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Last Stop

Tags: beyond, return

Chris wasn't where he should be. He should be at work, sitting at his desk, a place which is a ten minute walk from his home, but instead he is sitting on a bus travelling through a place he does not recognize. Chris has no recollection of how it is that he came to be where it is he is. In fact he cannot remember anything from after he woke up that morning up until this moment where he has just found himself sitting on a bus. An older, dark skinned gentleman with short grey hair sits on the seat across from and to the left of Chris.

'Are you alright young man? You look lost.'

'Well I kinda am a little more than lost' replied Chris looking around and out of the windows trying to get his bearings.

'Where are you trying to go?'

'I wasn't trying to go anywhere; I don't even remember getting onto this bus.'

'Huh, that is strange. What do you remember?'

'The last thing I remember is waking up in bed this morning.'

'And how did you feel?'

Thinking that was a bit of an odd question, Chris replied 'tired'.

'Rough night, huh?'

'Late night, maybe I am still dreaming ... that's it, right? I am dreaming?'

A moment or two passed and the older man would speak again.

'No, this ain't no dream son. However, at least there is some good news about your predicament, you do know where you are getting off'.'

'I do?'

Chris was seriously confused by this point but as the bus came to a full stop the driver turned to look down towards Chris and the older man, both of whom so happen to be the only two left on the bus apart from the bus driver himself.

'Last stop gentlemen.'

Both men get off the bus and the older man gestured to the left as if he wanted Chris to walk with him and in that direction. They soon approach a bench and sit. Chris's mind had been wandering, and he thought the question he had to ask was a plausible one so working upon the assumption that his companion may have an answer Chris felt in no way silly about asking his question.

'Am I dead?'

'No Chris, you're not dead' replies the older man with a friendly laugh. 'That back there was my last stop, not yours. Your last stop won't come for a very long time. By the way my name is Charles.'

With confusion growing by the second Chris was not at all feeling weary. He was strangely comfortable with his surroundings. Somehow he felt as if he belonged right where he happens to be, for at least the moment he was in.

'I never told you my name but you know it anyway?'

'Of course I do, the reason you are here is to help me. Sometimes when a person moves on, he or she leaves behind some unfinished business, I have some unfinished business. Would you so kind as to help an old man out?'

Chris felt like saying 'do you really need to ask?' There was no doubt; Chris had no problem helping Charles out whatsoever with whatever he may need despite the strangeness of the situation the two men have come to be in.

*

It was the morning of Darleen's wedding and she couldn't help but feel emotional to the point where she needed to have a time out to cry. A knock came to her front door. She didn't particularly want to answer, but she had to, it's only a couple of hours until she gets married. She wipes her tears away and the knock came once again to the door.

'I'm coming, I'm coming' she shouts.

She opened the door to see a young man standing before her.

'Can I help you?' she asks.

'Actually I am here to help you Darleen.'

'Who are you? And how do you know my name?'

'My name is Chris; I am a friend of your fathers.'

Chris hands Darleen a envelope with a card inside. Darleen recognizes the handwriting. It is her dad's handwriting. The card tells of how proud Charles has been and always will be of Darleen and of how much he loved her, and also tells her that he would always be near her whenever she needs him. Darleen cannot contain her tears; Chris asks if he could come in.

A couple of hours would pass before Chris would walk Darleen down the aisle but when she looked, it wasn't Chris that was at her side; it was her father, Charles. This was who she could see. Death couldn't prevent Charles from taking part in the biggest day of his daughter's life. Darleen tried not to cry but as she did walk down that aisle one tear escaped down her right cheek, this tear was not a tear of sadness, it was a tear of joy.

Many years later, a much older Chris got on a bus; he sat to the left and across from a young man who seemed disoriented and confused.

'Are you alright?' asks Chris. 'You look lost.'

 

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