Authors: B. Roman
“But where are we going?” David asks, as Bianca hustles him and his father along through the crowd.
“I don't understand. I thought you were back in the Kingdom with Ishtar and Saliana.”
“I came back with you, to be sure you got home okay and that all went as planned.”
David thinks a second then is offended. “Wait. You mean you came back to – to spy on me?”
“Good heavens, David. No. I didn't come back to spy on you or make sure you performed your task well. I knew you would.”
“Then, why? I'm really puzzled as to why you are letting Dad see you!”
“He sees me, but he doesn't really. I know it's complicated but he'll be with us, experiencing everything you and I do, and then forget pretty much what he saw. He'll think it's all a dream.”
“You can do that?”
“No. He'll do it for himself. Now get a move on so we can see Sally. We have but a few moments before I must return home.”
“Home. You mean the Kingdom. Is - is everything okay? I didn't screw things up again, did I?”
“No, dear boy. All is well in the Kingdom of Light because you have made everything right in Port Avalon. Now we must make everything right with Sally.”
* * *
She is sitting up in bed when they arrive at the hospital, but is in a drowsy twilight sleep. Bianca's breath catches when she sees her sweet daughter, Sally. For this moment, she is now Billie Nickerson, Sally and David's mother, and Isaac's departed wife. She takes Sally's hand in hers and the girl's eyes open.
It takes a few seconds for the vision before her to resonate in Sally's brain. Then the full realization hits her. Standing before her is her beloved mother, the mother she lost in a horrible accident not so long ago. But how? How can this be?
“You can't be here…this is a dream. I'm not really seeing you, am I – Mom?”
“Yes, dearest. You are seeing me. You and David and your father.”
“But I thought only David could see you. David,”she beseeches her brother, “are we all off on one of your Moon Singer fantasies? Please don't do this to me. It's too cruel.”
Sally begins to cry and Billie embraces her, holding her fast and rocking her back and forth. “There, now. Don't cry. It's not a fantasy, Sally. It's me. It's Mom. I've come back one more time to help you understand what happened to me, and to ease any painful thoughts you have, any guilt you carry. Only then can all of you say goodbye and truly move on with your lives.”
“No, Mom, no! Please don't come back just to leave us again! Please.” Sally is sobbing now.
Billie smoothes her daughter's hair back tenderly, and wipes the tears from her cheeks. “It will all be all right, Sweetest. Trust me.”
Billie then turns to Isaac and holds him near. Hesitantly at first, Isaac returns the embrace. Then, feeling her familiar warmth, he holds her passionately. After a lingering moment, Billie steps back and looks deep into his eyes, those sympathetic brown eyes that now concern her.
“My dear husband, love of my life. It pains me so to know that you, more than anyone, carry such a deep burden of guilt in your heart. It was not your fault that foggy night that changed all of our lives instantly. It was just what it was, an accident. It had nothing to do with your rushing to get your designs in on deadline. It was fate that it was just my time.”
“Your time!” Isaac's voice cracks with anguish. “What about Sally? Was it her time to be crippled forever?”
“I know you can't understand this now, but I think David and Sally will. Her injuries served a higher good, for both of them. But it will all be over soon. Sally will walk again, if David has anything to do with it.”
Billie turns to her son. “David, my precious, gifted, extraordinary boy. Life holds so much promise for you and for everyone you love, if you continue to fulfill your mission. I know it is a lot to ask of someone so young, and you were thrown into it unwittingly. But now you have conscious awareness of who you are and what you are meant to do.”
“Everyone keeps saying that,” David replies, partly confused and angry, partly acquiescent. “I guess I don't have much choice but to go along.”
She holds David's hand and take's Isaac's in the other, and tells David to take Sally's hand, so they form a complete circle.
“My dear, precious family. I have missed you so much. I will always miss you. But it is time to say a final farewell. Know that I will always be with you, as you are with me.”
Billie's image, encircled by Bianca's glowing aura, disappears into the ethers, and with her any memory Isaac and Sally might have of this moment.
David will never forget.
