you is the spouse of the man inside. It is that woman that I will speak to.”
Mrs. Wilkes speaks up first.
“I’m his wife and have been for 12 years. I don’t know who this bitch is.”
The mistress chimes in.
“I’m the bitch that has made him happy for 9 years and I’m the one he was about to leave you for.”
“Ladies… Neither I nor the man in that room has time for this. Mrs. Wilkes…you may go in with him and I will brief you on how he is. Ma’am, you may wait here or in the waiting room. Mrs. Wilkes will decide if you need to know anything.”
They enter the room in ICU and leave the mistress by herself.
The Doctor begins to fill her in on her husbands prognosis.
“Mrs. Wilkes, it doesn’t look good. His brain went without oxygen for a significant amount of time. I believe he can hear and see and understand what is going on around him but he won’t be able to respond. Maybe in time, this will change. I can’t be sure without more tests.”
“But..his eyes are open….” She hesitantly said.
“Yes, ma’am. They opened just a few moments ago….although that sounds positive… I believe that it was a nerve reaction that may happen from time to time. If you will notice they show no reaction to the light.”
He flashed his light again in front of his eyes. Nothing.
“Once he gets moved to his own room, you will be able to spend more time with him. For now, I will have ask you to give me some time to run some more tests.” He stated and then paused to look out the window and the mistress who still stood there and then continued…
“It seems you may have other things to deal with besides this. Your husband will be treated to the finest care, during this transitional period of his recovery. Please, time is of the essence at this stage. I will keep you fully informed of his progress.”
Mrs. Wilkes thanked him and ventured out of the room to deal with the other woman.
David Wilkes just stared up at the ceiling. He could do nothing else. He listened to his wife and the Doctor conversing. He knew his Mistress was there as well and immediately began to devise a plan that he would put into motion as soon as he was able to move and speak.
He heard the Doctor ask his wife to leave. He heard her walk out and heard the door slide shut.
He then heard the Doctor clear his throat and walk back over to the bed.
The Doctor leaned over and looked into David’s eyes.
David continued to stare up and saw as the Doctor came into his sight line.
The Doctor looked like his father.
David wanted to scream….but couldn’t. He could only stare and listen to what the Doctor had to say….
“My dear Mr. Wilkes….you may cheat your business…you may cheat your wife…..but when you try to cheat death…..there are consequences.”