The New Millennium
Not everyone who experienced the Vision accepted it as a good omen. They went back to their normal way of living, being cynical and superstitious of everything and everyone. They thought it was some kind of trick, a New Year's Eve hallucination created by some tech savvy jokesters, mainly because there was no video or photo that captured even one frame of the image.
Others became more tolerant and loving, believing they had seen a vision from “on high,” something angelic. Still others refused to acknowledge there was any vision at all.
“Don't be silly,” they scoffed. “Angels can't morph into objects or people, if angels even exist at all.” To them, it was nothing more than the normal descent of the illuminated ball, marking the end of one year and the start of another.
At the stroke of Midnight marking the New Millennium, none of the terrible things people feared would happen, happened. No computers crashed, no violence occurred, no disasters manifested. Worldwide, people came together in unity and love, tolerance, and an unbridled celebration of life. Any tragedies that occurred did so before that 12th stroke of the clock, and would be remembered as history, remnants of a previous year, a bygone century.
As usual, the TV news media focused on the sensational and the absurd. Over and over again, they replayed an ironic video showing a man falling from the clock tower terrace and landing on an expansive canvas awning that broke his fall. With each bounce Ramirez took on the taut cloth, a silly sound effect would accent the rhythm.
“Amazingly,” newscasters reported satirically, “the man only suffered abrasions and a broken clavicle, but otherwise will recover fully. At least, physically.
“When asked how he came to fall,” the story went, “he said he was waiting to take pictures of the ball drop at the stroke of midnight, when a UFO in the shape of a clipper ship appeared in the sky, startled him, and his camera fell out of his hands. He tried to reach for it and, that was that. It was a miracle that he fell onto the awning of the Town Square restaurant. His camera was not so lucky; a passerby found it smashed to bits after a delivery truck ran over it.”
Or what they thought was a camera.
“Needless to say,” the news stated, “the man, identified as Professor Ramirez of Port Avalon City College, is being held over for psychiatric observation.”
* * *
At home in her room, Dorothy Nickerson had watched the festivities of the Millennium celebration on television. As the shimmering miracle of the Moon Singer appeared in the ebony sky, she realized that David had the Singer back and, under her nephew's stewardship, the miracle crystal had done its job. The magical crystal that she had discovered on one of her archeological digs and gave to her nephew - knowing he was the Singer's rightful owner - had worked miracles for everyone she loved.
With a shaky hand, Dorothy signed upward to the heavens, “I'm ready to go home.” Then she closed her eyes, and in that ethereal knowing that comes with the imminence of death, she knew her family would be all right. Taking one last breath of life, Dorothy drifted off peacefully to her next incarnation.
* * *
On the first morning of the New Year, David visits his sister in the hospital. She is sleeping peacefully, and without waking her, he is finally able to do what he longed to do since returning home: place the Rose Crystal Pendant around her neck.
When Sally's eyes flutter open and she speaks to him, David cannot hear his sister's voice. He doesn't need to, for he can read her lips. It is something he knows he will have to do the rest of his life, for he gave up his ability to hear so that Sally could be cured. She will never know the sacrifice he made for her. According to his doctor the cochlear implant inexplicably failed. A rare, but not unheard of, occurrence.
“Can you help me get up out of this bed?”Sally asks her big brother. “I can't stand lying here another minute.”
David holds her arm as Sally slowly gets out of bed and stands on her own two feet. When she takes wobbly but promising steps, he knows he has made the right decision, the only decision.
“Are you okay, Sal? Is it too soon for you to get up and walk? Don't rush it.”
“Yes, I'm good. And no, it's not too soon. Mom said it was about time.”
“Mom?” David looks at her, puzzled.
“Yeah. I had the strangest dream about Mom. I mean I think it was a dream. It was so real. I could see and feel her just like she was here in this room.”
“Really? What did she say?”
“She said she came to say goodbye, and didn't want us to be sad or hurt anymore. I really got the feeling she meant it was time I stopped being a pitiful cripple and get up and walk again. Weird, huh?”
“It's okay that you can't hear, David,” Sally adds. “If you can hear in that other world and that makes you happy, then I'm happy, too.”
Surprised by her words, David asks, “Why do you think I can still go to that 'other world' and can hear there?”
Sally touches the glistening pendant around her neck. “Because you found the Rose Crystal.”
At the Nickerson home, the family makes arrangements for Dorothy's funeral. They read her will and discover she has bequeathed her sloop
to David. Her wish is that she be cremated and her ashes spread in the ocean beneath the cliff of the family cemetery. All she wants in the family plot is a small stone with a photo of her aboard the sloop, and the inscription: “To my beloved Isaac, Sally and David. Thank you for a glorious life journey. May yours be as smooth sailing as mine has been.”
For Isaac, having his daughter completely well is more than he could have ever hoped for. But along with that precious gift, he is finally able to put his feelings for Billie to rest. The guilt he suffered over her fatal accident has finally been assuaged. The car crash was fate. There was nothing he did to cause it and nothing he could have done to prevent it. This revelation surprises him, but he welcomes the relief from the nagging hurt.
So, Isaac and Janice finally set a wedding date - to be married on the exact day that they celebrate Dorothy's life.
“I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Jan,” Isaac declares, placing the engagement ring back on her finger. “And I want it to begin now, as soon as possible.”
“So do I, Isaac. But tell me, why the hurry when you've been so hesitant to set a specific date?”
“I had this very vivid dream recently that Billie came to me and told me it was time to move on with my life, with you, and stop feeling guilty about her death. She was so right. And I want our wedding to be something special.”
What could be more special than a wedding aboard the beautiful, sleek Miracle Ship that Isaac had designed and that he and Janice had raised millions of dollars to fund. Yes, it had been badly damaged in one of Ramirez's self-created storms, but an anonymous benefactor donated the money for its repair so it would be ready in time to be used for Isaac and Janice's humanitarian cause – and for their wedding voyage.
But it's all bittersweet for David. He is overjoyed that Sally can walk again, that the Rose Crystal worked its magic and healed her body, mind and soul. But he cannot forget the promise he had also made to his aunt, that he would find a way to get her well, to have her recover fully from her stroke. With a heavy heart he must bid farewell to her, in a ceremony of her choosing.
Did she also choose the time and circumstances of her death? Like mom did? Or the way I chose my deafness?
Could I have even done anything to help her? Was it my place, part of my mission?
On a brisk sunny January morning, David, Sally, Isaac and Janice board a small pilot boat that will take them to the Miracle Ship. From this little boat that bobs joyfully beneath the cliff where the Nickerson family cemetery stands, David scatters Dorothy's ashes in the calm water. Secretly in the palm of his hand is the Singer, and as the ashes spill from the urn, David lets the crystal slip into the sea with his aunt's remains.
She was the one who found it and gave it to me,
Maybe it will bring her happiness in a whole new life. If she wants me to have it again, it will find its way back to me. She'll see to that…
“It's called a Singer,” Dorothy had said those many months ago, signing the word
, referring to the boat-shaped gem she had discovered on one of her archaeological digs abroad.
“Why do they call it that?”
“Each crystal in the cluster contains its own unique vibration,” she told him, “but joined together like this they create a symphony of sounds that literally sing the answers to all the mysteries in the universe. Or so the legend goes.”
“I bet it's thousands, maybe millions of years old,” David figured.
The crystal sparkled pure and translucent one minute, a rainbow mosaic the next, a jigsaw arrangement of atoms, a harmonic conversion of energy and matter. Yet, it looked amazingly like a primitive sculpture fashioned by someone in love with the sea.
“It's incredible. Look at it, Aunt Dorothy. Its microstructure is so complex. But what really amazes me is its shape. It looks like a miniature ship. Here's the mast where the sail would go, and here's the bow, the stern and the rudder.”
Dorothy added more impetus to the Singer's mystique. The crystal was destined to have but one owner, or so the legend went. “If its owner believes in it, and works with its energy, he will develop extraordinary powers of communication, clairvoyance and prophecy…”
As important as his ownership of the Singer has been, affording him amazing gifts through what he had considered his “disability,” he realizes now that it was also his vehicle to self-discovery. For some it is found in prayer or meditation. But for David, his silent world has been made audible and meaningful through the power of this precious crystal. His mission is now complete. His mother is at peace, his father is happy and successful, his sister has been healed of her infirmity, and Port Avalon is safe and secure.